Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Tornado - The Gift That Keeps On Giving

"Atypical cells" was the verdict of a cyst aspiration in November 2010, and I was sent to see an oncology surgeon. Actually, I didn't know he was an ONCOLOGY surgeon until I went to his office for the first visit and saw it outside his door. And they wondered why my blood pressure was high when I got inside....

The surgeon wanted to remove the area surgically, so he sent me for an MRI (my first). Let me say that two Valium and headphones playing 70s music was not enough to drown out the sound of the jackhammers inside the MRI machine. I felt like Fred Flintstone was carving images on a slate the entire time I was in there. But that's not the best part. The BEST part is that I had to lie face down with my titties hanging down through a hole in the table. God's truth. Dignity? Pshhhhh.

The MRI revealed that the cyst with the atypical cells had collapsed after the needle aspiration and was no longer an issue. But the MRI indicated a place on the right side that looked suspicious, so back to the breast center for a needle biopsy, then an MRI-guided biopsy, which an entire BOTTLE of Valium would not have made tolerable (and made even worse because they wouldn't let me have headphones this time). Pathology report said the place on the right was, thankfully, benign.

It was at this time that the oncology surgeon and I discussed the possibility of prophylactic double mastectomy. I was tired of the pain and the endless worry that a lump would be cancerous rather than a benign cyst. He was ready to plead my case to the insurance company as soon as I was ready. I was to follow up with him in June or July of 2011.

And then, May 22, the tornado hit Joplin. Our home was not hit, but the hospital was, as was the office of every doctor I had ever seen in Joplin. My surgeon's home was destroyed, his office was destroyed, the hospital where he worked was destroyed, and he left town. I no longer had a surgeon. I no longer had medical records for the endless procedures I had already endured. I no longer had the heart to pursue any of it when our town and our lives were in such shambles from the tornado. My follow up went on a back burner....

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