The Early Appointment

Pixabay, Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/kellepics-4893063/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=4480599">Stefan Keller</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=4480599">Pixabay</a>I asked for an early appointment, but not too early. I wanted the doctor to be fresh, but not still yawning from his night’s sleep. I wanted the nurse to still be enthusiastic about the patient, not looking at her watch to see how long before lunch, or before she got to escape home, take off her scrubs, and pull on her shorts and t-shirt.

“9:30,” the scheduler suggested, and I grabbed it like a life preserver in the ocean. Everything will be easy because I got the perfect time. summer flower, breast cancer

As I signed the paperwork, received a few encouraging nods, and sat in the “special” waiting room, I noted the cheery paintings on the walls. Daisies. Pansies. Hydrangeas. I silently complimented the interior designer, but the room still felt a bit cold and sterile, perhaps because I wore only a baby blue smock over my naked chest, with an opening in the front. 

But more energy filled the room when a 50-something brown-haired, gentle-smiled nurse/technologist walked in. She smelled like the summer air outside: fresh, optimistic, newly mowed.

I’m her first one today, I surmised as she introduced herself as Rose. My mood elevated.

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/alarconaudiovisual-4350688/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2416942">Elías Alarcón</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2416942">Pixabay</a>Rose ran through the biopsy procedure with careful detail. Oh! My right breast was to be squeezed into the mammogram machine (“but not tight, tight,” she assured me) while the doctor, male, yes, but “he’s efficient, gentle, and so nice” guided a large needle (“but not too large,” Rose assured me, again) into the exact spot in my breast where they needed the cell samples.

In fact, I was never worried about the pain, or the related bleeding or bruising or necessary follow-up of 10-hour icing.

I listened to the soft murmur within myself instead: “you’re fine,” it said.

The doctor was all business until a deep well of humor burst forth from my mouth as he stung my breast with a numbing needle. Wherever did I come up with “I’d tell you a joke about a blunt needle but it’s pointless”?

Even though I couldn’t see him, since my head was squeezed the other way against the machine’s plate glass, I heard him chuckle. It seemed that I was the one relaxing him. Which, to give me credit, is no small feat with one breast squeezed in large hard cold impersonal plates of glass, part of a huge machine created expressly to find cancer.

I thanked the Spirit surrounding me for this technology, for Rose who patted me gently on my arm, for the doctor who laughed at my next pun when he was inserting a tiny metallic device in my breast (“so we can come back to the exact spot if needed,” he explained).

“Statistically…. 9 out of 10 injections are in vein,” I responded, still wondering about the source of these ridiculous puns.

No matter. We three made a team, and when the doctor and Rose were finished, they wished me positive results, ie, negative for cancer.

breast cancer, breast cancer awareness, Pixabay

Breast cancer screening saves lives. To the pink ribbon, which honors survivors, remembers those lost to the disease, and supports the progress we are making together to defeat breast cancer. 

And you know what? A week ago, I got the best news. Benign.

176 thoughts on “The Early Appointment

  1. Thank god or whomever is responsible! I was on the edge, while you made the doctor with needle in hand comfortable, your friend the reader, couldn’t breathe! All’s well that ends well. If I could hold it down I’d have a margarita just about now! Whew!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I went through this exact procedure (without the puns) and found it uncomfortable. A radiologist did it and I swear it was her first biopsy. It took forever as my face was plastered against the machine. I also did not get the same results as you did but that was all 20 years ago and I’m just fine now. Along the way I had to have a second biopsy but my oncologist surgeon did it. When I told him about my previous experience, he said always have a surgeon do it. They are faster. Then he retired but I didn’t need to have another. I’m glad that your result was wonderful. Even with all the new treatments, a different diagnosis is a worry.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I’m so glad you’re fine now, Kate. Twenty years ago, the procedures for breast biopsies weren’t as smooth as they are now (so I’m told). As it is, anything to do with needles and sensitive areas is not fun. But a little laughter can go a loooonnnng way to getting through to the (hopefully happy) ending. Stay well!! xo

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Beautifully told, Pam, and with touches of humor I loved. A great way to get through a terrifying process, and best off all … THE RESULTS!! Hooray and Halleluiah! I’m so happy for you!!

