Biopsy, the results, by Barbara Edwards

Barbara Edwards writing in my office
Barbara Edwards writing in my office

Remind me to never ever have another test on Thursday. The results come back in two days or the next business day which happens to be Monday not Saturday.

I told myself I was fine. The test itself was stressful, but not painful. The ace bandage binding stayed on for two days to keep the swelling at a minimum and to hold the ice packs in place. The waterproof patch came off in my third shower.  My breast ached where the clamp was tightened.

To my surprise I didn’t get black and blue, just a mustard yellow blotch.

I denied being anxious, but I slept ten hours that night, napped and slept another ten hours the following night. Fatigue is how I respond to worry.

Then last night I tossed and turned.

My blog received a bunch of encouraging comments with hugs and prayers I could feel across the cyberspace. Thanks again to all of you.

Today I’m waiting. I wish they’d call in the morning. Six AM would have been acceptable.

I decided to tell you how I’m feeling in the interim.

Finally at 3:30 I called the radiology department and got a voice message, then again at 4:00 PM. No one returned my call and I figured ‘no news is good news.’

Today is Tuesday and they called when I walked into the store this morning.

The girl was so nice, calm voice and attitude. The cells were not cancerous. My heart flipped before she added —but—

The surrounding cells are atypical. I’ll be referred to a breast surgeon since the treatment recommended is removal.  If it turns out to be wider spread, maybe a mastectomy.

So my journey continues.

I have an appointment with a breast surgeon in ten days. I am nauseous with anxiety.

Let me rephrase that. I am anxious, but not panicked. I have had so many friends offer their prayers and support I know I’m not alone. And I appreciate each and every one of you.

I can also add that I am not agonizing over the possibility of losing a breast. If it’s necessary then so be it.

Love, Barbara

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Biopsy, a personal journey, by Barbara Edwards

Barbara Edwards

I wasn’t afraid. Not at first. I’m really good with my imagination and I pictured myself as this blase individual, too informed to be the slight bit nervous.

I managed that until 2pm on the day of the biopsy.

As any woman will admit, breast cancer is a nightmare none of us wants to consider. No female in my family had breast cancer. I breast fed my babies. And I had no discernible lumps. I thought I was safe. I did let the doctor talk me into the mammogram since it’s been years.

I didn’t expect to need a biopsy.

So they found a cluster of calcium deposits. Calcium appears in your body normally. It can be in your veins, muscles, bones, even kidneys and doesn’t mean much. Except the tiny deposits can signal a cancer in the making. You can chose to wait and see if they change, have a biopsy or have a breast surgeon remove them immediately. I chose the biopsy.

I went in the afternoon, 2 PM to be exact and didn’t feel nervous until that time. Then I got the shakes. Lucky for me the technician sat me down to explain the procedure. Most important is to hold still she repeated several times. My brain switched gear and I asked when I should take the relaxant my doctor prescribed. I’m not a fool and I know I can get really stressed. Right now she said. It will take effect quickly and you’ll be relaxed . Whew. So I popped the tiny sucker and let myself unwind.

I had to climb on a table shaped like a shallow cup with a hole for my breast to drop through. Underneath are a mammogram machine and the biopsy machine. The table is raised so the doctor sits underneath. I had to adjust myself until my breast was in position, then maneuver the rest of my body into some kind of acceptable comfort.

I was sprawled on my stomach, my ribs on a hard surface, my left arm along my side and my right tucked near my head. My face was turned to the right.

Don’t Move!

Okay, its only a few minutes from this point. Clamp the breast so it doesn’t move. Wash it with saline and antiseptic. Take a picture to spot the deposits. Argh! Inject the lidocane to numb and epinephrine to shrink the blood vessels. Not as bad as I expected. Then another deeper shot so the biopsy needle can move without discomfort. Cut a tiny incision for the biopsy needle. By now the muscle relaxant has me fairly cheerful. I tell the doctor I write romance and we have a silly interchange about the difference between erotica, romance and porn.

The biopsy takes about a minute. Tiny plugs are removed and rushed to be viewed under a microscope. Yep, got the calcium deposit.

Now set a titanium marker in the spot so if it needed we can find the exact place. Put pressure on the hole to stop the bleeding. This takes a long time. I’m joking about having someone hold my breast. Then they apply a butterfly bandage with stuff to stop the bleeding. Then a waterproof cover, then gauze, then bind my breasts with an ace bandage to help control the swelling. I’m going to be black and blue and sore in the morning. Don’t take a shower for 24 hours.

