After hearing from an oncologist, who looked at my mammograms and examined me, that he really thought that I didn’t have cancer, I felt elated, to say the least. I shared the news with my family and those closest to me. We all felt optimistic, but we knew that he wanted me to get one more mammogram to make sure.
I scheduled one at the hospital where the oncologist worked. Having cerebral palsy makes the mammogram process much more arduous. Sitting still is impossible, especially when feeling any kind of pain. My attendant felt badly about having to hold me still in the machine to get a proper picture. A muscle relaxer I took didn’t seem to help. But we tried our hardest.
After the mammogram, I underwent another ultrasound. I prayed they wouldn’t see anything, and I could just go home and resume my normal, beautiful life. No, it wasn’t that easy. A doctor came in who works with my oncologist. He said that he would feel more comfortable if I had a biopsy just to make sure. He saw a cluster of cells, and he couldn’t tell by the images if they were normal or cancerous. He said that he would send his recommendation to my doctor.
My attendant helped me dress, and the nurses ushered me into a small conference room. A nice, younger nurse came in and explained everything again, and what a biopsy meant. She tried to make another appointment as I sat there, but my oncologist wasn’t available. She said that he would contact me soon to schedule a date for my biopsy.
I took a deep breath and let myself feel the disappointment. I knew that I had to share the disappointment with my friends and family. I really didn’t want to tell my husband, who was doing his best to complete nursing school. But I told everyone, and they were all super-supportive and loving.
Christmas 2015 came despite my worries of possible cancer. I decided to enjoy Christmas to the fullest, because I really had no idea what was in store for me. Hugs, kisses, and saying “I love you” meant something much deeper now. Saying and acting on love had to be in the present, because time was now both my friend and enemy.
After the holidays had passed, I waited for a telephone call to schedule my biopsy. As much as I didn’t want to do it, I wanted to find out what was happening inside me. After a week, I called and talked to the doctor. To my dismay and surprise, he wanted yet another mammogram! He wanted me to take Valium to really relax to try to obtain the best image possible. I cringed. I knew he ultimately was trying not to put me through a procedure that I possibly didn’t need. But this was one heck of a roller coaster ride!
My mom took me to the mammogram on a Friday morning. I took my muscle relaxers and fought against falling asleep. The really annoying part was that, when we arrived, they couldn’t find me in the schedule! So we had to wait and pray that the medicine wouldn’t wear off by the time that they performed the mammogram.
As you probably guessed, the images still showed a mass and needed a biopsy. I scheduled the biopsy toward the end of January. At this point, I still hadn’t told my daughter about what was going on. I didn’t want her to worry for nothing at 9 years old. But I had to tell her something, since I was leaving early before school and would probably be tired after school. I simply told her that I needed to have some tests done that would leave me a bit sore. She was concerned but more upset that I wouldn’t be there when she went to school.
Before I had my biopsy, I read about it and how a high percentage came out negative. My family texted me that morning to give words of support and positivity. Luckily, my mom and husband could both come with me, as we were navigating the pink journey together.