Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Scan Anxiety Redux

The waiting room for the mammograms was completely filled this morning. By the time I was finished with my half hour series of scans and rescans, half were gone. I was told that this will be my last 'diagnostic scan; no more high magnifications' but now I don't know how true that is. Slowly all the other patients disappeared until only two of us remained. The other lady was BRAC2 and had had triple negative BC also, very rare to meet them in the flesh aside from my neighbor diagnosed at the same time as I. Five years later, she developed estrogen positive BC in her lymph node. This was not considered a recurrence but a new primary. Finally even she disappeared (with a clean bill of health) and it was just me thinking unhappy thoughts. For one thing, I was already late for the radiation oncology meeting. (They did tell me later I should have reminded them of that, that perhaps I would have been dealt with quicker but past experience has been there is no speeding up anything there). Finally I was called into a room with the radiologist, a bad sign right there as usually these people just sign a letter of good news and are never seen. She said that she would need to ultrasound my 'mass'. Instantly I felt my world crumbling and started to panic. Almost 2 hours later, I still feel sick to my stomach. I must have looked terrified. She told me not to panic, that although there have been changes since last year, it was probably nothing. So after the ultrasound in which I held my breath choking back tears, the radiologist said what happened is that I had a hemotoma after the surgeries but now, 2 years later, it is solidifying. On the mammogram, it looks like a tumor but the ultrasound shows it as fluid with small lumps of fibrous stuff forming so it is not a tumor.

On to the radiation oncologist, which was anticlimatic. I wanted her to confirm what the radiologists had said but she said she was not a radiologist (which is what I thought a radiation oncologist was). Until next summer, I am supposed to be seen every 3 months. The two years of intensive surveillance starts when you finish treatment, not when you are diagnosed.

All in all, I was gone nearly 4 hours.

It is beautiful outside. Maybe I'll go for a walk and calm myself down.

And now, no X-mas with all the grandkids. Shanna and her family are coming around Thanksgiving instead. Her husband has a medical condition that could only be treated in Canada. Go figure. This is according to his Harvard based specialist. It is not a fatal condition but one that seriously impacts his quality of life. Originially everything was set up in Toronto but now they are seeing if the procedure could be done closer to us as in Windsor.

3 comments:

Holly said...

Sue - i hear your anxiety and fear all the way in LA! i felt the same way just a few weeks ago...mammo, utz, bx and then...it's 'probably' just late changes in the tissue secondary to xrt...ugh...

my providers 'date' me from dx, not end of tx...so they consider me 3 1/2 years out...

Teri Bernstein said...

I was wondering if you had a scan today...a comment in your post yesterday got me wondering...but my online access when I am at SMC precludes me from seeing the word verification cod that allows me to post. ie...keeps me out of SoME trouble....

word verification today: surbali
every hear of that?

Kathy;Chris said...

Sue,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and emotions as you went through this procedure...I feel for you and can hear your fear and frustration...why are these processes still so isolating and dehumanizing?
I've just had another of many repeat mamogram( and one bilateral ultra sound) and callbacks because there is 'something they can't see well enough' on my original mamogram. Even though these have been false alarms I'm concerned about all the additional exposure, and end up thinking this time they may find something real. It makes me want to stop having mamograms altogether... but now the OB/GYN folks won't renew my HRT without one.....
Have a wonderful thanksgiving with your beautiful kids and grandchildren.
Kathy

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