    Now please continue to stay safe and WELL, my friend! 🤗💖🤗

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Pam, my wife had a similar procedure done several years ago. All turned out well as with you, but we too tried to remain upbeat and positive throughout the experience regardless of what might have turned up. Your story reminded me of a shared experience that made us closer.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much for relating to my story and sharing what you and your wife went through. It’s a hold-your-breath-and-pray kind of procedure, yes, but some lightness of being helps the process. SO glad your wife is okay and healthy.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Such a huge relief, Pam. I wanted to burst into tears at the good news. I love the puns and the kindness you felt going through some pretty scary stuff. Thank goodness for preventative screenings where even something more dangerous can be addressed if caught early. Huge hugs.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I was a little suspicious when I read, “Everything will be easy because I got the perfect time.” But happy all went well. All the detail made sense to me as I went through a needle biopsy years ago, which also turned out negative, a positive outcome for sure.

    Never have I missed an annual screening. Thanks for the prompt–and the puns.
    You are a fabulous storyteller with just the right touch of suspense as I think your readers will agree.
    ((( ))

    Liked by 4 people

    • I hated to be so honest about my “timing” superstition, but it worked! 🙂 And yikes, you’ve gone through the biopsy as well. May we never have to do it again. Please. But yes, screening is an annual must-do event (or in my case, they say every six months – gah). Many thanks for your amazing terrific and heartfelt support, Marian. xo

      Liked by 2 people

    • I got sweet chills at the idea that you were so happy with the end of my post, Marlene. What a special woman you are. And hey, you do the same re: taking a difficult/challenging situation and finding some bright light within it. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. As a non English native speaker, I used to hate puns, my pronunciation of words was often different, and I didn;t see the similarities, In fact, I declared my house a ” pun free zone” for a while. But hey! I live in England, so now I am even making puns myself. Downward slope, ha? I am a retired GP, you must be fun as a patient!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for the huge smile, Eva. I do seem to have a great rapport with my docs. I think they appreciate a patient who takes things seriously, but with a large dose of humor too. Laughing at your once pun-free zone. My guy is a huge punster and he’s thrilled with every eye roll that he gets from our children, and now grandchildren. Hey, it takes intelligence to come up with a good (or even bad) pun. 🙂

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  8. So pleased the results were Benign… I know how horrendous the uncertainty can be… And having had a sister who went through a mastectomy I know all about breast cancer dear Pam….
    So thank you for taking us through the emotional journey ..
    My daughter in law also went through this procedure in May which thankfully turned out Benign also..
    Sending you Big hugs my friend.. ❤ and Lots and lots of love ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • THANK you Sue for sharing your experience through your beloved family members. I hope your sister is cancer-free now. And blessings to your DIL – not fun to go through but the joy of getting good results lasts for a long time. All this highlights the importance of breast cancer screening. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bless you and thank you Pam…… My sister was cancer free until last year when she discovered she now has Leukaemia, But she is as positive as ever….. One day at a time and lives life with a smile and helps others all the time….
        Many thanks for asking…. We are close and yes its so important to check ourselves regularly. Much love dear Pam… ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Benign is the best word to hear anywhere near a doctor’s office. Like a colonoscopy, it’s a small price to pay for the relief it brings. Glad the news was so good.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Phewwww, I’m so glad to hear about Mark’s latest news. I know you two have been worried for a while. So important to realize that men go through this as well. THANKS for sharing Mark’s experience, and your update. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks much, Gerlinde. So many of us women hold our breaths when we go for mammograms, fearful of the result. I’ve done that for years, and then for those of us told ‘biopsy needed’ the breath becomes ragged. But caring health professionals, and some humor, help us all get through whatever we need to get through. ❤

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  10. I’m glad everything went well, Pam.
    I’ve found that mammogram technologists are always pleasant. I haven’t thought about making jokes, but I always seem to have the most enjoyable conversations. It almost makes up for that painful, hard, metallic squeeze.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Great news! I know how difficult it can be waiting for biopsy results. I admire your sense of humor, how well it served you. (Maybe next time around I can find some…) I have a bit of titanium in my breast, too, to mark the spot.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You know it! I’m glad my 14-year-old granddaughter is thinking of being a medical doctor/researcher. Maybe her generation can come up with a better way of testing for breast cancer. :-0

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  12. I honestly think the worst part of any cancer treatment (or testing) is the waiting! But I’m so very glad the results were good….and hope you celebrated in style! And you captured perfectly the mood of going through those kinds of tests. It’s scary and painful, but it can also be reassuring and positive, depending on your attitude and the attitude of those who are caring for you. I think your puns made it so much easier!