            They’ll call me on Monday with the results.  

Am I worried? Yes and no. I still have a couple relaxants if my imagination gets me anxious. And my husband promised to hold my hand.

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“Don’t worry,” she said. My #Mammogram by Barbara Edwards

I had a mammogram last week and got called back for a follow-up. Hmm. I figured that maybe the tech had a problem since my pacemaker is right above my breast. I wasn’t concerned. Routine, right?

FotoFlexer_PhotoI have to admit this is my first mammogram in twenty years. Okay, I can hear you yelling, but I have had other health issues and that got pushed to the end of a very long line. This year I decided I really needed a base-line. You know, just in case.

This morning the technician was really nice. I asked exactly why the follow-up.

“Don’t worry,” she said. “The radiologist found a lump and several calcium deposits that should be checked.” She patted my arm and a shiver ran up my spine.

Okay. A lump? I didn’t feel a lump! Calcium is good for your bones, isn’t it? What’s with that? I bit down on my emotions. It is not a panic time yet. Be calm.

The ex-ray machine is a fancy piece of equipment. The flat area adjusts to any height and the technician was efficient and careful. She took pictures of my left breast with the wide lens, than changed to a lens the size of my fist. This took focused pictures of a specific area.

The lens was tightened down and it pinched. Not an ouch, but a yow.

So twelve ex-rays later, I waited for the verdict. The radiologist recommends the lump have a sonogram. I know what that is: pregnant women have their babies’ pictures taken with a sonogram.

The nice part is it’s across the hall and will be done immediately. I’m not seating thank goodness since I couldn’t use deodorant today.

Another technician escorts me to a sheeted table and I recognize the machine from a few tests I’ve had in the past. No big deal. Glop on the lubricant and squiggle the hand-held sensor over the right area. So she squiggles this way and that and then excuses herself to ask the radiologist what she’s looking for.

Well. It can’t be very big if she can’t find it. Ooops, not the problem. I have fluid in my milk ducts sloshing around. The radiologist, a really pleasant woman with a nice handshake, takes over. They spend a few minutes examining my ducts and show me on the monitor the liquid moving. Weird.

They find the lump, measure at, and go for the calcium deposits.

The radiologist recommends a biopsy of the deposits since they’re in a cluster. The lump looks benign. Thank you, God.

So I go home. I’m irritable and cranky. Life is a funny journey. I’ve been blessed many times by God sending a serendipitous happening. This is one.

My biopsy is scheduled for next week.

By the way, my manuscript made my editor happy and I’m waiting for the contract. Another happy to smile about.

Visit my website.


Went for a bone density scan by Barbara Edwards

I had my physical and the doctor wanted me to go for a bone density scan. Why do I need one? I’ve never broken a bone even though I’m the world’s biggest clutz. The answer is for a base line measurement in case somewhere down the road I have a problem. I am an inch shorter than I was at age 18, but I think that’s from ordinary wear and tear.

The admissions desk called the night before and asked about my insurance, regular info and told me where to find the right desk. So there I was at the hospital, checking in at admissions for the test.  A nice lady fastened an identity bracelet on my wrist, handed me a sheet of labels and sent me upstairs.

I’m sure this is boring for many of you, but I find anything different of interest. I didn’t wait long at the radiology department for the technician. She showed me where to don a hospital robe. You know the one that never closes properly and the ties are all in weird places.

Then we walked down the hall to the xray room. I had to lay down on the table—a hard surface covered with a sheet–, bend my knees and put my legs on a square block that bent my knees at a 45% angle. The first scan was of my spine from the front. An odd, thick, mechanical arm projected over me and moved slowly downward. I didn’t hear any sound, but it took a picture.

Then the tech removed the block and I had to lay flat. Not very comfortable. With my feet turned pigeon-toed they took pictures of each hip.

Tada. All done. I got dressed and checked the pictures on the computer. It’s funny since I remember the old-fashioned xrays. Now the info goes right into the data bank. The whole thing took about 45 minutes from admission to checked out.

No pictures to show you. I do have a nice spine and hips.


Visit me at my Website: http://barbaraedwards.netAncientAwakening_w2417_680 (2)



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