Do you remember a few years back when I explained the whole mammogram thing to you? In a nutshell (in a nutshell?), you go to a place like Metro Imaging, you fill out some paperwork, you take off your shirt, you get smooshed four times, and then five minutes later you’re walking out the door with a smile on your face and a certificate that says, “Clear!”
This morning I went in for my mammogram. I filled out the questionnaire, I pulled off my shirt, I got smooshed four times, and then the tech came back into the room and said, “The doctor wants me to take a few more shots. We’re seeing something on your right breast.”
Me: What are you seeing?
Tech: It’s a mass. If you want, I can show it to you on the screen.
So, I walked over (with shaky legs because I’m no superhero) and checked out my mass. It’s a big white thing that sort of looks like an embryonic foot.
She took four more x-rays, but this time with really crazy smooshing. Like, borderline painful smooshing. (Actually, take out the word Borderline in that last sentence.)
Tech: Go ahead and wait in here in case he needs more images.
I sat in the chair and thought to myself, “This is how it starts for people who are about to be told that they have cancer.”
I then thought about Virginia. I thought about Virginia a lot.
Pretty soon the doctor came in and shook my hand and told me that he doesn’t really like what he’s seeing, and was wondering if we could do two more shots. If he doesn’t like how they look, he would like me to have an ultrasound.
Doctor: Your breasts are very dense.
Me: That’s probably the nicest thing anyone has said to me all day.
(I tend to ramble semi-inappropriately when I’m going through the whole rush of adrenaline thing. It’s either lift a Subaru Forester with one hand or ramble. There was no Forester in sight.)
So, they did the shots, and I was once again left in the room by myself.
That’s when I started thinking that we should probably make this Christmas really great because you never know what’s going to happen in the next year and I should probably write some letters to the girls to be opened on their prom nights and their graduation nights and their wedding nights and when/if they have babies. (I know. Do you have any idea how much of a fatalist I can be? I can definitely be a fatalist.)
The tech returned.
“He wants us to do the ultrasound.”
So, five minutes later found me lying on a table with gel squirted on my bare chest (cue the raunchy music) and I was all shaky and feeling sick and the ultrasound tech was young and pretty and wanted to talk about Black Friday.
Tech: Do you shop on Black Friday?
Me: I don’t really shop, but I like to drink coffee and watch the people. But I can’t really think about that right now.
Tech: Well, I know I won’t be going to Best Buy or any of those places where fights could break out and blah blah blah blah blah…
(I honestly couldn’t focus on a thing she was saying, because I was thinking about the knitting projects that I would like to finish and the books I need to read and the freelance chapters I want to turn in and the letters I should write and last April I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in 12 years and we’ve spent some time getting to know each other again and wondering why we’re back in each other’s lives now. Like, what is the meaning of this? Did our paths cross at that coffee place just because we were both craving cookies at the same time (I tend to not believe in coincidence), or is there a reason that goes a little bit deeper and is THIS the reason? Me on this table with ten bad x-rays and some sloppy goop on my chest and a not very positive attitude?)
((Please know that I know how DRAMATIC I am. I’m honestly the luckiest person I know, so when the system hiccups, I tend to fuhreak out. I may be charming from a distance. Close up? Beady-eyed and jittery. Think about a wet Chihuahua. That’s me, but bipedal. (Although, I run like a cheetah in my dreams.)))
Ten minutes after the ultrasound, the doctor came in.
Doctor: Are you tired of seeing me yet?
Me: Heh. Yes. No?
Doctor: I just wanted to tell you that it’s a cyst. Just a big fluid-filled cyst. Nothing to worry about.
Me: Nothing to worry about?
Doctor: Nope. Put your shirt on, and we’ll see you in a year.
I put my shirt on, walked out to my car, and numbly drove to Trader Joe’s where I purchased every single item in the store that has anything at all to do with stir frying vegetables. (Don’t ask questions. I don’t know the answers to your questions.) I also bought myself a tiny gift box of dark chocolate sea salted caramels, because my breasts are very dense and I’ll use just about anything as an excuse to treat myself to sea salted caramels.