The Breast Is Yet To Come

My breast saga continues.

So, I went to have a stereotactic biopsy of my right breast last Friday. Wendy, a lovely nurse from outside of Liverpool,  England, explained the procedure, which involves lying face down on a table with a cutout for your breast.

Before and during the biopsy, 3D images of the breast show the doctor the precise location of the asymmetric tissue.

Once the initial (rehearsal) images are taken (about 15 minutes, Wendy said), and you’re positioned correctly, you cannot move for about 30 minutes or you chance that the radiologist will take the tissue sample from the wrong spot. You must kept your head still, too, since you’ll likely move your torso if you move your head.

It seemed like the rehearsal photo session was taking a lot longer than 15 minutes, I thought, as my left arm and head were struggling to stay still.

“You are not going to like this,” suddenly warned Dr. Elias, the radiologist. “We cannot do the biopsy this way.”

Was I having a nightmare on top of my daymare?

I lifted my head, and although I was hearing her words explain the problem she was encountering (“We can’t see the abnormal tissue on the 3D images so we have to do an MRI-guided biopsy instead), it took a minute to grasp what she meant. This show was NOT going on!

“Let me show you what I mean” Dr. Elias continued, as she helped me off the table and pointed to the set of images of my breast on a computer screen. “We can see the abnormal tissue on the regular mammogram, but we can’t see it well on the 3D images. We know MRI images will be clear since you had an MRI.”

“Why didn’t you do an MRI biopsy in the first place?”  I asked.

“Because it takes twice as long to do the biopsy with an MRI, and we want to make the process as painless as possible,” Dr. Elias answered.

“We can do the MRI right now, can’t we?” I asked, assuming that was a really foolish question the moment it left my mouth.

“I’m afraid not,” Dr. Elias said. “We’re booked today”

“You mean I have to wait again?” I asked rhetorically.

“We’ve called the patient coordinator to help schedule this,” Dr. Elias continued.

When Monet, said practice coordinator, entered the room, she apologized for the rigmarole, and warmly explained that someone would absolutely contact me by the end of the day to schedule the new date for the biopsy. I didn’t trust that, so I asked for her card, which she graciously provided. And, off I went to dress and return home.

I was planning to see my 4 ½-year-old grandson, Primo, later that day, so I was glad I’d have a diversion. By 3:30 pm, I was off with Primo at Twinkle Playspace in Brooklyn, and hadn’t yet received a call, so I rang Monet. She said she’d go ahead and schedule the appointment herself (I wondered why didn’t she do that earlier), which she did for November 20.

That’s more waiting. Then, probably another week after that to get the results of the biopsy, since I’m having the procedure during Thanksgiving week, and I assume the lab will be short staffed.

Oh well. They said mine is a “low suspicion” case. I assume waiting a couple more weeks isn’t going to kill me. At least not literally.

 

  • chevy shimanowitz

    Geri, I’m amazed at you. Your levity is very admirable. Keep making jokes. My 2 best friends went thru this, but they are both o.k., ten years later. The waiting is the worst. It’s also hard around the holidays, when u have to put on a cheerful face. & act like u are not worried. Remember that God is in charge. My family’s relative had a brain tumor, & was told by his surgeon- “I give him a year.” Well, that was 20 years ago, & thank God, he’s still here. So, the best thing u can do, is put it out of your mind. Remember,” worry is interest due, on a debt not paid.”

    • GeriFOF

      Thanks, Chevy. Thanks for writing. I figure that given the “low suspicion” comment on the MRI report, that even if it IS cancer, it will be treatable. Fondly, Geri