Wednesday, October 24, 2012

False Alarm

I said in a previous post I'd been at the hospital recently. Here’s what happened.

In August I went for my annual physical. I'm told to go for a mammogram. I show the doctor a lump I found. She didn’t seem concerned. Probably a cyst, she said. I go for the mammogram. I show the tech the lump. She doesn’t seem concerned either but says she’ll take a good picture of it for the doctors to look at. I leave feeling like I’ve done my duty. Annual exam is over.
I leave for a trip to Minnesota for my brother’s marathon (more on that in an upcoming post). While there I get a call. I need further testing. Oh boy. I felt queasy. Scared. This sounds urgent.
I have another mammogram and an ultrasound. Afterwards I talk to a doctor. She’s worried about the lump. Neither test showed what it's made of; she thinks we should do a biopsy and find out. Yikes!
Two weeks later I’m back for a biopsy. This is nerve wracking. I’ve made it this far in life with no cancer scares. There’s no history of it in my immediate family. Haven’t found any lumps before. I’m worried.  This is so not a place I ever saw myself in. But I pull up my big girl pants and steel myself for whatever comes.
The staff goes over the procedure with me. They do another ultrasound. The doctor reviews it and preps for the biopsy. She studies the screen again. Does another test. Finally, she turns to me and says, “I don’t believe we need to do a biopsy. No needles for you today.” Huh? What? I’m not sure I’m hearing her right. "This is a cyst. Nothing to worry about. If it doesn’t go away or it becomes painful, a surgeon can remove it for you.”
Whoa! A gamut of emotions rushes thru my head. Relief, it’s not cancer. Anger, because this was a waste of time over nothing. Frustration, because no one could agree if it was a serious matter or not. One doctor's concerned, another isn't. And there I was laying on a table, holding my emotions in check, prepped for biopsy, and I’m told “never mind”. Argh!
Has this ever happened to you? How did you feel? Am I right to feel so conflicted?
Hubby was relieved when I told him it was nothing to worry about. I should have been, too. But I felt deflated. This whole process threw me for a loop. Wow! I don’t know if emotionally I can handle anymore craziness. First dealing with a hysterectomy. Then losing my job. And now thinking I might have breast cancer and die? Can’t wait for my head to stop spinning from this latest life episode. Don’t think I can handle another scenario like this.


  1. Been through this myself a few times and it is very nerve wracking. The waiting and when you see the look of concern on the doctor 's face when they tell you that you need to go for an ultrasound or another mammogram. So many emotions wash over you- scared, confusion, sadness.

  2. I didn't know you've been thru this Helen. Glad to know I'm not alone. Lord knows I don't want cancer but why was I so upset when it turned out to be nothing but a cyst? So confusing.

  3. You had put in all the time and energy to prepare yourself for the possibility of the worst, Kate. You were ready for the biopsy and the results. You were ready for discomfort and possibly pain as well. If they had done the biopsy and told you the results were that it was just a cyst and nothing to worry about, I bet you would have felt relief. Instead, you were ready and then nothing happened. It was less than anticlimactic. All that preparation, all that worry, and nothing to do with it...I can understand your being upset...

  4. thanks for letting me know I'm not crazy! i'm feeling better about it all today. now i feel like i dodge a big bullet.


Would love to get your feedback! Please comment below!