February 2, 2016. This day was strange, unlike any other. Looking back I think, what if it was like the movie Groundhog Day, and I had to repeat this day over and over. How fucking awful would that be. But back to that morning in 2016, I just knew in my heart that things weren’t ok. It’s strange really how you just know. I walked over to the women’s breast center and checked in. They give you a locker and I remember saving my locker combination in my phone and thinking, this is where it will all start. That number will haunt me forever. I sat in the waiting room looking all around at the other women waiting. Were they wondering why this young(relatively) girl was there for a mammogram? I didn’t spot a woman under 50. Were they thinking, what’s this poor girl doing here? We were all in our pink robes just waiting.
A tech came into the waiting room. “Miss Bruno?” she looked familiar. She was pregnant and I remember envying her a tad. I’m here to get a mammogram to see if I’m dying basically and she is pregnant, she is happy and carefree. It clicked that I knew her sister and we got to talking. It calmed me and I felt a sense of relief. I told her how worried I was for the pain because I hear these things are very uncomfortable. She assured me I would be fine. Before I knew it we were all done, piece of cake! She ushered me back in the waiting room to make sure they got a good shot. More waiting… A new tech came out. “Miss Bruno? Follow me.” I thought this is where they might say ok all clear enjoy your day, change your clothes. But they didn’t. They said we need to get a few more images and that this sometimes happens. I was worried but hadn’t hit the panic button just yet. My very large breasts were awkwardly shoved back into the awkward mammogram contraption. This time it wasn’t so painless. Back to the waiting room. I texted both my mom and boyfriend telling them they had to take 2 sets of mammograms and it made me feel uneasy. My mom said it’s happened to her before. Ok phew.
A new tech came out. “Miss Bruno?” This confused me but I realized I was being escorted to the ultrasound room. I started to get extremely nervous. Shaking uncontrollably they put that cold gel on me. I felt like my breasts were being abused by this point. They finished and I thought I would go back to the waiting room but no. I was ushered into the mammogram room for a 3rd time. It all happened so quick. My heart nearly stopped. My stomach was queasy and I needed to know what the fuck was going on.
I am once again being pushed and pulled awkwardly into this machine when I realized, they were only taking images of my left breast. But wait, I am here for my right breast? I panicked and asked why they were only taking left images when I am here for a right breast lump.
“You’re right breast is fine.” ( I thought to myself YES!! I AM FINE!!!!!!)
Then she said, “But there is a problem in your left breast.” (stomach drop)
Before I could even process what she was saying I was ushered into a little room where I waited for a Doctor to come talk to me. I was shaking, sweating, and couldn’t imagine what I was about to be told. A very sweet doctor came and and let me know that they had found something very concerning in my left breast and that I would need to get a Biopsy ASAP. I asked how soon and she said we should do it right now. How could this be? I came here for a right breast lump and here I am being told there is something in my left breast?? What if I never got that mammogram and just did the ultrasound like I insisted I do? None of this makes any sense. My head was spinning, I needed time to process this but unfortunately time wasn’t being something I was offered. I told them I needed to make some calls first as if someone else had the answer. I first called my Mom. I heard the panic in her voice and heard her heels pacing around the house. She said she would get in the car but I told her to wait. I called my boyfriend and he said he would get there as soon as possible. This calmed me. I knew if he was there, everything would be ok.
I called the Doctor back in the room and told her I would do the Biopsy today but I needed some time. I needed some fresh air and I needed to try and sort my thoughts before I had a full blown mental breakdown right there in her office. I told her I needed to go walk my dogs because I really didn’t know what to say. I asked if it would be ok to give me an hour to process my thoughts and allow my boyfriend to get there in time to calm me before I went in for procedure and she agreed.
I walked home in a state of complete anxiety. I looked around at all of the other people on the street and envied every last one of them. I was mad and confused. I thought to myself this is why you should always be kind to others, you never know what they are going through. No one knew what I was going through. No one knew that I was scared out of my fucking mind.
I got home and packed a bag of comfortable clothes to later come home in. They let me know that I would not be able to wear a bra(obviously) and that I would go home wrapped in bandages. Being that I had GG sized breasts(yes that is a thing) I knew I needed some baggy clothes.
I got back to the hospital and was getting prepped for my procedure. A nurse came in and explained how the whole thing was going to work. She explained that it would be very uncomfortable and I would need to stay still for the entire hour, face down, on a metal table, with my one breast hanging through an opening and clamped tightly. She explained that they would give me multiple shots of something to numb me and this would feel like multiple bee stings. She explained that they would make an incision and pull parts of the mass out to be tested. She told me she wouldn’t leave my side the entire time and that everything was going to be OK.
They set me up on the table and clamped me in and gave me a pink squishy heart to hold onto. My head was smashed to the side and in the most awkward, uncomfortable position they asked me to not move at all for the remainder of the procedure. How was I going to get through this? It wasn’t just uncomfortable, but mentally how can I do this? They are going in there looking for Cancer. The idea of that just made me completely nauseous.
They let me know they were going to begin and as I was shot up with the “bee stings” I put my fist in my mouth and tried not to scream. The pain was unreal and it didn’t stop. They made the incision and I felt them start to tug at my breast, I felt them pulling out samples of tissue. I felt everything. I had the pink stress reliever thing in my hand squeezing so tightly and my fist in my mouth trying to fathom how I was going to get through the next 45 minutes of my life. I started to cry, not because I was in pain( which I was, in SO much pain) but because it was all hitting me. I was scared for my life.
They finished the procedure and stitched me up. They then told me that I would need a FOURTH mammogram before I left to make sure they can see the titanium marker they put inside of my breast. “WHAT?!” How was I going to have my completely abused breast smashed back into that thing right now. More tears. I felt violated and I needed to get home. They wrapped me up in bandages and I got dressed.
My boyfriend was in the waiting room and I couldn’t have been happier to see him. I wanted to hug him but I knew my body couldn’t handle that. It made me sad. He drove us home and I took a big dose of Motrin and got right in bed. FUCK. I can’t sleep on my side, the pain, FUCK. How am I going to sleep? More tears. He made me a pillow barrier so I was propped up on my back and I tried to sleep. Not going to happen. I laid there and cried. How did this happen? Do I actually have Breast Cancer at age 30? I can’t possibly, right? More importantly, how am I going to wait 3-5 days for these results without completely losing my damn mind.