6mm

I don’t remember a lot about it. I was far too self absorbed to pay attention to the details, or maybe to even realize what it all could mean. Ignorant and idiotic. I didn’t make time to get to know her well, and looking back on it I see millions of missed opportunities. But one thing I can never forget, when the doctor said to me, “Your sister is dying.”

So calm. So cold. Just those four words as he looked me straight in the eyes. I was 27 years old. She was 45.

This year I turned 35, just one year younger than she was when first diagnosed. For some reason, I have felt a great need to seek some medical exploration and got the 2nd mammogram of my life. I had questions about genetic testing and was interested in having it done. The first step was to see the head surgeon of a new High Risk Breast Cancer Clinic that opened recently at a local hospital. I didn’t even really know what I was there for or what we would discuss. I thought I was heading for genetic counseling, but as the petite doctor, not much older than myself, walked into the room, she made it clear that this was not genetic counseling, and if that is what I was solely interested in then she could schedule that for me, but as no matter what I was going to end up paying her, she would like to discuss a few things with me if I was interested.  I said I was, and I’m so glad that I did.

Dr. Saldhana is a fantastic doctor, very interested in her patients’ needs, and very personable and caring. We talked about some family history. She did a few genetic analyses of her own just to calculate some of my potential risk factors, and gave me some homework of what additional information I need to find out about my family history for when I would have my genetic counseling appointment as they would go much further in-depth than she had.  Some lifestyle changes such as ensuring I get 30 minutes of cardio a day and refraining from alcoholic beverages are in store. Does alcohol really make a big difference?  I practically pleaded her with my eyes to say no, but she gave me a resounding Yes.  Fun fact: alcohol can function as a carcinogen essentially. Shit.  However, back to what’s really important, the next big step as far as she was concerned, was to get some more imaging, and that meant a breast MRI.

Scheduled rather quickly, I had this procedure performed last week right before Thanksgiving. It wasn’t a big deal. Lie in this machine,  the girls kinda dangling in this contraption, stay very still, and listen to the whirs and knocks that surrounded me for nearly a half an hour as they took test images, then the first set of real images, injected some dye, and then the last set of contrast images. Walk away, rush home and quickly begin preparing for  tomorrow’s day of family and food.

4:44 pm Monday as I’m preparing dinner, my cell rings. Surprisingly, the voice that meets me over the phone is Dr. Saldhana. This can’t be good echoes in my mind as I take in the news. A small lesion, about 6mm near my right arm pit. The images not detected on the mammogram or the 3D mammogram. More imaging needed, and some kind of biopsy in the future.  That’s the basic gist  of the conversation.

Most likely a cyst...

Not trying to scare you…

This is what you came in for. Not quite the genetic testing, but preventative measures to make sure you stay healthy as someone at high risk for breast cancer. 

So today I should receive an appointment for a ultrasound, and then some form of biopsy will follow. From some light Googling last night, a cyst will appear more translucent if it shows up on a sonogram, fluid can hopefully be removed from it, and the cyst should disappear. Some cysts come back, and some don’t. If the 6mm lesion is not filled with fluid, there are still a variety of diagnoses other than breast cancer that it could potentially be, and so I am choosing to remain optimistic and see where the next few weeks will take me.

And while I have so many regrets about what I have done or not done in the past, I do not regret listening to the little voice that said, You might wanna check into this. 

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22 thoughts on “6mm

  1. I SO hope this is something innocent. And if not, sounds as if it would be curable at this stage. I have refused the breast screening we get in the uk because it is barbaric and my instincts (and some doctors) tell me if breasts do have any cancerous tumours in them, squishing them flat to get images is a bad idea. I would have an MRI if it was on offer but it isn’t.

    They still screen in a more aggressive way here and I don’t want it done. There are some schools of thought that claim squashing very slow growing breast tumours, that would never threaten your life, can cause cancerous cells to break away and cause further cancers.

    It is hard to know what to believe but until I feel confident about the screening method, I am hoping for the best and eating as healthily as I can. I avoid dairy products, alcohol, sugar and any chemicals in food. Good luck with the 6mm mystery – I am rooting for it to be innocent. Keep us posted.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sorry that you had to go through losing your sister and now this and I hope that everything turns out alright for you and your family.

    With regard to the writing, I think you did an awesome job with tension here. I felt my heart actually skip a beat while reading. Good job with that =)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh man! I truly hope that it does turn out to be a cyst. I’m sorry you lost your sister so many years ago, but thankful that because of it, you went through more investigations. Keep being optimistic. The next few weeks will be so much easier that way. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Time slows when waiting for test results. And the rest of the world goes on like nothing is the matter. I hope the next call from the doctor brings you good news. I’m glad you didn’t ignore that inner voice.
    From a stylistic perspective, I think a more powerful beginning would have been to start the story with “Your sister is dying.” Of course, I might overuse the technique of opening with dialogue but I think that would pull the reader in more quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I really appreciate the writing feedback. I thought about that, and I think I may have done it the way I did for my own conscious. Without a doubt, you are right. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure where the post was going to go. Thank you so much.

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      • I feel like a bit of an ass critiquing your writing when you are probably more focused on your health. I’m glad you appreciate it but understand that this was more about getting it all out.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh please don’t! I love that you made a critique. As a constant bottom dweller of the competition, I will take every bit of help I can get. I submitted last minute and knew it was more “for me” writing but the tips I can apply to all I write. Gives me something to focus on. Thank you!!!!

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