Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Stop the Presses: I Don't Have Cancer
Statistically, this happens to almost everybody and also statistically it's 85% likely to be nothing and yadda, yadda, yadda - five days of intensive googling will tell you all this and yet I was still scared shitless. I also didn't want to tell anybody because, jesus, after the year I've had, I figured that if my luck was holding, I almost certainly had breast cancer, or, hey, given my luck, alien babies spawning in my chest or something. Therefore, talking about it would just cause too much trauma to my friends and readers, like, oh god, here comes that woman with the dark raining cloud over her head again, quick, cross the street before she sees us, she's just a walking avatar of darkness, misery and all the ills that flesh is heir to. I mean it's like the ambulance arriving two weeks after we moved in: straight and immediate highway to the side of the Doomed, Desperate and Depressing. Plus, I didn't want to jinx anything. So I held my tongue.
But I thought about it, oh yes I did. It kept cropping up in the middle of the night, funnily enough. And finally I told my friend D, who is a breast cancer survivor and my daughter because I thought to myself that if my mother hadn't told me something like that I would have been furious and my brother in case I found out I was about to die in which case he would have to take over the QOB. They were all reassuring, particularly D, who asked a lot of intelligent questions and then told me I would probably be fine and also told me what the next steps would be and stuff like that.
Today I went in and they gave me a second mammogram. Now, for those of you who've never had a mammogram, this is what happens. You go in and take off all your clothes from the waist up and put on a rather attractive fuchsia wrap top half gown kind of thing and then, clutching all your clothes and your coat and purse and whatever, you sit in a waiting room with a lot of other ladies in matching fuchsia tops. They call you in to a small room where there is a large machine with a flat metal plate sticking out from it and then you take off your top and the nice attendant gets you to step right up to the plate and she adjusts it so it's right under your boob (they do one at a time.) I make their lives difficult because I'm so tall and they have to crank the plate up extra high and then they have to reach to grab my boob and scrunch it around until it's in the right place. Then they lower a plexiglass plate (the whole thing is kind of like a dried flower press) onto your boob until it is, basically, flat, or as flat as it can be. Then they take an X-ray type picture and then you step back and they turn the metal plate 90 degrees and do the same thing, only this time your boob gets smooshed sideways instead of flat, which makes it look really interesting and, if you are me, you will be surprised at how much boob you actually have since you have never thought of yourself as having much at all in the way of breastage.
When they called me they said I'd have to have a sonogram kind of thing but instead they gave me a second mammogram which was exactly like the first one except with a much more reassuring lady who kept telling me how common it was to be called back and not to worry and stuff. That was nice but pointless because by the time 2:30 rolled around this afternoon I had basically resigned myself to death and/or paying off giant medical bills for the rest of my life, whichever is worse. I had moved on to wondering how the kids would divide up my meager estate but as it turned out, there is nothing wrong with my breasts. Hear that, potential and past suitors? Nothing wrong. Apparently it's just one of those aging things, whereby the dense tissue in your tits turns over the years to fatty tissue. I have seen this process at work all over my body, god knows, so it's hardly surprising that it's happening in my cleavage as well.
And I am so relieved, so unbelievably relieved that I feel actually physically a bit lighter. I guess I'm not quite ready to shuffle off this mortal coil after all.