Friday, September 28, 2012

Down but not Out

2010 was a rough year for me, medically speaking.  In January I had a mammogram that was concerning, so I had to go to Providence Hospital for a secondary mammogram. When they called to tell me the news, there was a sense of urgency to get in as quickly as possible. They scheduled a two hour appt for more X-rays and possible ultrasound. It seemed to me that the positioning for the X-rays was more intense and took longer than the first round. The tech was outstanding, but it was still more uncomfortable than usual. I then went into a waiting room, still in my gown, to wait for the next step: ultrasound or go home. When the tech came in to tell me the results, I was calm till she said it all looked good and then I cried. I guess I didn't realize how tense I was waiting to hear. 

Also in January, I began my journey with Waldenstrom's at the office of my PCP, resulting in a diagnosis on March 31. Thyroid cancer was diagnosed in October 2010 with surgery in December. In between those dates, I received a letter from my gynecologist that my PAP was abnormal and I needed a cervical biopsy. 

My lovely friend and neighbor drove me to the office for the biopsy. I'd had an endometrial biopsy years ago and I remembered that the doctor I had at the time had ordered something to relax me before hand and some pain medication for afterwards. I had taken something for the expected pain just before I went in, so my friend was there to drive. In the exam room they took my history and asked about my last period. I was in perimenopause and hadn't had a period in about 9 months-until I went in for my thyroidectomy

The nurse discussed that with the doctor and I was told were were adding an endometrial biopsy to the already scheduled cervical biopsy. I remembered how unpleasant the previous one had been-even though I was a bit sedated that time. I mentioned that to my doctor, a great lady about my age, and she was amazed. She said she had endometrial biopsies without anything and it was fine. I said, "you are tougher than I am. In fact, pretty much everyone is tougher than I am." She said I'd be fine. I hate to sound arrogant, but I was right and she was wrong.

I managed to get through without making a scene, mostly. It was about like I remembered and I was glad I had taken something for the pain before coming in. I made it out to the car, but I was surely grateful for the kindness of my friend driving me home. I went to bed, slept for two hours, got up and felt okay.

In 2010 I had a unique opportunity to see why they call what doctors do "practice" because I was starting to feel like a punching bag clown. It seemed like every time I bounced back, there was another biopsy to do. However much I complain, though, I am glad my doctors are thorough and I'd be in a mess if the cancers I have had not been found. 

Scripture reference: Corinthians 4:8-9

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