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are so right, Ann. And my grandson was visiting from CA, so I didn’t share with him what I’d just gone through, so he doesn’t know why we had a FABULOUS meal that night with a great bottle of wine. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I think this is the first post I’ve read of your’s, but your story is beautiful, even more so because your results were benign. I lost my Aunt to breast cancer and it wasn’t gentle on her. She was a very loving person and always was constantly giving to others. She even worked with special children who were sick as well. My mom used to take me to Chicago to visit her during the summer months when school was out. I loved every trip I had going up there. I’m so happy for you. You’ve got a wonderful testimony here girl. And got a new follower outta me in the process. Keep your head up.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m so glad you found me here. Your response is beautiful and heart-rending. So so sorry about your aunt. Yes, I have friends who have gone through a lot of treatment for breast cancer, and it’s not pretty. But thankfully treatments are getting better and better, thanks to research. And thanks to more women getting early screening! Hugs and thanks for the follow.

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    • How I love hearing this good news. I hope I never have to go through what your wife did but I know it’s possible and I know that the treatments these days are so much better than just a decade ago. Cheers to you and your wife and thank you so much for commenting.

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  14. I have to say it’s the first time for me to read about a blogger who narrates about health and injections, I guess setting appointments and going to the Doctor regularly is a health benefit since one gets to know his health status. Great post

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pam, I am so happy to read the good news. I read your comment on Marlene’s blog (which I was also late to), and came over here to see what’s going on. Somehow, I suspected it. Maybe because it all happened to me just a year ago! https://crystaltrulove.com/2021/03/11/indomitability/ I decided that the metal marker now means I have a bionic left boob, and I need a superhero name. I haven’t thought of one yet. Nor have I decided how to save humanity with a bionic left boob, but I’m sure there is a way. Anyway, hugs and congratulations for being healthy and thank you for the wretched puns. I have already passed them on to a pun connoisseur friend of mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: The Early Appointment – delusionaldoxy

  17. My mom had breast cancer back in 1974. That was not a particularly good time to get cancer but she survived and lived another forty years. I’ve just watched two friends go through breast cancer treatment which is oh so different from our experiences in ’74. I’m pleased to say both are doing well.

    I’m very happy for you that your tests came back benign! I think it’s an important story to share for several reasons. First, not a lot of people still talk about it. You’re more likely to hear the story of someone going through treatment. On the outside, we forget what an intense experience the waiting and biopsies are. I’m glad you had a nurse and doctor with a sense of humor. I don’t like doctors who don’t laugh at my jokes. My dad had to have a small mass removed from his lung. They were certain it was cancer and it turned out not to be. It looked like a piece of cauliflower, the surgeon said. “But Dad doesn’t even like cauliflower,” I quipped. “He won’t eat it!” And they took me seriously. Yes doc, I’m just that dumb.

    Sorry, I’m meandering around again. I am very happy for you and may you remain happy and healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I LOVE your meandering. Never stop yourself from doing so. We are writers – and we really know how to express ourselves. Your comment made me cringe, smile, feel my heart swell, and then laugh out loud at the cauliflower. Your mom is obviously a strong woman; yes, breast cancer in 1974 was a much different creature than it is now. But it still puts the fear in many women, who then either ignore mammograms or decide they’re too ‘scary’ or painful, and neither is the case. THEY SAVE LIVES. And yes, same with the biopsy. You’re right, I’d not read about/heard from women who had similar experiences to mine until I wrote this post. We need to share our experiences and encourage each other to take care of our health. As far as doctors without humor – pish. Humor is part of the healing process for sure! So glad your dad’s result were negative.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Well, that’s great news! Anxiety makes for funny – or in this case, punny – reactions – it’s a way of calming ourselves and helps calm others. Where would we be without humor – and a little help/guidance – to get us through? Loving your news. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  19. How did you come up with those wonderful puns while enduring very uncomfortable circumstances (physical, mental, AND emotional)? I’m impressed–and also thankful you received the good news you’d hoped and prayed for!

    Liked by 1 person

    • My husband is a ‘pun-person’ and everyone in the family rolls their eyes when he comes up with a new one (or more likely, another old one). I guess his pun-making ‘rubbed off’ on me, because they kept flowing out like a fountain. Most of the time I have no ability to remember a joke OR a pun. Something helped me along, which helped to de-stress the situation. 🙂 Many thanks for visiting!

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