November 11th, 2013


The List

So I go in today at 2:25 for a doctor's exam.

I melted down a bit last night. Today I am sort of grimly cheerful. Kevin is going with me, because...well...if it's bad, it's better to have someone there.

My mother called to warn me that they will probably send me for a mammogram and there is no point in trying to divine the future from their every word or expression because they will scare the crap out of you largely by accident.

I made a list. Lists are good, right?

Best-Case Scenario: "It's a cyst. You're fine. Don't worry about it. Call if it gets painful."

Even Better Best-Case Scenario: "It's a cyst. It's a textbook example of a cyst. Cysts don't get any more cyst-like than this. Nurse! Come check out how totally non-cancerous this cyst is!"

Slightly Less Best But Still Pretty Good Case Scenario: "It's a cyst. We're gonna drain it. Say hello to Mr. Pointy!"

Likely Scenario: (Noncommittal noises.) "It's probably a cyst, but let's send you for a mammogram/ultrasound to be sure."

Bad Scenario 1: "Oh dear. Let's send you for a mammogram/ultrasound right this minute."

Really Bad Scenario 1: Bad Scenario 1 + "Your double mastectomy is scheduled for Thursday."

Bad Scenario 2: "You know, I have no idea what this is. Let's send you for a mammogram/ultrasound right this minute."

Really Bad Scenario 2: Bad Scenario 2 + "Spell your name for the medical text books."

Scenario I Am Half-Expecting: "What lump? I can't find a lump."

Scenario I Am Half-Expecting 2: "You know you've had that for the last five years, right? Did you not notice before?"

Given My Luck Scenario: "You've got boob-clams."

98.9 Benign

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a fibrocystic mass, which means that it’s almost certainly not cancer.

As in “I am ninety-eight…point nine…percent sure it’s not cancer. This mammogram is to cover my ass. Also so you don’t lie awake at night going “Oh god, what if she’s wrong?” (I love that my doctor will admit these things.)

It’s also so that they have a record of the size, because this sucker is BIG. The whole “grape” thing was overly optimistic. It is, in fact, the size of a golf-ball, which I have an easier time imagining as the equivalent of a large mouse curled up inside my right breast. (I don’t play golf. Mice, I know.)

Assuming it does not get ridiculously bigger and isn’t painful, no treatment is required. If it gets much bigger and/or painful, it would require surgery–this is a fibrous mass, not something one drains. “I mean, if you’re up two cup sizes on that side, then yeah, we can take it out. But if it doesn’t hurt, don’t worry about it.”

Perhaps most relief-inducing, the mammogram is for “Eh, whenever. Next few weeks? Get it out of the way. Whenever’s convenient.”

I almost didn’t GET that far, mind you, because I tried to explain about the boob-clams and that led me to lawn-crayfish and at that point she closed my chart, stared at me, and attempted to disbelieve.

I assured her that lawn-crayfish were a real thing. She left the room and I heard her through the door demanding to know if the nurses knew about lawn-crayfish.

I stuck my head out the door. “They won’t! Nobody does!”

She waved me back in. “I’m doing a scientific survey! Go put on the little paper gown!”

I put on the paper gown and pulled up pictures of lawn-crayfish. Then I had to show said pictures to a group of nurses who came into the room to demand to know what the hell was going on.

“Well, I believe you,” the doctor said. “But for a minute there I was afraid it was cancer and it had metastasized into your brain and now you were seeing lawn crayfish.”

“This is completely understandable.”

When she finished filling out the various forms, it occurred to me to ask if it would go away.

“It…might…” she said, in a tone indicating that it probably wouldn’t. “More likely it’ll shrink down to marble size and then get inflamed occasionally and swell up. Stress. Caffeine. You now have a mood-boob with your very own mood-nodule.”

“And I shouldn’t lie awake weeping and eating potato chips?”

“No. Also don’t call your family tearfully to say “We have to get together…sob…one…last…time…” You’ll be fine.”

I’ll take it.


Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.