I had my follow-up mammogram yesterday, after which I was shuffled off to have ultrasounds done. While disappointed the second mammogram was not so definitive that no further testing was required until this time next year, better safe than sorry.
And unfortunately the ultrasound has resulted in the need for needle biopsies, which I assume will be sometime next week. The scheduling office was closed by the time I finally got out of there at 5:30, so if I do not get a phone call this morning I will call them myself. I have several other things I need to schedule next week and this is a big giant black hole that I need to get nailed down before I can get fully back to business.
I am a little sore this morning. While the technicians and the doctor were very nice and careful and caring, it is apparently not that easy to make a mammogram and an ultrasound a really easy-peasy, comfortable experience. While a lot of my friends say the technicians talk about the density of their breast tissue, I was told the area they wanted to examine more closely is just a little deeper, more challenging to gain clear imaging, and they apologized repeatedly for the discomfort. Fortunately for them I am a generally agreeable sort, and their efforts are for my benefit, so what could I possibly say? Please do not take a more careful look at the areas that have you concerned? My skin also must be prone to bruising, because I have some black and blue marks and soreness today. Oh well; it is not terminal and will fade in a day or 2. Besides, I was up late last night on a work spree and made a strategic decision to move gym/practice to later this evening. Sleeping until 6 a.m. was a glorious luxury.
So many people I know or have known have gone through breast cancer treatment; it is impossible not to be concerned about what could be happening within my own body. However, I am not overly concerned or worried about it. If anything, I feel mostly terribly inconvenienced by the timing of it all right now. My son is getting married in 6 weeks and there are things I need to be doing to prepare for the social aspects of that as well as the wedding itself. We are going on vacation the week after the wedding. I am slammed with work-work. I can and will make time for my own health, but I am impatient to get it on the calendar so I can continue with all the other shit I have to manage and handle. Kaiser does not care about my schedule or convenience. Probably this is true in the non-Kaiser medical offices and facilities as well, but I’m presently in the big corporate medicine system so they are receiving the bulk of my irritation right now.
I do have a plan of action should this turn into something more serious, and therefore I am for whatever reason far less bothered by the waiting game. To me, the testing and diagnostics is short-term thinking. Should it come to pass I have a diagnosis that requires actual treatment, I will move into long-term planning and action. Typically I am the one clamoring to get it over with, to know one way or the other, but as I have marched forward in time I have become much more patient dealing with these things. Writing the posts about it, talking to other friends about it, killing time at the mall yesterday while waiting for my appointment time – that was about the extent I actually thought about the tests. To me, right this minute, thinking about having to schedule an appointment for the biopsies is the biggest anxiety I have about the whole process. My bigger fear is that I will go to sleep on this need for an appointment and Kaiser will call me with some time that works perfectly for them but puts my entire week into a new level of chaos.
The actual biopsy-ing process is no fun; I have been down this road once before. But the results? The big “what if” in the room? I am not worried and have no anxiety about it now; it could be cancer, but statistically it seems more likely that it is not. At my core I am a more practical, pragmatic soul, and the statistics are in my favor. If I fall into the smaller, less fortunate percentage pool this time, I have already developed a pretty detailed outline of how I will manage, what I will do, depending upon treatment prescribed. Having that neutralizes the my anxiety and tempers my impatience to get this shit done.
And I am talking about it this much because I have close friends who are chronic to the point of unhealthy worriers. Yet I know no matter how reassuring I am that there is nothing to worry about right now, they are worried. They are obsessing and having to restrain themselves from asking me about it daily or every time we interact. It is a quirk of their personalities and mental health make-up that I cannot control or even moderately impact, but perhaps reading it here in black and white will have some sort of calming effect. At this point I know there is nothing to worry about; the tests are simply that, tests. Results are when this shit gets real and cause for concern may be justified.
So waiting a reasonable amount of time for Kaiser scheduling to call me about an appointment is my biggest issue right now, and my concern is that because there are multiple (at least 3) required will make it more difficult for me to get something that works best for me and my schedule. Because of my present workload I am a bit more control-freakish about knowing how long it will take and available appointment times.
But oh well. I will figure it out when I am on the phone with the scheduling department.
Thanks to all of you for the good thoughts and energy in this regard. While I wish it were over for another year, there is another hurdle ahead, and I will, of course, keep you updated on what is going on with this situation. Likely nothing, which will be a nice post to write.
Happy Friday everyone!