I found a lump…. It hadn’t been there before, and then suddenly it was there. A cold wave of nausea and fear passed like a wave over my body as I realized what it could mean. Up until my daughter’s diagnosis (read more about that here), I had usually been able to cowgirl up and think positive about scary situations. Unfortunately this time, since I had faced the trauma of life altering illness, all I could obsess about was… well, it could be something.
A week later I found myself in my OBGYN’s office to get examined. The result of the examination was that the lump in question wasn’t extremely suspicious, but I should certainly go in to get it checked. I left with my Dr.’s order in hand feeling ice-like dread slowly crawl through my veins.
Not wasting a moment, I drove home dialing through the list of offices in town that provided mammogram services. One office couldn’t get me in for almost a month! There was no way I could wait that long to find out what kind of battle I needed to prepare to fight.
Having had a positive experience with Baptist Hospital through the delivery of my daughter, I landed on the Baptist Health Hill Breast Center number and gave it a call. They had space available the next day, and I quickly cleared my schedule to make appointment. I made the decision at this point to begin documenting this journey, as in my mind, whatever happened, I would use this experience to inform and encourage others. Thus the pictures…
From the moment I walked in the door of the Breast Center my anxiety began to ease. From registration to check in, everything was a breeze as the staff at the front desks were kind, and funny, and made me feel normal… not like a had a life-threatening alien lump inside me.
Once checked-in I was surprised to be lead to a spa-like relaxation room. Ladies were scattered around in special mammogram-style hospital gowns while listening to ambient spa music and watching a flatscreen with nature scenes playing. This was not a harsh glaring room of panic ridden women. It was a room for reflection and peace, while you waited for your mammogram.
My technician was perky and brought a smile to my face. She treated me with dignity and walked me through the process supportively. The first thing I was surprised to learn was that it didn’t hurt. When I commented on this, she explained that some women have different levels of tolerance, especially if their tissue is more cystic than others.
The process was pretty quick as she took pictures from several angles. She explained that they did this to make sure the lump in question was consistently in the same place. I was relieved to learn I would actually get my results that day. What?!! No week long wait?
My momentary distraction ended as I was lead back to the spa room to await my sonogram and results. I drank my water and prayed, hoping for my husband and daughter that I would get an all clear. So many thoughts flooded through my brain as I prepared myself for the possible loss that could come, and the change it could mean for my future.
Finally I was escorted to the sonogram room where I was informed they were just double checking the results. Moments later the radiologist came in and swiftly told me I was ok!! Overcome with relief, he explained exactly what they had found, and why it wasn’t a problem. I don’t remember a lot after that. I think my stress and adrenaline levels began to crash, making me lose focus.
Thankfully I left the Hill Center having embraced the day as another experience that would make me wiser, more empathetic, and more grateful for the life I am gifted with. I knew that if I could have the opportunity to educate another scared woman going through this process that it would be worth it all.
Now I know… now I can look into that woman’s eyes and get a glimpse of what she might be facing, and hopefully, through it all it will make me a better friend, a better woman, and ultimately a better mother.