Posted by: annnorris | October 17, 2012

The Beginning


Breast Cancer, Really?

posted by: Ann Norris (October 17, 2012)

My days have started to already run together, so I don’t have exact dates for the events leading up to today. It doesn’t matter. It could have been any time, any day, any year and the emotions would still be the same.

I scheduled my annual mammagram. Since my mom had breast cancer in 2000, I get mammograms yearly. No big deal. I am still young. She was nearly 54. I am only 47 (that’s the truth, but if you ask me in person I will tell you some other number under that).

I go to mammogram appoint. Nothing unusual about the day. Just another thing we women have to deal with. The nurse calls my name. I go into the little room to put the drape on. Technician knocks at the door and I follow her into the ‘boob squish’ room. I get squished and photographed, squished and photographed. Back into the waiting room, still draped. Expecting to be told soon to get dressed and go home, I am slightly surprised when the technician tells me the radiologist wants to do an sonogram. I’ve been this direction before, so I’m slightly concerned, but not overtly so.

After the sonogram, expecting to now be told to get dressed and go home, I am surprised to be called into to talk to the radiologist. He politely, yet firmly, tells me that he feels it is necessary to biospy this suspicious mass on my left breast. Ok, so now I am concerned! I schedule the procedure and am amazed at how very quickly I am scheduled in. Knowing what I do now, I can only give kudos to Baptist Breast Health Center for handling my case with such swiftness. I believe I was scheduled just days later.

I share the news with Mark. He is Mr. Optimism. He also takes me to the needle biopsy appointment. I love that man so much! He has never let me down. Next to God, he is my rock.

I’m taken into the little changing room. I put the drape on. The technician comes to get me. She takes more ‘boob squish’ pictures from different angles. Then, I am led into the ultrasound room. The technician finds the mass. This is the first time I have seen it. It looks like a neuron, kinda long with an end branching off in different directions. At this time, for some reason, I know that it is not good. Just a mass wouldn’t be branching off, searching for new ways to invade other areas. The radiologist comes in. He numbs my breast. Then with skill, he is able to draw all of the ‘mass’ up into the needle. I can see it disappear on the ultrasound. He even checks around to make sure he got it all. Next, for good measure of locating the area for an extra looksy at my next mammogram, he injects a marker. I’m not really sure what that is, but at this time, I don’t want to know more than I need to. He tells me that it usually takes 48-72 hours to get the results and that they will call me. I get dressed and go home.

I believe that biopsy was on a Tuesday, so I am expecting a call on Thursday telling me everything is fine and that they will see me again next year. Thursday passes. Friday comes and I wait. And I wait. And I wait. At about 3:00 pm, I decide to call Baptist Breast Center. The receptionist was so awesome. She easily could have just taken my name and number and been done with me. However, she listened to my story, heard my fear, and put me on hold so she could get more information for me. She comes back on the phone, “The radiologist has the results, hold on and I will get him”.

“Your needle biopsy results revealed the mass to be positive for cancer cells. Let me give you a phone number for a breast surgeon. It’s Dr. Fant and her office is just upstairs. I will send her your records immediately. Mrs. Norris do you understand that you need to schedule an appointment to see the breast surgeon?” says the radiologist.

I am a little shocked. I look over and Mark already knows from the part of the conversation he heard. I walk over to him, put my head into his lap, and cry for a few moments. He holds me and cries with me.

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