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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dodging a Bullet

I got home from New York to find a letter and five phone messages letting me know that my mammogram screening showed a problem and I needed to schedule further testing right away, which I did not do. I arrived home on a Friday night and left at three the following morning for Utah, where I spend the next four days. Monday morning I called to make my appointment. This is what was said:

Me: I received a notice that I need to schedule more tests following my mammogram.

Hospital Person: Name, please.

Me: Samantha Stevens

(pause for about 10 seconds, which is a very, very long time during a phone conversation)

Hospital Person: How soon can you come in this morning?

Me: Actually, I can't. I'm out of town and won't be back until tomorrow night. May I schedule it on Wednesday?

Hospital Person: Could you possibly come home a day early? We could schedule you tomorrow.

Me: No. How about Wednesday?

(pause for about 10 seconds, which is a very, very long time during a phone conversation)

Hospital Person: Well, we got your test results more than two weeks ago and we'd really like to get you in as soon as possible, but if you won't be back until Wednesday, we'll go ahead and schedule on that day.

Me: Thanks.

Hospital Person: How early can you come in Wednesday morning? 

Me: I have a dental appointment at 8:30. I could come in before or after that.

Hospital Person: Hmmm... probably we'll have you do both. There are a couple of tests to run, so you can do one at 7 (is that too early?) and one at 10:00.

Me: No, that's not too early. I'll see you then.

It was sort of a stressful conversation.

I arrived bright and early at the hospital on Wednesday morning. The check-in person was waiting for me (apparently you have to have a hospital bracelet and all sorts of stickers and paperwork when you go back in for tests after a mammogram). She got my signature a million times, then took me to radiology where they were also waiting for me. I was ushered through a packed waiting room (Yes, people really get up that early to go to radiology for tests. I was a little shocked.), directly to the nurse who escorted me here and there and I was poked and prodded and squished for an hour, at which point I left for the dentist.

I arrived at my dental appointment where I was supposed to have a lost filling replaced. The receptionist welcomed me, then said, "Your appointment is at 10:30." I looked at my phone which told me my appointment was at 8:30. Then I said, "I like to be early." She laughed and asked if I wanted to wait at home. I explained that I was due back at the hospital at 10:00 for more tests following my mammogram. She said she'd see if they could fit me in. They could. I left 40 minutes later with a new filling.

I arrived at the hospital with my bracelet still intact, and was directed back to radiology where I was once again poked, prodded, and squished, then told to wait. My results from all tests were back in 20 minutes, along with a clean bill of health and the following explanation: Because my mother is a breast cancer survivor, any possible abnormalities--any change in the tissue, regardless of how small--will require further tests to rule out cancer. This year they found a tiny spot that seemed slightly larger than it was last year, which triggered the need for more tests.

So I'm fine. But I'm also kind of tired of medical drama in my life. Actually, I'm kind of tired of everything right now. I socialized nonstop for more than 2 weeks--and it was lovely. I saw people I've not seen for eight years and met young cousins who were born during my absence. I spend time with people I love in Utah. I overcame jet lag and lack of sleep. But I'm still tired. Life feels sort of grueling. Probably the medical stress and dental visit didn't help.

Darrin asked me what I need, but I'm not sure. There is a decided lack of interest in people and work and, well, everything. He thought I would be more stressed about the problematic mammogram and follow-up tests, and is concerned that I didn't really care. I sort of don't care that he's worried, either.

Sigh. I'm guessing everyone goes through this at times and it will pass. Darrin thinks my visit with Jeff triggered this. He says when I spend time with my cousin, I usually come home feeling this way. Darrin believes it's linked to the fact that Jeff and I lost so much due to our abusive cousin and it's overwhelming to me. That could be true. I just know that the thought of talking to people, spending time with anyone, just makes me tired and I don't want to. Also, I don't have cancer.

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