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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07


If you read yesterday’s post, you may have thought I was kinda down in the dumps. You’d have thought right. Andrea took me to dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant and I ordered a tamale, stating, “You know – if a tamale didn’t take me out earlier this year, I’ll be damned if this boob’s gonna do me in.”

I did not sleep well last night and had to get up early to make it into Boston for 730 AM. First stop was the breast MRI that I’d signed on for as part of the study. My veins did not cooperate again this week but it took 2 sticks instead of 4. Although that was an improvement, it did slow the process down. The MRI technician helped me climb up onto the MRI, face and stomach facing down, “Like a boogie board!” I exclaimed. “That’s a new one – I’ve never heard anyone say that.” The MRI tech replied, asking what exactly boogie boarding was. I felt a little bad for her - - that she’d clearly never experienced the joy of boogie boarding and I felt a little bad for myself because I’d rather have been boogie boarding. I imagined this would be nothing of the like and I was right, for one, you put your arms straight out in front of you, over your head as if you are superwoman. Not an ideal pose for boogie boarding – you’d lose the board!

I’d heard of breast MRI’s and frankly pictured my boobs dangling out of the “board” as if I were a cow ready for milking. This mental image really makes no sense when you stop to consider they need to slide you into the machine and if your boobs were dangling down they’d really get smooshed. So – if you ever imagined a breast MRI this way, let me assure you that your boobs are contained. I had an MRI on my head years ago following a trip to an ER after being hit in the head by 2 solid, wooden chairs in rapid succession. The chairs had fallen from a precarious perch atop a tower of totes that held Christmas décor. This stunt gave me a concussion and a trip to the ER with a doctor who quite possibly had the worlds worst bedside manner, telling me, “You have a concussion. No bleeding. The CT scan showed something – not sure what. You’ll need an MRI for that. Good night.” So I DID have an MRI for that and there wasn’t a single thing wrong in my noggin. When I had that MRI, I was on my back so you’re acutely aware of why people freak the fuck out if they’re claustrophobic, which I, thankfully, am not. While face down, you’re not aware that you’re in a narrow cylinder. MRI’s are not the fastest process – I probably hung out in there, in my super woman pose, for 45 minutes. Also? They’re loud – so loud that you are given small, foam ear plugs that muffles but doesn’t block out the noise. I focused on my breathing and counted the beat of the clangs and imagined it were some industrial techno music. Finally, I was slid out as if a tray in an oven, and eventually delivered to the breast care center for my biopsies.

The first biopsy was an ultrasound guided needle biopsy that took samples from 2 different areas (“distortions” on my mammograms). I was to have a lull between the 2 biopsies and was fully prepared for this by bringing Stephen King’s latest novel along. However, a patient did not show up so I was able to have the 2nd biopsy earlier than anticipated. This was a biopsy of a 3rd area and was a Stereotactic (Mammographically Guided) Breast Biopsy performed with me in a seated position. As if pulling tissue out of one’s breast isn’t fun enough, you get the added benefit of having your breast crushed at the same time. The one doctor positioned herself to my right side, where I was forced to look, and talked to distract me. As if it would slip my mind that my breast was being flattened like a piece of flank steak. Once that procedure concluded, the resident was tasked with applying pressure to either side of my breast to avoid bruising. He cheerfully made small talk as if it wasn’t at all unusual that he’d be holding my breast upon the two of us meeting. I learned he was originally from Puerto Rico and I tried to channel my friend Raymond (also Puerto Rican) but it didn’t work because Raymond’s funny and although this guy may be funny, I’m sure he was trying to be professional. Blah blah. In short, I’d rather Raymond hold my breast for 5 minutes because we know one another. I told Raymond this in what quite possibly may be the most awkward compliment ever. Fortunately, Raymond took this in the spirit it was intended and even went so far as to volunteer to accompany me in the future as my “personal boob squisher.” Raymond said, “You can be like, ‘No thanks. I brought my own. I already have a Puerto Rican handy. Thank youuuuuuu.” I think this is a great idea. After all, 9 people saw/handled my breast today. What’s one more?

I was finally heading out and my phone rang – it was Beth Israel calling. It was the principal investigator of the study I’m participating in, calling to introduce herself and to apologize that we hadn’t met earlier. I replied, “I’m still here!”

“You are? Where are you?’ She asked.

“I just walked out of the breast center – 4th floor.” I replied.

“Stay there – I’ll meet you in the hall.” She replied and did so in less than a minute. She assured me she didn’t have bad news before bringing me into a consultation room. I sat down and she reiterated why she was pursuing this study before telling me that she saw, “Nothing of concern.” in my MRI. She was very confident of this and I hope to have the biopsy results to back this up soon. Until then, I feel I can breathe a little easier.

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