Wait, What?

by | Dec 5, 2012 | Blog, Life Lessons | 2 comments

That’s what my kids say all the time when they really aren’t listening to me, or they catch only part of what I said.

Today, I went to Rochester for my 6-month check with the oncologist.  I had a mammogram scheduled for 10am and the visit with her at 10:30.  Business as usual, no problem. Told my husband to go up and hang out in the beautiful lobby where he could do some work and watch the snow fall.

The mammogram started out fine and then she took a few extra pictures on the right side.  Hmmm.

“Have a seat and the radiologist will review these before you see the doctor”.  OK, that’s OK.

Ten minutes later she comes out.  “Do you have copies of your last MRI?”.  Hmmm. getting nervous now.

Ten more minutes pass, “We are going to do an ultrasound to double check.  There appears to be a dense mass on the right breast”.

Wait, What? OK, now I am in a panic and I remember my husband is upstairs.  I texted him, so far so good, be done soon. (Little white lie) Soon the tests are all done and I am on my way to the examination room. “Do you want me to call your husband in?”

“No, let’s wait”, and as if on cue, my husband texts me just to check in.  I say nothing because he worries so and I thought let’s wait until we have something to worry about. I am a high-risk patient.  I am monitored every 6 months alternating Breast MRI and Mammogram.  I am very fortunate to have such a great doctor and I know my care at the Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester is the very best.  As I sit there and wait for her, I try to relax and remember that.

Everyone seems on edge and I never felt it like that before.  The usual joking around is absent.  I wait a bit longer.  I grab my Kindle and pick up a trashy novel that I am in the middle of to distract me.  Not working.  I hear my doctor outside the door….she came in and told me it was fine.  There is a density and we will watch it but no need to further investigate….see you in six months. I think I exhaled so loudly she laughed.  I asked her the same question I always ask her:  “Are you sure?”

“Yes, I am sure.”

I silently thank God; text my husband to come on down and meet me….I am all done.  And then I cried.  I think my heart rate went from 120 to 80 with that tearful release.  As I dressed, I looked around, once again, to see these women sitting in the waiting area with colorful scarves on their heads, wrapped in warm robes and waiting…waiting with the same look and feel I just had and I really felt guilty. I felt guilty that I was leaving there and they were enduring a much longer path.

Please ladies:  protect your house; save the tatas; guard second base; protect the girls or whatever phrase you use.  That 10 second squeeze is nothing compared to treating breast cancer.  Every time I leave there, I feel a little better, a little more blessed and I am reminded again that most things that make us crazy are really not that important.

So tomorrow for spin class, or Zumba or on my way to drop the kids at school:  I won’t sweat it if I get there and ‘my bike’ is taken; I won’t let the Zumba riff-raff get me down and that guy that cuts me off in the big Cadillac SUV every morning:  after you sir!

(But Kim, I still need that Clementine before class)

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  1. Sabrina Houser

    This was just what I needed Karen…a reminder of what is really important in life. I know that wait well, I know that exhale and that panic. I know the “are you sure” comment and I know that looking around a room can fill me with guilt and worry (is this what I am walking towards myself)? But, nothing in life matters as much as prioritizing what is important…like love and family. Heart you sweet friend.

    • Karen

      Thank you for the note and comments. Back at ya and so glad you’re in my life!


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