August 27, 2008

Life Is Good

I haven't blogged much lately because I've had a lot going on, including spending three days at The Kindness Ranch in Wyoming (more later), but mostly because something has been weighing heavily on my mind the past week.

Last month I had a routine mammogram. Last week I got a call from the imaging center stating that the radiologist wanted me to come back for a breast ultrasound. Immediately I begun questioning the woman on the phone, trying to get more info, but she offered none. I was told I could go by the clinic and pick up a copy of my report, if I wished. Since the date of the ultrasound would be over a week away, you bet I wished to get my hands on the report. So, I headed to the clinic where I had the mammogram done and asked to get a copy of the report. The lady behind the counter told me their policy was all reports required a 24-hour notice and that I must come back the next day to get my report. What? The woman on the phone said I could just stop by and get the report printed while I waited. Nope, I had to wait 24 hours. I protested but it did no good. I should have asked for a supervisor, but my head wasn't on straight that day, so I just left and made plans to go back the next day.

Before the 24 hours was up, I decided to call the Transcription Department at the clinic and see if there was any way I could get my report sooner. It turned out the lady at the front desk was new and she was absolutely wrong about the 24-hour notice for reports. She should have printed out the report while I stood there and waited, after all. So, I had been forced to wait and worry needlessly and make two trips to the clinic. I rushed to the clinic and claimed the report that was printed and waiting for me on the counter. I didn't open the envelope and read the report until I got in my car.

"New, well-circumscribed left upper outer breast mass."

Mass. Breast mass. Not two words any woman wants to hear together in the same sentence. Mass. Mass. Mass. I kept repeating the word over and over again in my head. I called Neal and reported the news. "Hmm, that doesn't sound good," he said. No, it didn't sound good, but I tried to assume the attitude that my mother would and reasoned that it could be any number of things, not all of them bad. At least I had some clue of what it was and where it was located, although I could not feel a thing out of the ordinary, and neither had my doctor when I had my gynecological exam a couple of months ago.

Since I had over a week to wait for the ultrasound and there was absolutely nothing I could do to change things, I put it out of my mind - well, at least really far in the back of my mind - until today. The sonographer who did the ultrasound was a very chatty and informative gal. Before she started the procedure, she read the report and we said in unison "left upper outer breast." She placed the ultrasound wand right on the exact area and we immediately saw a well-rounded, white area on the screen. "White is good," she said. "That means it's a fluid-filled cyst." I replied, "Really?" "Just a cyst?" "Really?" "Yep," she continued, "cancer isn't round or white." "It's usually darkened and spicule-like, spreading out like spider's legs." "It takes the path of least resistance." Again I said, "Really?" "Really?" "Wow."

She finished the procedure, we chatted a bit more, and she left the room to go share the findings with the radiologist. I lay there on the table, stared at the ceiling and kept repeating, "thank you," "thank you," "thank you." "Just a cyst." "Thank you." I was cleared to leave and told there was no need to come back until next year's mammogram.

As I walked to the elevator and pushed the button, a surreal feeling washed over me and I seemed to see the world through different eyes. "Life is good," I thought. "Yes indeed, girl, life is good."


Cousin Arnetta said...

I am so glad to hear your results were good...
Yes "life is good"...
the Kindness Ranch sounds like a cool place and living up to it name

Anonymous said...

that was scary! i am glad that it wasn't something scarier...