Thursday, December 1, 2011
A beautiful, sunny, and warm New Orleans afternoon.
A follow-up trip to the Diagnostic Imaging Services Center on Prytania Street in Uptown after my November 16th baseline mammogram screening had showed “grouped fine pleomorphic calcifications in the right breast.”
I worked in the morning and went to my afternoon appointment by myself.
I had this follow-up mammogram with a fairly nice technician that sure spent a long time going to speak with the radiologist to confirm that she had taken all of the necessary images.
When I was ushered into an extremely cold ultrasound room, no one seemed able to give me any details about what was going on–or most distressing, no one was able to come up with any small talk to distract me from my rising fears.
I was given a breast ultrasound by a cold, detached technician in that cold, dark room and when the procedure was complete, she left me to go confer with the radiologist. I remember being so cold and shivering in the darkness while I waited–which seemed like forever.
When she returned, she refused to share with me what was going on, but said that I would need to go to see my primary physician–whose office was directly across the street–ASAP and that my doctor happened to be available immediately. This cold technician suddenly turned nice as I was leaving, giving me kind words that were in total odds to her initial treatment of me.
I walked across the street to my doctor’s office in the bright sunlight. All I could do was focus on the sunshine, soaking it up, trying to distract myself from my fears. This was definitely not ok.
I entered Dr. Garrett’s office suite and was immediately taken to a separate room where I waited less than 5 minutes to talk to Dr. Garrett, who shared with me the findings of the mammograms and ultrasound. It definitely looked like cancer, but we would have to wait until confirmation of a biopsy. I didn’t shut down and was almost cheerful, mainly because Dr. Garrett was so kind and helpful and damn reassuring! I was also in denial. How could it really be cancer on such a bright, sunny day?
But it was and that finding would be confirmed with biopsy results 2 weeks later, exactly a month following my first ever mammogram.
That NOLA sunshine helped boost me up during that intense time, as my world was irrevocably transitioning.