Friday, November 28, 2008


I was ten minutes late for my stereotactic biopsy on my left breast.

An adorable young woman named Alec whisked me to the counter to take a copy of my insurance card. To take my pre-filled papers and a form. The form was called the "Gray Form" and it was indeed gray. I smiled when I filled it out thinking that someone had a sense of humor and that perhaps forms should be given either appropriate color names or appropriate absurd names. You know the kind that question form and if you bought red car you could always use "the red car form." Back to the Breast Business.

I was then hurriedly turned over to another sweet lady called Susan. After all I was ten minutes late! (All these people moved so quickly, they were obviously afraid of a BIG BREAST BACK- UP. You know how disconcerting these can be on a Tuesday.) Susan took me down the hall to watch a breast video.

"Have you seen this yet?” she asked.

"Was it on prime time? If it wasn't I haven't seen it."

She smiled pleasantly, put in the video and left.

The video began and as it was explaining how the procedure would take place, I'm thinking,’” god, this is "gutty" ---good thing I'm not too squeamish." Periodically, someone was sticking their head in the door and asking me if I was done watching the film--- I said "no" and in a few minutes they asked again. Again I said "no".

Finally, a, nurse came in and looked upset as she said,"Oh no, that is not the film you should be watching. That is a training film. You were suppose to be watching a little 4 minute film that was going to tell you that everything was going to be alright!"

She put in a new video.

Well, I got a minute and a half into the "okey-dokey" film and they swept me into the surgery room. Probably figured I had seen enough and that I should be taken somewhere before I took my breast and ran.

There was a small step stool leading to the breast table in the sky. I climbed up as I was instructed and placed my left breast in the allotted breast hole.

The nurses and the doctor were very kind. They put forth great effort to make me comfortable.

My mind kept wandering back to the facts of life. They were going to clamp my breast in a mammogram vise, take more pictures of the suspect tumor and then launch a needle the size of a cocktail straw into the tumor. Yeah, right. How could anything like that possibly hurt?

I was prepared. After all, I had seen "the film."

The nurse was comforting. "You are doing great". (Of course, my breast was in a vise and I was strapped to table with a Velcro belt. Where does" great " enter in?)

Doctor spoke softly, "You will feel something like a bee sting and then a little pressure as we do the procedure." (Hey, I saw "the film”, don’t kid me.)

Then it happened. I looked at that computer. He had launched the cocktail straw and I hadn't felt anything. Good job!

The nurses rolled me over to my back, applied a band- aid to the teeny-little hole. They helped me down from the table. I got dressed; they stuck a little ice pack in my bra and sent me on my way. I took only one Advil in 24 hrs. The pain was minor.

The next day I was back. My results were that my lesion was benign. What more could I ask?

Well, you know when a bunch of us old women are sitting around talking about our aches and pains you can just bet I'm going to take my turn and say,

” Did you ever have a needle the size of a cocktail straw launched in to your breast?"
It won't shut them up, but it might slow them down!

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