Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!
—Thomas Chisholm (1866–1960)
Annual slamograms, as I, being sensitive, call them, used to be the anti-reward of turning 50; now 40 is the recommended age of welcome to the pink-ribbon rite. (I in no way mean to be cynical; I’m just not a color-code ribbon person.) I’ve done the dutiful thing for a decade and a half, and always received my good-girl “See You Next Year.”
This year’s routine was seasoned with a dash of variety. Calcium deposits had been noted last year, but last week’s annual routine showed the little white dots were starting to become maybe a little too chummy, getting together in clusters. The change wasn’t necessarily sinister, but radiologists don’t think highly of any sort of change that brings no advantage. It was Thursday. Jen told me I would hear from her Monday, only if she had something to tell me; otherwise she’d mail the SYNY report as usual.
I didn’t think about it over the weekend. Monday arrived. My phone rang; of course the hospital’s imaging center number is in my phone. I greeted my favorite technician, “Jen! Who wanted to hear from you today?” Her voice was pleasantly urgent. Could I come for a reshoot that very morning; the radiologist would like to see a different dimension of the clusters. Our new 3-D mammography equipment has reduced the necessity of reshoots 77%. There I go, gate-bounding into the 23% pool. . . . No problem. Reshoot accomplished.
Another call the same afternoon. “Dr. W. wants to do a biopsy. Can you have it tomorrow?” Um, sure. . . .SYNY was definitely no longer protocol.
I had the biopsy Tuesday. It was hard for me. I’m bruised and sore and exhausted. Fibromyalgia, arthritis that makes turning my neck while lying prone excruciating, and adrenal failure (Addison’s disease) aren’t much help, and the best doctor and technicians can’t do anything to make it more comfortable. The technology, advanced as it is, imposes limits that I simply had to endure. Jen promised I’d get a call from the radiologist with the results Wednesday or Thursday; otherwise I was to call her Thursday and she’d find out what was going on.
Throughout all of this, I was uncharacteristically sanguine, confident in a perfect report in the end. I felt nothing but blessed and grateful that everyone was being so wonderful to me and moving things forward so expediently. Even the discomfort of the biopsy beat wondering for weeks whether something was really wrong.
I had no call from the doctor by the appointed time Thursday, and checked in with Jen, who called the pathology people and learned the doctor had ordered additional stain tests that would take an extra day. Good. He’s very thorough.
Today—Friday morning, the faithful thorough radiologist called. All benign. Then he gave me the best medical sign-off there is. SYNY.