The phone message from the radiology lab on the answering machine was all the more frightening because of its terse simplicity.
“Mary, please call us at your earliest convenience.”
They don’t call you the day after a mammogram unless they see something that should not be there. Mary had gone for a mammogram, as she does yearly, on Wednesday. Thursday morning the message was left on our answering machine at about 9:30 AM. Mary was at school in the middle of giving final semester exams and I was at home as usual. When I heard the phone message I was immediatley paralyzed with fear. I couldn’t bring myself to call her at school and put her through a day of worry and the same fear I was feeling. So all I could do was spend the day fearing the worst, in deep anxiety, hoping she’d come straight home from school without running some errands and delaying her arrival.
When she finally walked in the door, she could sense immediatey that something was bothering me. I barely was able to get out the information that she was supposed to call the lab before my tears came. I wanted to be the strong one and tell her that there was probably nothing to get worried about, but I just couldn’t hold back anymore after the dread I’d felt all day. Mary, however, after a brief moment of expressed fear, simply picked up the phone and made the necessary call.
She was informed that they needed to take some more”pictures” to clarify what they said was a change from her previous mammography. Mary called her doctor to get his take on the situation and he was very positive that the situation was likely just a routine follow-up to make sure that there really was nothing to get upset about. So Mary made an appointment for Friday to go thrrough the mammography process once more.
I told her I wanted to go with her for the follow-up, but she was adament that she would go alone, so as not to have to put up with my anxiety as well as her own. She was also thinking about me and how worry and tension tend to exacerbate my PD symptoms. At a time like this she was thinking about me and not as much about herself. No need to wonder why I love her so much.
The result of the second go-around at the radiology lab was great relief. What was a suspicious “spot” on the xray was interpreted as “calcification” and not something that would require further investigation at this time. They put a “watch” on her for the next six months until another mammogram is taken to see if there is any further change.
Mary’s reaction was again somewhat selfless because she left the lab thinking about all those women who don’t get the good news she got, but have to deal with the harsh reality of possible breast cancer.
So while we have had a good weekend now that we know there is nothing serious to concern us, we will always have that anxiety whenever the time comes for the next mammograpy. Will there be another “spot?” Will there be an increase in size of the