Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Belonging to No One

The start to school was fine.  It got me up and out of bed and off to work every day.  I still had this looming issue with the mammogram hanging over my head.  I went to see Dr. Passan in mid September.  He said that he should take it out which was fine with me.  My surgery was set for September 26th; it was outpatient at the Falls Church facility. 

He had me sign the consent forms in the office;  I sat down with the clipboard while he entered data on the computer scheduling me.  I looked at the form and saw emergency contact and lost it again.  I don’t belong to anyone!  Rick is dead.  Who do I put?  Who cares?  I started into a spiral; he looked at me and asked me what was going on.  “I don’t know who to put down.” I said through my sobs.  “Well, put anyone, a friend, a relative.  It doesn’t really matter,” he explained.  It matters to me; I used to belong to someone, now I don’t belong to anyone.

In the end, I put my sister in-law, Karen down as my contact and was hoping that she would be the one to take me.  It was done.  I was scheduled and had less than two weeks to wait.  I called Karen when I got home and she agreed to take me.  I called my niece, Stacy and asked if she would stay with me that night to take care of the boys.  I didn’t want them to know what was going on.  I told them the truth; I wasn’t feeling well and Stacy was going to spend the night.

My principal looked at me when I told him I would be off on the Friday of my surgery and said, “You are the last person on earth I ever thought would be in here telling me this.”  “I know but it could be nothing.  I just want to be safe rather than sorry,” I replied.

So Friday rolled around and Stacy came to get the boys off in the morning and I went with Karen to have this surgery.  The plan was a needle location procedure.  I had no idea what was coming, good thing.  I was called into the mammography room and set up in a stool.  I had never had a stool when I was getting a mammogram so this was new.  They did the first films vertically and horizontally and then I was asked to just sit still for a few minutes in the chair with my right breast in the machine. 

Well, a few minutes turned into 25 minutes.  She came back in and told me they had to do it again.  Okay…this went on for three hours while I sat in the chair attached to the machine.  The radiologist came in and introduced herself after a while and told me that they were having trouble locating the lesion.  This was déjà vu; they had said the same thing when I went for the needle core biopsy. Finally, Dr. Passan came into check on me and to give me the status.  I had been in the chair for close to four hours.  They finally figured out that there were two lesions and that was why they had difficulty locating them. On the films, it looked  as if there was one large lesion but they were superimposed on each other.

Another radiologist came back in and put a special side on the machine so that he could insert a large needle into the first location.  Yikes!  Painful!  Next, they squirted dye in the needle. They took another film and returned to put in a second needle, then the dye and then placed a wire into the hollow needle and removed the needle, leaving the wires hanging out of me.  They did the same to the other needle.  I was finally ready to go! 

They walked me to the surgical area; put me on a gurney and then Dr. Passan came in to speak to me.  He said, “Only you, Jane, would get two for the price of one!  I’ll do a good job and take care of you.  Hang in there.”  I was pushed down into the room and remember counting back and then nothing.

I could hear voices when I started to come around.  “The doctor said her husband just died of cancer a few months ago; she’s been through a lot.”  It was the nurses in the operating room.  I faded out again.  When I woke up, Karen was with me and they were giving me juice and preparing me for the trip home.

I climbed into bed with my painkillers beginning their work and slept most of the weekend.  I was very sore.  My neck and back were out of whack from being in that machine and on that stool for hours.  However, I was happy it was over. 

 Dr. Passan called on Monday to let me know that they were benign, but the cells showed atypical ductile hyperplasia.  He explained that this could be found in many women, some develop cancer, and others don’t.  It was not a causal relationship between this and getting cancer in the future.  He wanted to see me again after another mammogram in six months.

Thank you, God.  I need to be here for my boys.  I cannot leave them; it would be too much.  Thank you for your mercy.


  1. You must have been a nervous wreck. God sure likes to test you.

  2. You have been through so much. God bless you.