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.
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.
Visit my website at http://www.barbaraedwards.net. I’d love to hear from you.