Wednesday 18 October 2017

First Time at the Breast Clinic

A few days later I received a call from the breast clinic and the date was booked. 17th October 7.00pm.

When the confirmation letter arrived it said that I could be at the hospital for a number of hours. They try to work on a 'one stop shop' basis where you see a consultant and have all necessary diagnostic tests in one go - a mammogram, an ultrasound and any biopsies.

I was so nervous heading in to the hospital. It was relatively quiet, probably due to the evening appointment time, but at 35 I was the youngest patient in there.

Eventually I was called into meet the specialist, I was relieved that it was a woman. Id been thinking about whether it would be quite a lot, I guess deep down I was thinking that a woman would understand the importance of femininity, what it meant to be a woman and just, well, know... you know? There was a nurse there too.

I sat down with my husband and explained my symptoms to her... the lump...the blood. I was then asked to remove all of my top half clothing and pop a gown on behind the curtain. The specialist examined the right 'good' breast first before moving on to the left. There was some dried blood on my nipple - evidence of something untoward. She tweeked my nipple to see if more came out - it did. The nurse passed over what looked like a clear glass slide - you know the type you would put stuff on at school before investigating under the microscope. It was put on top of my nipple and the dark brown blood smeared across it to be sent for testing. She feels the lump that I had felt and marks me with an 'X' with her black marker pen.

I keep the gown on, my clothes in a hospital plastic bag and I'm told to go and wait in a separate 'female only' waiting room. Apparently I am only having an ultrasound, a mammogram is not necessary. Chris is left in his own. I sit down and stare at the TV in the waiting area. There is another woman there - we do not speak. It's almost as if we are gripped by fear and our voices gone. We smile but there are no words.

She's called first. I'm alone.

I get up to get a cup of water but the ties on my gown have somehow been caught on the arm of my chair. In some kind of slapstick comedy moment, my gown unties as I stand and I expose my whole top half. Thank god there is no one else here! I laugh to myself and that puts me at ease.

20 minutes later the door of the ultrasound room opens and I know I'm next. My heart rate starts to build again as I wait for my name to be called.

"Leanne Nash"

I carefully stand, ensuring there is no gown/chair entrapment and walk through.

The room is dark, its divided by another curtain that blocks the door. I'm asked to remove the gown and lay down on the bed. The gel is squirted on to my breast, the screen turned out of eye shot and the scan begins. It's tense and I try to scan the radiologists face, eye movements, anything for clues. She tells me she can see something but it's likely just to be a harmless cyst. She want's to do an FNA (fine needle aspiration). This is where the radiologist uses a fine needle and syringe to take a sample of cells to be analysed under a microscope. I knew what this was and what to expect as my Dad had been through this during his diagnosis.

I'm wiped with a sterile wipe and using the scanner, the sonographer guides the needles in to the suspicious areas. As she inserts the needle in to my duct, the blood is released out in to her needle. She decides to drain as much of it as she can. I have no clues as to whether anything is spotted but it is over.

It hurts a little and my breast is really tender. I am told to get dressed again and go back to the original waiting area to see the specialist again.

We are asked back in. The specialist tells me she is convinced that my symptoms are being caused by an intraductal papilloma. They will send everything off and I'll be sent a further appointment to come back in for my results.

The car ride home was horrible. You don't realise how uneven and bumpy the roads are and how bad your suspension is until you are in pain.

Now I just need to wait. And hope.

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