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Breast Cancer Test
Wait equals nightmare.
On Tuesday, July 8, 2014, I took my yearly mammogram then I went home and waited. On my phone two days later was a call from the doctor’s office but there was no message. I called back and left a message and the next day the nurse called but again she left no message. The next Monday the nursed called again and I answered to hear her say that I had an appointment for Tuesday, July 15, to retake the mammogram because the test showed a spot. I waited for one week to pass.
My mother died of breast cancer. I cared for her during her illness and watched her rapidly decline. My mother was given a round of chemotherapy, which she sat for hours through. After one treatment ended we waited and hoped that there would be no more. But there was. She wanted to live and I tried to help her. At home she was on the second floor and eventually in a wheel chair. And we had to pull and lift her up and down the stairs to go to treatments. Then her movement in and out of the house stopped, and she was restricted to her bedroom.
In the beginning, she could go to the bathroom and dress herself for the day. Then that changed to her sitting on the side of bed and with a pan of water, wash up and walk a number of feet to the nearby pot. Then I had to help her bath and lift her onto the pot that was next to her bed. Finally, the only thing to do was to wait.
Since she could neither eat nor drink, she wasted away to skin and bones. I never cried so much in my life. When I realized that this was final, I cried and waited to cry again.
I would sit in the room and the only sound was her breathing. In time her breath was not as strong and it got so faint until I could barely hear it. One day she exhaled for the last time and then I became aware of my breathing.
Alone, on Tuesday, I sit and wait. The time between the second test and the results is very stressful. I shared the waiting room with two women there to take their mammograms. One woman has been cancer free for years and the other woman has to be tested every six months. A slight fear enveloped me as I waited, because depending on the results, I may be joining the two women in the discussion of survival.
To know her fate, a woman should not have to wait. The first test that I took should have been read while I was there. And if there was a shadow of a doubt then I could take the second test while I was there. This will shorten the experience and eliminate the stress of it all.
There was a happy ending; my result from the second test was negative. My heart goes out to the next woman that has to wait.