Chapter 2: My Left Breast

i dont have a problem with mammograms.  i go in, get nakid from the waist up, have my boob squished to smithereens, flat like a pancake and a small pancake at that, then off i go tra la la and dont get a phone call or the results.  the doc office is sposed to phone u if something is up.


so, i thot i was going every year, but since i have been rather ‘home free’ the past almost 2 years, i guess it got overlooked.  but coming back to canada after my thai trip, i thot i wud address a few things, like my income tax (didnt do) and any medical things that i cud think of and lateeda.  i found a slip in the mail of a notice for a mamo at my dad’s place.  i called my doc office to ask when i had last done it and they said in 2006.  what?  three years ago, no way.  it felt like i had just done it a year ago and i still wonder about this.  my doc office is so incompetent that i dont know whether to believe what they tell me or not.


they also claim i had a mamo in their office building, i dont remember ever having had one done there.  it was in another location (which slips my mind, but it definitely was not there).  so i dont know what the fuk is up with that.


so i book a mamo.  yet in the mean time i think i shud just check my breast as well altho i hardly ever do.  and it is so hard to tell because my left breast always has more mass than my right.  my doc, doc zed, told me what it wud feel like if there was a tumour or cyst.  she said it wud feel like a pea under the skin.  this felt more like a large brazil nut, so i figured that didnt count.  i had seen her before about a lump and she wrote it off as being okay.  and there is a lot of tissue and muscle or whatever the hell is under there.


so doc zed is away and i get doc french and she is quite thorough and examines my breasts even though i came in for other tests.  and she is concerned and says she will book a diagnostic mamo for me instead of a regular one like i had set up.  she left it to the incompetent admin woman – ramona.  i wud like to say that ramona will be the death of me, but that may seem prophetic so never mind.  but she drives me mad with her inability to coordinate anything.  ramona cud not manage that task or many others to follow, so i did it myself.


so far i have set up almost all the appointments except with doctor darkness, the surgeon, who i wud not want to have cut me open.  i was so repulsed by her office and the whole anonymous sheep herding thru there and the long 1 1/2 hour wait period where we had to sit amongst sullen faces and watch women by women file in and coming out all red eyed and teary with their mother beside them or their son waiting in the waiting room and me – alone.


it was horrible and doctor darkness expressed no empathy or compassion once you finally got the privilege to hear her say how she wud cut u open and zap you with radiation and fill your body with chemo after.  fun.


anyhow, i set up the diagnostic mamo right away, like within a week.  this may have been mid august.  if i waited for ruh-moan-uh, it may have been october.  i booked it up on the sunshine coast.  i also booked my ultra sound and my biopsy and my chest xray.  i had the incomp office fax the requisition, which was tough too.  they mucked up on faxing one for my chest xray so there i was sitting in a waiting room in st pauls radiology and i cant get in because the doc office didnt send it.  same prob with the doc office sending my mamo results to doc dark – they didnt do it quick enuff so i arrive a doc dark’s office and they are asking me where they are.  oh, hang on, i think i have them in my knapsack.  how the fuk wud i know, that is not my responsibility.


yet i go thru the same loops since i know the docs, the hospitals and all their numbers from setting everything up mybloodyself,  so i try to connect the info with the more competent admin at doc dark’s office.  god who the hell wud want to work in that environment every freakin day.  i think i wud jump off a bridge, one that is not too high but high enuff that i wud feel the smack of the sea and not die but be reminded that if i went any higher or i had a bit too much wine, there was that possibility.  i smirk here.  and then i wud have to swim to shore and just be tired enuff that i cud barely get there.  again a reminder.  and be so fatigued i wud fall asleep on the shore and forget about what a horrible job i have and wake up with sand stuck to my face and waves splashing at my feet as the tide came in.


god, job from hell – booking appointments for women to have their breasts amputated and cancer scooped out.  then bookings to have them zapped by something so powerful that it kills good cells as well as bad.  geez.  really, the admin needs to be baptized every nite when she goes home.  cleansed.  set free.  yet someone has to do it, so god bless her and she did handle me well.  and that is the operative word ‘handle’.  cuz after an hour of waiting i was so ready to bolt.  and besides i had a booking with psychic elma and i was looking forward to that.


i plan on getting this kind of militant doctor, a hardass that at least gets things done cuz i am tired of being that person.  i am fatigued by it and the anger i feel toward the incompetence of my doc office who does not have the ability to coordinate appointments and referals and sending out results to the appropo places so the new doctor knows wtf.  they cant even make the appointments!!!!  that is what is so fukn frustrating.  it isnt rocket surgery.



the mamo


rite after the mamo they see the results,  radio girl comes back in and says to me, ‘i know that you are booked for an ultra sound tomorrow but we are going to have you do the ultra sound today’.  um okay.  i doubt that will hurt and they are kinda fun, all those swirly wave patterns moving about on a screen.  i think i ask something lame like you ‘wont have to poke me or anything do you?’


