"I got to thinking one day about all those women on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to 'cut back.' From then on, I've tried to be a little more flexible."
(Erma Bombeck)

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The biopsy

The day of my biopsy arrived. I had spent the previous three nights having nightmares about it. Three days before, I had been shown the exam table and room where the biopsy would be performed and I'd read about it on the Internet. I comforted myself with prayer. I was as scared as I've ever been. My husband accompanied me to the appointment, of course. Knowing that he would be in the waiting room praying for me while the biopsy was done was very comforting to me.

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Getting serious with ultrasound

I headed back to the Breast Care Center on July 7th for a second, more thorough set of mammogram tests. Even then, I still didn't have a sense of fear. Maybe it's because I've had so many that have been routine, it just didn't register that this one might not be the same. After the mammogram was finished, I was told that the radiologist wanted to do an ultrasound for a better look. However, no openings were available until later in the afternoon. I was asked to come back at the end of the day, which I did. As the technician began the ultrasound, I turned my head and watched the screen. I saw her isolate a dark spot and set her tools for measuring its width. I knew this was the area in question. It was definitely very visible in the ultrasound.

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Don't bother me, I'm busy

On July 3rd, our community had a huge fireworks show over Big Lake. To celebrate the occasion, our daughter usually invited some of her friends over to hang out, eat, and watch the fireworks.

I had a list of errands to run, the most important being a trip to the grocery store. I had already learned my lesson from previous experience: "Never get caught with an unstocked refrigerator and/or pantry when TEEN BOYS come to call."

The phone rang and I answered. Someone from the Breast Care Center was on the other end, saying that "something" showed up on my mammogram and could I please come back for a second set of pictures? An offer was made to set up an appointment that day.

Ever the dutiful mom (hehe), I knew I wouldn't be able to run my errands AND get another mammogram done in the same afternoon, so I said that another day would be better (still, I had no sense of urgency). So we scheduled the appointment for the following Monday.


Just another mammogram . . .

I had a regular, screening mammogram on or about June 30th. No indication was made during the exam that anything appeared unusual. I wasn't expecting anything unusual, but was again relieved that the breast pain I'd had earlier was really nothing.


Being responsible

I visited my nurse practitioner on June 4th for my annual gynecological exam. I mentioned to her that I'd had some breast pain and wondered about it. She checked the breast for any lumps and couldn't find any, so she referred me for a regular, screening mammogram. Since I felt relieved that no lumps were found, I didn't make the appointment for the mammogram until a couple of weeks later.


A nagging pain

My saga with breast cancer began about this time. I began feeling a kind of "achy" pain in my right breast. It seemed to be far down inside and was different than the type of glandular, premenstrual pain I'd experienced before.

The pain was most noticeable at night and in the morning, but I also noticed it occasionally during the day at work. I remember wondering if it could be breast cancer. The thought was too much to consider, so I repressed it and chalked it up to premenopausal symptoms.

However, it was nagging me enough to check out "breast pain+premenopausal" on the Internet. I was fairly assured when I read that oftentimes, premenopausal women experience breast pain for unexplained reasons. After about a week and a half, my period started and the pain seemed to subside.

I decided it was hormonal, but made a mental note that I should make an appointment with my nurse practitioner since I was already overdue for my pap and mammogram tests. I gave myself the "be responsible and mature about this" self-talk (what I really wanted to do was go into denial and forget about it). A couple of weeks passed before I made the appointment.

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