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Dodging a bullet

I've just learned a new sentence that no woman ever wants to hear: "We need you to come back for additional views." That was what an employee at Montclair Radiology Center told me a week ago Monday, three days after I'd had a mammogram. She explained to me that I was about the 25th person she'd called back for additional views, and that it was no big deal, and sometimes it's just a blip on the X-ray and the radiologist needs to be certain. None of which served to expel very much fear. So we set up another appointment for the 27th, and I mostly tried not to think about what was wrong, especially since the anomaly was on the breast that was the reason I got the mammogram in the first place. The fact that I noticed it and it seemed to have been confirmed by an X-ray made sleeping a bit tense the night before the appointment.

So I went for the mammogram and then waited while the tech brought the X-rays to the radiologist. If it was just a blip on the first mammogram, then I'd be free to go if the second one came up clear. But the tech came back and said, "We're going to need to get an ultrasound. Please go back to your waiting room until everything's ready." Okay, now I figured it was time to panic, and believe me, I did. I was trying to figure out exactly how big a lump there was, and where it was, and why I would have breast cancer when there's no history of it in my family, and about a million other things in the five minutes it took to get me an ultrasound technician. And then things didn't get much better because she finally mentioned the size and shape and the fact that it might just be a cyst, but even if it wasn't, 6 millimeters was pretty small. And then she spent the next five minutes or so trying to find that 6-millimeter thing in my breast, while I kept waiting for it to appear so I could hear her say something like, "Oh, it's just a cyst. No problem."

But she never found a thing, and after a while she left to go talk to the radiologist and leave me even more worried, because now not only did I have a 6-millimeter thing in my breast, but it was a stealth thing and it was invisible to ultrasound and no one was going to be able to find it and get rid of it. I was sure she was going to come back and say, "We're going to need to take a CT scan." But when she came back she said, "Sometimes the thing on the X-ray was just a bit of tissue, and it gets compressed on the second view, which is why we can't find it. The radiologist says everything's okay."

Relieved, I went back to my room and got dressed and thought as I was leaving, "Hope I won't be seeing you for another two years."

But as I was telling this to Heidi, I related to her that for my second mammogram, the tech put a lead-lined apron around my waist to protect my (kaff!) precious child-bearing areas. I figured, hey, even if the eggs are rotten, at least they're not going to be zapped with radiation. But then I remembered that the first tech didn't put the apron on me two weeks ago, so now if I can never have children, or if they wind up having three eyes, we'll know who's at fault.

In any case, I am much relieved tonight. They're a matching pair, and I want to keep them that way.--MAY permalink



That global conspiracy thing

You know, yesterday's blog got me feeling a bit guilty. I haven't been honest with you. I have an admission to make.

Yes, I am part of that international global Jewish conspiracy, and I hereby admit to being one of the people responsible for all of the following events:

  • The disappearance of Amelia Earhart
  • Global warming
  • George W. Bush winning Florida
  • Framing O.J. Simpson
  • The destruction of the Colossus of Rhodes
  • Gary Coleman becoming a TV star (I really apologize for that one, but I was a kid when it happened)
  • The art of Jackson Pollack
  • The Yankees losing the World Series
  • The extinction of the dinosaurs

I hang my head in shame as I admit to all of these things. Perhaps someday you can all find it in your hearts to forgive me. But at least we're not responsible for Anne Robinson.--MAY permalink



Things home improvement taught me

Well, it's the morning after our tiling effort, and I've learned many things, which I will share with you all.

  • I don't like doing home improvement things.
  • If you're going to tile more than one bathroom, hire someone to do it for you.
  • If you're going to tile only one bathroom, hire someone to do it for you.
  • No matter how much stuff you buy to tile a bathroom, you will inevitably run out of something you desperately need to finish the job, and this will always happen after the stores are closed--including Home Depot.
  • Home Depot is an evil institution that causes people to believe they can do things like tile their own bathrooms.
  • This Old House is an evil show that causes people to believe they can do things like tile their own bathrooms.
  • "How to Install Ceramic Tile" is an evil book that causes people to believe they can do things like tile their own bathrooms.
  • Men who build houses don't like to have two women going in and out of the construction site, attempting to tile a bathroom.
  • Do not attempt to tile four bathrooms in one night on the day before you have to pack up to move elsewhere. (Mind you, this wasn't our fault, as if the builders were on schedule, we'd have had three weeks to tile the bathrooms.)
  • If you attempt to tile your own bathrooms, your builder will then blame all the delays he already caused on you, in spite of the fact that the house is already three weeks behind schedule when you start trying to tile.
  • Last, but not least: Hire someone else to tile your bathrooms.

That's what we wound up doing after all.--MAY permalink