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Panic, unbidden

Posted Mar 27 2010 10:17am

Clearly, based on the fact that I have not posted in over a month, I have started moving on with my regularly scheduled life.  I have been feeling pretty good.  My energy is great, my health is good, my hair is back.  Things are back to "normal".

That is exactly how I was feeling yesterday when I was waiting in the doctors office for my mammogram.  Mammograms and MRI's are just part of my life now and this is the one that was scheduled 18 months after I finished all of my treatment.  I flipped through magazines, checked my phone, thought about  my lunch date afterwards.  I was not worried at all.  After all, I just had an MRI in January and everything looked good.

I went in and was squished and squashed and then sent back to the waiting room so that I could review the films with the doctor.  I waited and waited and waited.  As all the other women in the waiting room went in and out I started to feel just the slightest bit of apprehension.  Finally when no one else was left in the waiting room, the technician came in and said the doctor would like me to do more films. 

I burst into tears.  I had no idea how close to the surface that fear was.  I really thought that I was feeling OK with my health and that I had put a damper on that constant fear of a recurrence, but obviously I had not.  We went back to do more films and I cried through the whole thing.  Then I went back to the waiting room to hear my fate.

The tech again came in to get me and said that the doctor would like to do an ultrasound.  Before I could stop it a four letter word came out of my mouth and then once again-burst into tears.  I just started feeling normal.  I don't want to deal with cancer again.  I don't want abnormal mammograms or ultrasounds.  I just want to be healthy.

The doctor actually did the ultrasound and was very, very thorough.  The first thing she said to me was "don't panic".  Too late!  Panic was the only thing that I had to hold on to and unfortunately it had an iron grip.  I cried through the entire ultrasound.  At long last she showed me what she was looking at, a small spot in my left breast just above and behind the surgery markers that were left there from my lumpectomy.  She does NOT think it is cancer.  She thinks it is fat necrosis (the death of fat cells basically) from a place that wasn't getting enough blood supply from my last surgery.  I have never in my life thought that I would be happy to hear anything about my body regarding fat.  "Fat?"  Yes, she explained, it is just a piece of tissue that isn't getting enough blood supply so it is dying.  Fat turns into a solid and eventually will turn into an oil just like any other fat and be absorbed by my body. 

They will keep an eye on it, but she said if she had ANY inclination that it was cancer, she would be doing a biopsy immediately.  While I hated every single second of that appointment, I am glad that they are thorough.  I don't want any surprises.  I am also glad that the doctor was so patient in explaining everything to me. 

I left the clinic a weepy, shaking, relieved mess and sped off to my lunch date for which I was now late.  Credit given to my good friend Annie who immediately declared I needed a margarita given the morning I had just had.  She bought me a drink at lunch (something I NEVER do) and a nice lunch and we got to have our nice, "normal" lunch-without panic..   
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