The day was finally here. For weeks, i had waited for this day, a day where modern science could tell me what i already knew in my gut: Cancer is growing inside you. I made arrangements with my supervisor to leave work after class to attend this appointment.
“I’ll be back in the afternoon for the staff meeting,” i told her, fully believing this was the truth.
I never made it back to work that day.
The mammogram was essentially pointless. A former coworker/breast cancer survivor had warned me this would be the case. Mammograms detect lumps that are dense enough to arouse suspicion, but they don’t tell you much beyond that. They don’t tell you whether what is growing inside you is actually cancer … and if you have already detected the lump on your own, there is nothing more a mammogram can do for you. Despite this, insurance companies often require this to be your first step in the cancer journey, and United Healthcare was no exception.
Whatever LabCorp technicians saw on the mammogram test was enough to push them to immediately schedule me for an ultrasound. Immediately – as in, “Don’t bother taking off your gown; we’re going to move you right into another room for now.” The ultrasound tech slathered me with cold jelly, rubbed a tool across my whole upper body, and captured dozens of images. While she worked, she told me all about her problems with both her marriage and her inability to find genuine females with whom to form friendships. I am used to this; i have long played the clinical role with friends, family, coworkers, girlfriends, exes, and complete strangers. But today, i wasn’t in the mood to be some stranger’s therapist. When she suggested we go hiking together in the upcoming weekend, i looked her dead in the face and said absolutely nothing. By this time, she was wrapping up her task. She started typing an email, and it was then that i found out that nobody would be discussing the results of my mammogram and ultrasound with me.
Had i not been warned by that same coworker that this is what would happen, i probably would have gone ballistic. So when the lab tech slid a name and number on a piece of scratch paper across the table towards me and told me to call this person immediately to schedule a biopsy, i didn’t even bother to put up a fight. Well, okay – maybe a little fight, since that’s the kind of person i am. I pushed for details and could only surmise from her repeated use of the word “immediately” that my suspicions had officially been confirmed.
I then got dressed, left the building, walked to my car, opened the door, sat down … and promptly lost it.
Keep it together, tarah. This is seriously JUST THE BEGINNING.