Cancer Lesson #3: The Odds Are in Your Favor

Cancer Lesson #3: The odds are in your favor.

According to both my OB/GYN, and later my surgeon, there was an 80% chance that my lump would not be cancerous or even pre-cancerous.

Of course, I already knew that. I’m a librarian. Practically the first thing I did after finding my lump was to look up what it could be and what would happen next. The resources I read were pretty unanimous; I’d probably have a mammogram and/or ultrasound, possibly followed by a biopsy, so it was no surprise when my OB/GYN, Dr. K, advised that course of action.

The surprise came when I asked if I could have the tests done that day. My appointment was the first of the day — probably added to the daily rota after I called telling them about the lump — and consequently Dr. K’s secretary had not yet arrived. I was stunned when he commandeered her computer to schedule the mammogram and ultrasound for later that day.  I can’t imagine any of the doctors I’d had in the past making that effort.

Still, it appeared even Dr. K has limitations. He told me a surgeon had to order the biopsy, and he didn’t know how to use the software to set an appointment with the one he recommended. He left that task for his secretary.

Addendum: If you’re in a similar situation, you might want to check out WebMD’s information on what to expect after you find a lump in your breast. 

Advertisements

Cancer Lesson #2: You Should Probably Mention the Lump

Cancer Lesson #2: When you call for your appointment, you should probably mention the lump. 

I found my cancer during one of the nightly boob shifts mentioned in Cancer Lesson #1. Only half-awake, my hand touched on something that can only be described as a lump. I thought, “Hmm, I really do need to call for my appointment,” and promptly fell back asleep.

In the shower the next morning, I did a breast self-examination (BSE) and the lump was still there.

I hadn’t been dreaming.

Still, I didn’t mention what I’d found when I scheduled the appointment through the central booking desk that handles my doctor’s schedule. I kept hoping it was a blocked duct or something that would go away on its own.

The earliest appointment they could offer was three weeks away.

I took it, and spent the next twenty-four hours touching that side of my breast again and again, reconfirming my discovery. If you’d seen me, you’d have thought I was a sexual deviant with an obsession for feeling myself up.

Eventually, I realized I couldn’t make it through three weeks before talking to my doctor; I called the central desk again.

“I made an appointment for my yearly exam,” I told them, “and I probably should have mentioned that I found a lump.”

No more central booking. I was connected straight to Dr. K’s nurse who offered me an appointment the following day.