“Mrs.Christenson, we’d like you to come down to the Radiology Lab.” I felt like someone just shot battery acid into my stomach. The technician rotated the screen on which the mammogram was showing and an oblong white spot showed up clearly. “This is what we found and we would like to take an ultrasound to see if it’s a cyst or some benign object or whether it’s something that needs to be taken care of.”

At this point I was numb. I followed obediently down the hall feeling very much like running, and taking off, and flying away, and not facing the fact of a cancer diagnosis. But, instead I followed meekly along. My heart was banging away in my ribcage by now.

A nice woman in the radiology lab had me lie down, arm over head. She squirted the gel on my left breast and started to knead and twirl around with the ultrasound head. Mercifully, the machine didn’t make those loud underwater sounds, it was silent. I hated every minute of it. I could feel myself starting to shake and I willed myself to stop. By now I felt like someone had dropped an icecube into my head, right between the two halves of my brain. The ultrasound went on for what felt like an hour, it was probably 5 minutes. The technician was very thorough.

Finally, she turned the screen around and the oblong creation was facing me again. “This is what we really need to take a look at.” Biopsy, I thought. The next step is going to be a biopsy. “I think we need to do a biopsy. Let me check with the doctor but in cases like this he usually recommends a biopsy.”

At this point, I was just alone. I could not think, I was numb. In a short time, the tech appeared. She confirmed that I was a good candidate for a needle biopsy, a great improvement over the old fashioned way of taking a part of a possible tumor for analysis. A small needle is inserted and a bit of the suspicious tissue is bitten off. Then they look at it and see if there is any cancer cell activity and proceed from there. The whole thing takes about 10 minutes, the breast is numbed with lidocane, the needle is guided with the help of ultrasound and it’s relatively painless.

Oh,that is a better option than the one my mother would have gotten had she been in my situation. I left under something of a cloud but I was going to find out for sure. My biopsy would be scheduled for Tuesday October 22 and it was now the Thursday before.

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