24 Thoughts I Had During My Breast Biopsy

I don’t know if I was ever as vulnerable as I was the day I got a breast biopsy.

I found a lump, I got a mammogram, and I got a biopsy.  The surgeon took out some cells and inserted a two-millimeter-sized titanium marker that will help pinpoint the biopsied region in future diagnostic testing.  Just like that, I joined the ranks of thousands of American women that are literally part-titanium.  Some of us got a phone call telling us that everything is totally normal and healthy and perfectly okay.  Others got a call with a different caliber of news.  All of us got through it.

We are titanium.

I definitely didn’t feel like titanium when I got my breast biopsy, though.  I was scared and confused and overwhelmed with emotion.  Here are some of the thoughts I had when the procedure was taking place:

  1. How many women have put their clothes in this locker before me? Who else has worn this pink gown?
  2. How many of those women had cancer?
  3. How many survived?
  4. Maybe I should have had my husband come with me.
  5. How long is this going to last?
  6. They’re telling me to remember to breathe. That’s good advice.
  7. It’s cold.  My hand is getting numb.
  8. This doctor is really nice. All the nurses are ridiculously nice.  Do they give you a personality test before they let you become a nurse?  They should.  These women are awesome.
  9. Whew, that washcloth was cold.
  10. Where am I supposed to be looking? The ultrasound machine?  I don’t have a clue what is on that screen.  Black and white and gray.  The blobs and ripples all look exactly the same to me.
  11. They have pretty nice curtains here, for a surgical center. They are spotted and kind of shimmery.  Not much on the ceiling, though.    Fan.  I am not going to look at the doctor.  That’s way too weird.
  12. Okay, here comes the needle.   Holy cow.  Breathe.  Okay, that’s okay now, that wasn’t so bad.
  13. I wonder how many women get this done every day? I should ask them.  Hmm, 12-15 women per day, just in this office, just in this town.  This is so common, and it’s so often benign.  There’s really nothing to worry about.
  14. Oh boy, that was some serious pressure. I’m glad I didn’t see the needle, or whatever it is they’re sticking in me right now.
  15. Don’t think about needles!
  16. I can’t stop thinking about needles.
  17. Oh, is that music playing? That’s really nice!  How haven’t I noticed that before now?  Listen to the music.
  18. What’s the yoga breathing? Breathe in, belly goes out.  Breathe out, belly goes in.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe.
  19. It’s almost over.
  20. It’s okay.
  21. Why me?
  22. Why not me?
  23. I’m so scared.
  24. It’s all going to be okay.

When the procedure was over and I was on my way home, I felt myself flooded with unexpected emotion.  There was an 80% chance that the results would be good, and that the lump I found was non-cancerous.  The odds were in my favor, and there was no logical reason to be upset.  I’m not an overly emotional person, so it was a little out of character for me to feel like sobbing.  Yet, somehow, I did.  Today, many months later, when I close my eyes and picture that procedure room and the comforting smile on the kind nurse’s face, I still do.

The emotion wasn’t, and isn’t, entirely for me.  It is for the woman that came before me.  The ones, like me, who got a call with good news and felt relief and gratitude.  The ones for which this little procedure was just the beginning of a long, long battle.  The ones that survived.  The ones that didn’t. The ones that pushed to find better treatment options.   The ones that sat in the same chair I did.  My aunt.  My cousin.  My sisters-in-law.  My Grandmas (both of them).  My mom.  All of us are a little bit bruised and battered, but we are more than okay.

We are titanium.

“You shoot me down, but I won’t fall / I am titanium.” – David Guetta

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