they had a sense of humour at least and i needed that.  oh yeh, we have to gown up in these little cubicles with curtains surrounding that can be drawn for privacy.  but that is where we had to wait to be called in.  so there cud be a few of us waiting there.  rather awkward but cuz we were on the sunshine coast it wasnt cuz people are friendly and i chatted a bit with the woman near me.  she was flipping thru a magazine and i was writing in my journal.  this journal is turning into the ‘c’ book.  i was well aware of that when i bot it and that was before i found out the news.  i thot it is short and small and i will be able to fill it up fast and when i finish it i will be finished with the ‘c’ business.  ta da.


okay i did not keep good track of things in my journal, but it seems the doc appt was the first week in august and i arranged the whole mamo, utra sound and biopsy the following week.  tho the hospital organized the biopsy, not something i was bloody looking forward to.


funny, the radiologist asked me if i was in the business, like i was a nurse or doctor.  praps becuz i was writing in my journal and maybe i had my clip board out.  i dont know.  i also asked questions, which is what i do.


so right after the mamo they want to do an ultra sound.  hmm, i think, they are taking this seriously.  i lay down on a table and a woman with an exotic name comes in and sets things up.  she is from a place like hungary.  dark hair, striking, a bit more serious than the last one.  another woman who is a bit more approachable comes in.  she has hair down to her shoulders and that reminded me that i missed my hair, yet part of me thinks, thru this ordeal, that i really wudnt have much to lose if i chose the whole chemo route and that was a result of it.  i have been bald before and rather recently in fact.  months ago.


so she does the whole ultra sound thing.  they gel you up with this slimey goo that is cool too, as in cold.  then they put the little ultra sound gadget on you.  it is kind of the shape of a microphone, and they move it all around till they see that they want to see.  and she did and me too.


then she calls in head ultra sound guy for backup.  he has a nice vibe.  tall, smiles easily, makes me feel comfortable.  i like him immediately and wud opt for him operating on me rather than doc darko but seems he does not do surgery and who says i am going to go that way anyway.


so he repeats what ultraviolet just did.  the two of them carry on a bit of a banter as tho i am a pet cat who has a little dreadlock of fur on my chest and they arent sure if it is just fur or a lump.


‘hello, i am still here!!’


anyhow, they also address me and are very nice.  ultra nice says, ‘so what happened that made you find this lump?’


i smile and say, ‘well . . . i had a psychic that told me i would get a lump in my left breast and every once in a while i check.’


ultra nice and ultarviolet look at each other and he says, ‘really?’  and i say, ‘yes’.  and ultra violet says something like ‘wow’.


‘yeh he is pretty good tho his time line is sometimes off’ i inform them.


‘so,’ says ultra guy, ‘you only check your left breast?’


‘um . . . yes.’


we all laugh.


he relays the story to madam chose – the woman from another country.  and i say ‘madam chose’ with all due respect, i just dont know any one’s bleeping names.  it actually means ‘miss thing’, which does not sound very nice in english but i think works here.  it wud be like saying ‘whatshername’.


when we were about to finish i said, ‘dont you want to know what psychic henry said in the end?’  and ultra violet says, ‘did he say something about the lump?’  and i answer, ‘yes . . . he said it wud be okay.  he thot it was just tissue or muscle or something.’


yet ultra nice booked me a biopsy for the next day.  i cud see the lump.  it was a bit darker than the rest of my breast.  it was there, that is for sure.  i hope it isnt there next time i get checked or do the mri or whatever is next with this whole messed up process.


i do not like the idea of having a big fat needle poked into my breast.  jesus.  and of course the first question is ‘will it hurt?’


but ultra guy was so cool about it.  he says, ‘it wont hurt as much as your dentist.’


‘but i just went to my dentist and it reaaally hurt,’ i whined but a bit jokingly.


i asked what wud happen.  they wud freeze it and then use a needle to draw out some of the tissue from the lump to examine it to see if it is good cells or not so good.  i wondered how the hell they know where to poke and they told me they use the ultra sound at the same time.  oooh creepy cool.


i was booked the next day for it.  the next morning, right before my interview for a new job.  bloody hell.  when i went for my interview i had an ice pack stuck to my left breast and a bandaid over the puncture wound that turned into a small bruise in the next few days.

the biopsy


the biopsy was not so hard, it was more creepy than painful.  i watched the first needle go in via the ultra sound screen.  the small needle.  i mean how cud i resist seeing this.  but once they brot out the big honking suckoutyourcells needle i cud not look.  it just creeped me out too much.  and plus i did not know they had to do more than one sample.  this meant poking me more than once.  they didnt bother mentioning that, i sussed it out.  ‘so how many times are you going to poke me?’ i asked ultra guy.


‘oh just a few’.


what!?  a few means more than a couple and a couple is two so that means three or more!  bloody hell.  but i realize he was trying to keep it as lite as possible.  and it did end on three cuz he says to ultra girl, ‘if this is something something, then that is it.’  hello i am still here.  but at least i caught that it may be done and it was thank bloody god.


i was glad to get it done with so quickly.  it happened becuz i insisted on it, saying that i was going to the kootenays (to see dad, which didnt happen).  so not too much time to fret about it.  think i went home and drank wine, which was my ritual after, well . . . anything 🙂


and then the wait . . .

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