Thursday, February 23, 2017

I Had No Idea What I Really Had To Deal With At That Point

As we continue on my journey, I have to say that my employer has been more than helpful and cooperative through my odyssey, and I don't think that I would have gotten through it all without that.  It's important that we are more than worker bees and numbers to the people that we work for.  It makes all the difference in the world.

As we travel on my journey, the next step that I had to go through was to have the biopsies.  I had not checked too deeply into my medical situation at that point, because we weren't sure that there was anything wrong yet.  I was told by doctors, navigators, and technicians that 90% of biopsies did not come back as a cancer result.  I was very nervous and no one could seem to figure out why.

Let me explain.  I've always been special.  When I was a kid, I had problems that were rare.  They had to be taken care of.  When I had my son, we had an unusually complicated delivery that ended in a C Section.  Then I almost had my Gallbladder blow up and didn't realize that there was a problem.  I had Pneumonia and ended up with an inhaler for life.  I started to produce kidney stones a couple of years after that.  My favorite was the affliction that I called boo boo gut, because no one could figure out why I had pains shooting up my left side.  I went through six weeks of tests and no one knew.  Several years later we discovered that the pain comes from Osteitis Pubis; a break in the cartilage that holds the pelvis together.  It's a permanent injury that normally only happens to Australian football players and only effects around 40 women a year around the world.  Special.  That made me nervous.  I'm always in the 10%.

I was told that it would be wise to give myself 48 hours to recuperate from the biopsies, because there was more than one and I had to be able to lift 50 pounds to go to work.  I was told that I wouldn't have hardly any pain, but that I might be tired.  I made arrangements at work for the test procedure.  We shuffled the schedule around for coverage just so I could have this done.

I reported for my biopsy and found the doctor that had been so nasty to me.  He was nasty again, and I reacted.  At this point, he refused to do the biopsies and walked out.  The technicians and office people tried to find another doctor that could come to the mammography center from the hospital and do the biopsy, but they had no luck.  I had inconvenienced everyone I work with for no reason.  I didn't realize that they had scheduled me with this nasty doctor who did nothing but be rude and yell at me.  I had told everyone at the mammography center that I couldn't deal with this man.  So, after all the trouble, we had to reschedule the biopsies and I had to rearrange my work schedule again to have this done.  More hassle, and not just for me.

I rescheduled and did what I had to do.  The biopsies were to be done just before Columbus Day Weekend.  They had scheduled me outside of the normal schedule so that I could have another doctor.  I felt horrible, but the doctor who apparently handles all the biopsies was nasty to me.  He refused to continue, so what could I do?  I said that I would let him do the procedure.  He was the one who refused.

I arrived and changed into my easy access boob shirt and went for my biopsies.  The other doctor was very nice.  He was young, but nice.  So starts the odyssey.  They marked my breast and clamped me into the mammogram machine.  There were two technicians and the doctor in the room.  Now, let me describe the procedure, because I was shocked.  I don't know if it would help most women to know what was coming or not, but it would have helped me, so I'm telling.

Once they get you into position, they take a needle and shoot you with a numbing agent--Lidocaine.  It stings, but I would rather be numb.  If you have anxiety, this alone will freak you out.  You are sitting for this procedure, so if you tend to faint, this is a touchy situation.  I was nervous but okay at that point.  One of the technicians came over to my other side and started to make small talk with me to keep me calm and in place.  That was fine. She and I had the same name which immediately gave us something to talk about.

What I did not know, and I didn't see coming was the device that the biopsies are done with.  The technician was trying to keep me distracted while the doctor and the other technician did the procedure.  I heard a click that sounded like a big gun being cocked.  I looked, and I shouldn't have.  What they do is that use what looked like a drill press.  They attached it just above the plate where your breast is clamped on and then they drill right in there to get the tissue.  I was so shocked at the sight of the thing that I nearly passed out right on the spot.  I'm a really tough cookie, and it freaked me right out.  I did not look at it after that moment.

The doctor had no trouble doing the first tissue removal, and I didn't feel a thing.  It was all good, but it had freaked me out so bad when I saw the device that after the procedure, I was shocky and unstable.  They had to get me something to drink and I'm allergic to oranges, so orange juice wouldn't do.  The only thing that they had in the whole building was a juice box that belonged to the technician that had been trying to keep me distracted.  She graciously donated her apple juice and I went about trying to calm down.

Fortunately, there had to be a break between biopsies anyway.  The time factor didn't get messed up because of my episode.  I was much calmer going into the second biopsy, because I now knew what it was like.  I was prepared and ready to go.  They got me set up, shot me with some more Lidocaine and we proceeded with the second biopsy.

The second biopsy didn't go well.  It hurt.  I don't even really feel pain in my torso area and this hurt.  It was like the Lidocaine did nothing.  They kept shooting me with more and more of it and it did nothing.  I sucked it up and let them finish the procedure, but I wanted to scream bloody murder.  I still have no idea why that didn't work, but it did not.  The pain was grueling and I was a little woozy once again.  At least it was finally done and I could go home.

This was another issue.  I was told that the procedure was nothing and that I could drive myself home.  I was in such pain and was so woozy that I drove myself home, but I shouldn't have.  I'm still not sure how I got myself home and don't like that feeling.  Take someone with you.  You'll need a ride.

So, I had been told that the results would take 24 hours and that they would call me the minute that they heard the results.  I made them promise, because I was waiting to hear whether or not I had breast cancer, and I had to know.  My mind could not take the stress of not knowing.  They promised.

So, I sat at home while my breast turned black from whatever happened with that second biopsy.  I could barely move my arm and no amount of Tylenol helped.  All I could do was sit and wait and suffer the pain that I was told I wouldn't have much of.  I was cranky and my family didn't know what to do with me.  They were as scared as I was, and it was a very rough night.

I had already reached that point where I didn't want to cause pain or suffering to my husband and son.  My newly widowed mother was sitting in Arizona where she lives, worrying about her daughter.  I had entered a phase that most women go through which is that I didn't want to cause my loved ones pain.  I couldn't help it.  There was nothing I could do but wait.

My story will continue.  I hope it helps someone out there. 

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