I Think . . . Probably . . . Perhaps . . .
It's late right now, very late in fact and I should be in bed. Actually I was in bed, but my husband's snoring kept me from falling asleep (once again). Normally I can eventually fall asleep through his snoring with my sound (sleep) machine turned very loud, but this evening (well, at this point it is AM) my thoughts are keeping me awake. I think if I put my mind ramblings down on paper I may be able to work through some anxieties I have been having.
Early this past week I had some tests run. Further testing recommended from the week's prior tests results that were cause for concern. I had a routine mammogram last week. My first one in fact. I was expecting nothing actually. Normal results were my expectations. I had no reason for concern because I have been breast feeding for the better part of the past 8 years. My OB told me this was good for me!
I went in thinking that it would be painful as I had heard so many women complain that it was just that. I was pleasantly surprised that while it was uncomfortable, it was not painful in the least. Perhaps that is because my breasts are a no size cup! I was told to expect my result in 3-5 days.
I return home the next day after picking up my children from school and there was a message on my machine to call my doctor back. I knew this was not good. I called back to the answering service, not expecting a return phone call for many more hours. And quite literally within five minutes my phone was ringing. It was my doctor and she wanted me to return for further testing as my mammogram showed masses on my right breast. My doctor told me it was called calcification(Calcification are visible as discrete, white spots seen on the mammogram; these represent calcium deposits / calcium salts, and may appear as randomly scattered grains of coarse-ground salt, clustered together as fine grains of salt of various shapes and sizes, as larger grains of gravel, or even as round, distinct white densities over the mammogram film.) and I just need to have further mammograms of that area. I was too stunned to ask any questions.
I called and made another appointment and was told that my doctor also ordered an ultrasound. The first available appointment was five days away. I promised myself that I would not google anything about mammogram or calcification. I did not for two full days. Then. I.Did. Of course, when you click on one link, it leads to another and then yet another. I read and read for two solid hours. May Be . . . Perhaps, early stages . . . By then I had myself convinced that I was going to be diagnosed with the rarest of all breast cancers. I self diagnosed and gave myself five years to live!
For the longest time I have had a general feeling of foreboding about my life. I think perhaps this comes with the death of my father at an early age . . . just 4 years from my present age! Although my brothers have this same instinct. Maybe this is a feeling that all adults feel whose parents have died at a young age?
I don't usually get overly concerned about myself and my health. I am young and healthy. No issues actually. I do not drink or smoke. I don't have issues with my weight or diet. I am pretty active and my general physician told me that I was one of the healthiest women he knows at my age. But, I was concerned over this. This 'diagnosis' of calcification through me for a loop. This I was not expecting.
I have a 3 year old! I can't have breast cancer! I have a 6 year old. I can't have breast cancer! I have an 8 year old. I can't have breast cancer! I worried myself into a frenzy! My husband was pacing miles onto our hardwood floors. I kept asking him if he would be able to take care of our children without me. All I could think of was what would happen to my children!
The night prior to my scheduled appointment I lay in bed that night. Awake, listening to my husband snore away. I lay snuggled with my 3 year old, keeping her close to me, wrapped in my arms. I lay there speaking to God and asking him to provide me with the strength and courage to live my life with whatever the results would be. I asked God to give me grace to accept the results. I didn't pray for negative results and I didn't beg for 'no cancer'. I just simply asked God to give me strength, courage and grace. And I slept for the first time in 5 days.
The next morning I was not riddled with anxiety. I simply took a shower and drove to my appointment. I waited patiently for my name to be called. I went with the technician and she showed me my first mammogram. I was shocked to see the large mass of calcification on my right breast. It. Was.Huge! Actually there were two masses, one large one on the complete underside of my breast and one long narrow one running down the top center of my breast. It was strange to see this scan. My heart started to beat very fast at this point. I did begin to get anxious at this point. I was scared at this point. The scans were over within five minutes. I then had to wait for the radiologist to read the new scans.
My technician can back within 10 minutes and took me back into the exam room. She simply said, 'at this time, the radiologist feels because of your age that the calcification is benign, we will see you back in six months, congratulations on the good news'. I asked her: "that is it?" She said yes, you are free to go.
I didn't know whether to celebrate or dance or cry. The next day my doctor called and left a message on my machine stating "I think they are probably benign . . . and you are welcome to have a second opinion". Probably benign – means that there is a finding that is most likely benign, but should be followed in a shorter period of time to see if the area of concern changes. What? What? What? I think? Probably? What does that mean? I just felt this wasn't the answer I was expecting.
As strange as that sounds. I'm not sure if I built all this up in my head so much that I am disappointed? But telling me probably in my mind is not good? At this point I am not sure if I am being completely neurotic and should just leave it alone based on the recommendation that I have been given. Or if I should be proactive and get a second opinion. I keep thinking what if I take the advice of the radiologist and wait six months. But in six months there are changes and the masses show changes that are cancer and I sat around for six months doing nothing!
Or what if my foreboding is just coming true?