The Waiting is the Hardest Part…

Ok, actually being diagnosed with cancer is pretty tough; however, waiting has got to be the hardest part once you are an actual member of the cancer community. Waiting in doctors offices. Waiting for test results to come in. Waiting to get in for an appointment. Waiting for surgeries to heal. Waiting for the shoe to drop.

When I went to have my first post-mastectomy mammogram a month ago, I knew it wasn’t good when after the mammo, I found myself waiting for an ultrasound while other women that had come in the same time I did were getting dressed and heading off on the rest of their day. I had to wait to meet with the radiologist after she had looked over the results of the two different mammograms and the ultrasound. This was different than the mammogram/ultrasound I had on December 1, 2011 when the ultrasound technician, in a very cold manner, wouldn’t talk to me, wouldn’t explain to me what was going on, but gave me a hug and told me “my prayers are with you” when I left the room to go across the street to my doctor’s office–where she told me the mammogram and ultrasound look like breast cancer and gave me a hug. This time, both my mammogram and ultrasound technicians talked to me, in a way where I could start to piece together the seriousness of the problem, but where they weren’t going to give me information that would get them in trouble. So I knew not to go into panic mode when the radiologist told me that they had found a complex cyst on my left breast and that thanks to my history of BC, she was recommending that my surgeon do a biopsy, just to make sure that everything was ok.

It’s been a month now, and I still haven’t had my biopsy.

I love my surgeon. He’s the chief of medical staff, has tons of awards, has a thorough office visit manner and he was there for me last year in a way that I will always be appreciative of.  However, he is popular and in demand and so he has a .500 average of rescheduling.  Yep, 50% of my appointments, procedures, etc. with him have been rescheduled because of other peoples’ “emergencies.” My first appointment with him on December 5, 2011? Rescheduled to December 7th. Surgery December 27, 2011? Rescheduled to December 28th. You get the picture.

I met with my surgeon on January 7, 2013 (his office was being given a facelift over the holidays so he couldn’t see me before then) and he feels that this is benign, but we need to do the biopsy to be precautionary. Biopsy was scheduled for Friday, January 18…guess who had to reschedule? Yep, so the biopsy is now scheduled for January 25.

I was stubborn in December 2011. I didn’t have cancer until a biopsy’s results said I had cancer. This meant I went from December 1-December 16, 2011 waiting and hoping for results that would say I didn’t have cancer. Even though, based on the very effective mammogram and ultrasound results, the diagnostic center radiologist, my primary care doc and my surgeon all said I did (and the surgeon felt it was serious enough to take care of things immediately). I feel I have to be equally stubborn a little over a year later in following up on this. If anything, this past year has taught me that no one is ever simply ‘over’ cancer. Recurrences happen everyday in cases that weren’t expected, where people were told they were cancer free and cured. I currently am NED (No Evidence of Disease), but as a member of my medical team, I need to continue to be vigilant because the damn cancer could come back. If one member of my team wants to be cautious, we all need to follow through on this. This means as a team player, I’m going to all of my appointments, getting organized for whatever might happen this year–and I have cut back BIG time the amount of Dt. Coke I am drinking (since caffeine and cysts are often linked). The Diet Coke thing? Big deal for me.

In the meantime, this month of waiting has flown by. With the holidays, my birthday, the AHA conference, walking the dogs everyday, blogging, teaching, and this year’s crazy Carnival/Super Bowl/Mardi Gras season kicking off last night, I might not be all calm, cool and collected about my fear of recurrence on the inside, but I sure am distracted!!! 🙂

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