Good Samaritan Hospital was abustle in the Breast Center. I was told that we do descend on them in October and it looked like today was biopsy day. I sat with the other ladies in our “gowns” (not like ball gowns but hospital gowns) waiting to go in. I felt like one of the “ladies” in a Toulouse Lautrec painting.
“Mrs.Christenson?” My blood froze but I stood up and walked into the business end of the Breast Center with my purse tucked under my arm. I had taken half of the anxiety pill but didn’t feel much less anxiety, and that made me more anxious than ever.
I was asked over and over what my birthdate was and my name. Finally I landed in the room with an ultrasound machine. The doctor would be in shortly. Lying on my back, with my left arm over my head, I was draped with sterile cloths, squirted with gel for the ultrasound and the doctor would be in soon. My stomach shriveled and I imagined that it looked like a raisin inside.
“Can you please hand me my purse? I would like to take the other half of my anxiety pill.” Sure, I was handed my purse and fished out the other half. I hoped it would work by the time the procedure got underway.
The doctor looked more like a regular guy than some scientist. There was a bit of fussing around, checking my birthday, double checking about what is to be done. Then packages were ripped open and I was told that the lidocane would feel like a hornet sting. Hornet? What a nasty image, and right on my tender breast…to have a hornet sting me there? Oh creepy…I was so glad I took the other half of my pill.
As the doctor was busy injecting me with numbing juices, I kept on thinking that if I had a tumor growing in me and I had not had the luxury of this kind of care I would die a harsh death and I should be grateful that I could feel that sting of Lidocane and would get the comfort of having part of me cut away and scrutinized by experts. That might save my life. No. Kidding. This is deadly serious.
Now the biopsy began in earnest. The doctor threaded the instrument from the lower left hand side of my breast to the tip. He tried to nip off a bit of the offending growth but it eluded him. That happens sometimes, it’s like bobbing for apples in some spots. I heard the needle go POP which means it was taking a piece of me. 3 to go. Now time felt like eternity. More fishing around under the surface of my skin, stop and POP. I jumped, you can’t help it. the technician let me hold her hand. I really squeezed it hard, she said that was OK. The anti anxiety drug was probably doing its job but my fears were the basic old type which still scoured the back of my brain and took all of my courage and good sense to keep confined to places where they would not do real harm. POP. After the requisite number of bites the doctor announced,”That is all I need.” The needle was withdrawn and I was inspected, they made sure I was not bleeding and put a special bandage on me which would fall off on its own in about 7 days.
I was sent home with a list of instructions and told the doctor would call me in 2 days.
Again, the torture of waiting for the results. What would the next step be? I was not feeling lucky. The procedure had gone well but living through it is nerve wracking. So is waiting.