After my preliminary diagnosis on Sunday night, I made some phone calls. My Aunt, my sister, and my parents. I was able to relay the initial diagnosis without much emotion, using the scientific terms provided to me by my surgeon.
I had a quick flurry of appointments for tests and imaging to help determine the stage and whether it had metastasized. The surgeon asked that I do a full blood panel so we had baseline readings. She also asked that I do a MRI. My aunt brought me for my blood work, which was a very routine blood draw.
Then, my husband and aunt went with me to the MRI. I was escorted through St. Mary's hospital and brought into what appeared to be a garage or loading dock. It was very cold. I walked up a set of metal stairs and into a trailer. Inside the trailer they asked many questions to make sure I had no metal on me or in me. They then described the procedure.
I would have to lay face down on a tray. They would slide me into a tube and ask me to stay very still as they took a series of images. They would be doing the images with and without a contrast that they would inject into my arm during the procedure.
The technician asked what kind of music I liked. I was at a loss, and suggested alternative. She wanted clarity on this. We ended up going with a weird mix of Nirvana and Depeche Mode, which in any other situation, I would have enjoyed.
I laid face down on the tray with my round breasts hanging through square holes that weren't quite big enough, so the edges of the holes rubbed against the sides of my breast,and the center support irritated my breast bone. My arms were brought over my head and laid next to my ears. I would be in this position for about 40 minutes.
They handed me a button to press if I needed them for any reason. The technician informed me that she would relay instructions to me via the headphones I was wearing. I was then slid into the tube. I was repeatedly told to stay still for varying amounts of time up to 15 minutes. I was surprised at how difficult it was. Loud buzzing, whirring, and knocks surrounded me. It sounded like the trailer was imploding. When I was given the contrast they told me that they were doing it, so when I tasted something weird in my mouth,I knew why.
In the end, they said I did well and returned me to my people.
I had a PET scan scheduled later that week. My aunt drive went with me this time. It was my favourite test so far. I was brought in a room and told to rest. They covered me in warm blankets and left me to relax. Sometime during my resting they came in and gave me a radioactive shot. After a while longer they came in and asked me to follow them to the machine. I was laid on a tray again. This time I was face up. They covered me in a bunch of warm blankets. The tray went in and out of the machine and took images along the way. I was asked to stay still and rest. Of course this meant that my nose started itching immediately.
During one pass when they were all the way down at my knees with the machine I took a chance and scratched my nose. It is hard to explain the satisfaction that one simple action gave me, but it was simply glorious. I almost fell asleep during this scan.
With all the tests done in just a couple of days, I just had to wait to meet with the surgeon to review the results and the complete pathology.
I was left to continue my everyday dance with my mundane existence. Going to work, pretending to care about things that just didn't matter to me anymore. Trying to retain some happiness by spending time with my family and friends.
Working in retail and trying to have empathy for people who complained about their problems with finding the right toothpaste or earrings was becoming increasingly difficult. Not to mention my patience was wearing very thin with everyone, and my boss was on vacation, so I was running the team. I am so lucky that I work in such a supportive environment, or I would have been unemployed quick.
One of the hardest things for me during the journey has been the waiting. I feel like there are bursts of activity that are exhausting, and then nothing while I just twiddle my thumbs and wait. I am not known for being patient. The universe wanted me to practice more, and I was still at the beginning of this long road.