The first indication that there was something wrong came when I got a mammogram. My primary physician had confirmed with me there was some kind of mass in my right breast, but he assured me it was probably nothing since it had arisen so quickly. However, just to be safe, he ordered a mammogram and an ultrasound for the following week.
For anyone who is going to get a mammogram because of a suspicious lump in your breast, I HIGHLY recommend you bring some moral support with you. Turns out, in these days of digital mammograms, the radiologist can read the mammogram and have a pretty good idea of whether it is cancerous or just a cyst in about five minutes. I went by myself – it was just a test, and why should my husband sit in the waiting room for who knows how long while I’m in a room getting my breast squeezed, right?
The mammogram itself wasn’t too bad. You stand there and move your arm around, and the technician makes sure your breast is in the ideal spot. She asked me to point out where on my breast I felt the lump, so I did (thinking to myself – it’s this whole side, can’t you tell?). After the mammogram, I went right back to the ultrasound technician, another woman. She took a bunch of pictures, but it’s not like it was difficult to lay quietly on the table.
The radiologist came back with the technician after I got dressed, which is never a good sign. He stated that, while they couldn’t be 100% sure until they did a biopsy, all signs pointed to cancer, and would my schedule allow a biopsy in two days? I actually pushed back the biopsy, since my husband and I had planned a two-day bike trip around the Niagara Peninsula while the kids were at camp for the week and I didn’t figure waiting until after the weekend would make a significant difference in my treatment. I think I made it to the car before the shock wore off, the reality hit, and I cried. I cried again when I got home and my husband and I tried to process the fact that I had breast cancer. At least the kids weren’t home to see us so upset.
Next up, the biopsy.