I landed back in SFO Thursday afternoon, immediately unpacked, and squeezed Billiam as much as I could before getting a full night’s sleep. Rather miraculously, I woke up the next day and headed back to Alta Bates for Mayka’s First Biopsy! Twas a fun less-than-24 hours.
It is mistaken to think that just because you don’t know any women who had or have breast cancer, none of the women in your life have ever had an ultrasound, biopsy, or mammogram of their breasts. I walked into mine very blindly. I didn’t bother to read the pamphlets they had given me, probably because I was dead set on distracting myself with Hong Kong and “not worrying.” In the waiting room, I read Free Food for Millionaires (At first I wanted to hate it. But now I can’t put it down! More on this later.) even though all my breast health literature was right there in my purse.
So as the technician and the doctor explained every step they took, I tried to wear my best poker face like I knew what was going on. For my voluntary ignorance, I was caught off guard by how much the iodine solution looked like zombie makeup against my skin, and I was feening hard for a bit to chomp on to deal with the anesthetic burn going through my flesh.
When you get a biopsy done, you have the option to watch everything. The blade, the incision, the cotton gauze, the ultrasound monitor – It’s all out on the table. It was quite a trip to see My Little Peapod pop up in black and white as the doctor pushed the sampling needle into my chest. I could easily imagine how pushing the tube-encased needle into human flesh must feel a lot like working a turkey thermometer deep into a slab of raw steak. My eyes were glued to the monitor as I felt the oscillating needle and I thought, “Doode, that’s my chest.” Bizarre.
Thankfully, my Breast Imaging Specialist steadied my shoulder with her hand at just the right moment. It was just weird to feel so detached from my own appendage (Is the breast an appendage? ::shrug::) at that moment. A part of me wanted to scram.
The doctor inserted a titanium clip (And it won’t trip airport security metal detectors! Zing!) to mark where the sample was taken from and sent me off to get Mayka’s First Mammogram. The doctor had just left and my specialist had turned around to fetch me more bandages when she said, somewhat alarmed, “Oh, I think you’re already bruising…”
“Yup,” I told her. “I bruise really easily.” It’s true. “Hematoma” is my middle name. (On Thursday I was attacked by suitcases at baggage claim, causing a big ol’ hematoma on my left knee. More on that later, still.)
Being 26 and of small chest, I never expected my “near future” to feature a mammogram. Again with the voluntary ignorance, I never researched to realize that mammograms involved more than implied by your standard FREE MAMMOGRAMS Halloween costume.
Conclusion? Mammograms HURT! When the mammogram specialist saw me, her eyes went wide and she said, “Oh, please don’t tell me that’s posterior…” Hi, I have generally forgotten the things I learned in AP Bio, so it took me a while to understand what she was asking.
Answer? The clip turned out to be somewhat posterior, meaning she kept having to push me into the mammogram machine so that she could appropriately squish my barely there, barely squishable boob in prime position for the camera. I don’t know how girls any smaller than me do it. I felt more pain getting this freakin’ picture taken than I did when my breast was being invaded by a thick oscillating needle. “Don’t move!” she said, as if I could. Had there been a fire, I would have had to rip apart from half of my chest and waved ta-ta to my tat in order to evacuate the building. She let me take a look at the image after it was done, and swear to the stars I had never seen my breast look so big. Later on, they sent me home with more ice packs that have brought me as close to the feeling of having B-cups as I will ever know.
My new thing is the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center followed up with a Bake Sale Betty’s fried chicken sandwich chaser, though I’m fairly certain I won’t have to go back. Both the doctor and the technician that day assured me that it’s most likely a fibroadenoma.
Come Wednesday, we’ll see.