Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pictures in My Mind

June 17
I am expending so much energy on speaking to the negative thoughts and fear running in my brain. It feels like a recording tape set on continuous play. Why can’t I be like Vic? His philosophy is no need to get worked up until they tell you bad news. But I do the “what ifs”. I want to be prepared! In truth, it probably is that I want to be in control.

For these “few more pictures”, they squeezed the mammogram machine even tighter. Like tightening the lug nuts on a tire! Breathe, breathe, it’s only for a few seconds; you can do this.

From the mammo room, I was directed to the ultrasound room . . . . and lost it emotionally.

A few weeks ago, Vic (hubby) woke me up at midnight telling me he thought he needed to go to the hospital. His heart woke him up with hard palpitations and he had a terrible headache. Can you imagine being woke up from sleep by your heart beating too fast? I don’t think in the 19 years I’ve known Vic that he has ever had a headache!

We didn't go to the hospital as he didn't have "heart attack" symptoms. He kept having long bouts of hard palpitations and headaches for a few days and finally went to his internist. Doctor sent him to the hospital for some cardiac testing which came back okay. The blood work came back, though, and it was wacky. One of the things they were looking for is normally 0 to .89 in our bodies. . .that’s point 89. Vic's came back at close to 6.0!

He had an MRI and it was confirmed that he has a pheochromocytoma on his left adrenal gland. It is "contained" and doesn't appear to have spread. They won't know 100% until it is removed if the tumor is malignant.

From here on in this blog, anything to do with Vic’s story will be in italics.

Given this with Vic, my stress level has been elevated. Plus, my youngest daughter (31) is scheduled for back surgery in a few weeks, which raises the stress level even higher. Yes, I don’t always see the glass half-full. Needless to say, with the “few more pictures”, the level of stress is topping off the charts.

I didn’t want to look at the ultrasound screen; I didn’t want to see this spot that was on the mammogram. Towards the end of the ultrasound, I peeked at the screen and radiologist’s face. He was looking at his assistant and I saw him shake his head as he removed the transducer. The results are "indeterminable. We can’t say if it is or isn't malignant. The next step is a core needle biopsy and we can do that in our office. This lump could not be felt and could only be found with the mammogram.”

Needles? Wait doc, I’m needle phobic. Like, as in, I can pass out in your waiting room just thinking about what you will do to me with that “core needle”. Core needle? My brain remembers the tv show where a huge boring machine was used to core through rock. This kind of core needle?

I read the instruction sheet about what to expect with a core needle biopsy when I got home. The sheet indicates I will have to lie still for 45 minutes. I probably don’t lie still when I’m under complete anesthesia! It goes on to say that I will be injected with lidocaine and a hollow needle will be inserted into the tumor, guided by the ultrasound machine. Injected = needle, hollow needle = bigger needle. Then the best part. . . . you will hear the click of the biopsy equipment and may feel a little pressure and a snapping sensation. I lost it.

I am crying and wanting to hit or smash something. I am so mad that I have to go through this. I am so afraid, but at this point, not of cancer but of the biopsy.


  1. I ran out rather than have the core biopsy.
    I am going to try to do it again, but don't know how/...they need to put me out....does anybody know how I can do this core biopsy...PLEASE

  2. Annette,

    The biopsy truly was not that painful! It was mostly in my mind that set me up for tenseness and fear.

    It was just slightly uncomfortable and when it was that, it was just for a few seconds. The uncomfortableness was the injection of the lidocaine into the breast and when they took the 3 or 4 samples of tissue.

    Talk to your doctor and ask for some Xanax or Valium . . . for the night before and the day of the biopsy.

    Did you find my blog via or