Monday, April 03, 2006

Fuzzy Reception

I felt groggy and out of sorts all day today, thanks to the time switcheroo and a misadventure with caffeine that resulted in a bout of insomnia that lasted from 1:00 AM to 5:30 AM. The alarm went off at 7:30 AM. I was just so not ready to get up; my eyes felt like someone had scoured them with Comet cleanser, but I had to haul myself out of bed anyway so that I could be at the doctor’s office at 9:15 AM to get my left boob squooshed again (the second time in three weeks).

Why so much boob squooshing? Well, according to a letter I received, there was a “questionable finding” on my first mammogram. This did not please me, but the letter got worse. By the third paragraph, the “questionable finding” had escalated to “an abnormality,” and as soon as I read that I began to flip out ever so slightly. My doctor’s nurse had already called me earlier in the week to tell me that I needed to come back for a second squoosh, because the radiologist was having trouble interpreting something on the film. Somehow, though, she had made it sound like it was a film problem not a boob problem.

She said nothing about any “highly questionable abnormalities” (note panic-induced adverbial embellisment), so I got on the blower to my doctor. The first thing she said to me was that she “couldn’t read a mammogram film to save her life,” but she also told me that 99% of the time with these "re-dos" it's just some overlapping tissue giving the appearance of a density or nodule. She said that re-dos are very common and that it was “nothing to freak out about.”

She agreed with me that the letter was perhaps a trifle more hair-raising in tone than it needed to be but that the federal government requires that they send out that letter. Then she went on to add—just for good measure—that there are a lot of things the federal government does that she doesn’t agree with. Yes, Dr. H., I read you loud and clear. Thank you for that. She made me feel a million times better.

I like my doctor very much. She has absolutely no attitude or pretensions at all and always treats me as an equal. Nor does she ever try to rush though my appointments even though she works for a move-them-right-along PPO. Once when I went in to have her check out a weird rash that had appeared out of nowhere, she schlepped a massive skin diseases book into the examining room to show me some photos of the harmless rash I had. As she was getting ready to go, she asked me if she should leave the skin diseases book in the room while I changed back into my clothes, because there were really gross photos in there of deformed and diseased penises that I might like to look at! And then we both just started howling like juveniles. Maybe you had to be there, but we bonded over that. For the record, I told her she could go ahead and take that book away. Deformed penises. Deformed and diseased. Ew, ew, ew!!!!! We were acting just like a couple of high school girls!

So anyway, this morning at 9:15 I was standing groggily and grouchily in the mammogram chamber, being amply “honeyed” and “sweetied” by the radiology technician. She showed me the “highly questionable abnormality” on the film, and let me read the lab report that made reference to a “7 mm nodule” in my left boob and--this was what was rather harrowing—I could totally see what they were talking about on the film, and it was really close to the chest wall. Immediately, I’m back into panic mode, thinking there’s no way they could dig that thing out with a lumpectomy. The only possible way to get at it would be radical full Halstead mastectomy.

I must have had a pretty grim look on my face, because the technician slathered on a few additional “honeys” and “sweeties” and maybe some "sweetie-darlings, darling-sweeties" topped off with a smattering of “don’t freak outs” before moving in for the big squoosh. As soon as my boob was out of the deep squeeze, she showed me the new scan on the computer. No sign of that nodule or whatever the H-E-Double-Toothpicks it was! Whew! Of course, the film will need to be analyzed by a radiologist, but I think I’m in the clear. Again, whew. And, whew, again.

I got through the rest of the day in sort of slow-motion autopilot mode. I simply could not wake up. Coffee (OK it was decaf), ice water, English muffins, and fresh air all failed to perk me up. I did get some work done, but it was like someone else—some plodding, molasses-brained person—was doing it. I was simply not firing on all cylinders. For example, in an e-mail to a friend, I spelled lasagna like this—lasangne—and didn’t even notice until I got her reply and saw my horrifying typo glaring back at me. Tomorrow, I will have to take a good look at the bilge that I (or that molasses-head person) cranked out today and see if any of it is salvageable.

While I was blearily eating lunch, I paged through the new Knit Picks catalog that had arrived on Saturday and came across the Fuzzy Reception cardigan. I like everything about it. First of all, the name is a perfect description of the level at which I functioned today. Second, I love the vintage styling. Third, that green color really speaks to me—it’s actually knitted with two stands of different-colored yarn held together—“asparagus” and “fern.” I like asparagus and I like ferns and, come to think of it, I believe I like asparagus ferns, so how can I not make this cardy? Fourth, Knit Picks’ yarns are very attractively priced, and I’ve heard good things about the quality. Fifth, the cardy doesn’t look too difficult, although, admittedly, my judgment is acutely impaired today. Anyway, I threw caution to the wind and ordered the pattern and 13 balls of yarn. They have a 30-day return policy, so what have I got to lose?


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