So, I am beginning this journal a little ways into my journey so I'll do a little recap...
In October I went in for my annual health screening where women have a Pap and are given routine breast exams. My primary care physician gave me a clean bill of health but spent some time focused on a small nodule in my left breast. She said it wasn't too suspicious but that we should watch it and see if it changes and if not, that she'd send me out for a closer look.
I went back the following month for the closer look and the nodule was unchanged so she sent me immediately to make appointments for general surgery (she said it would need to be removed whether it was dangerous or not) and also with radiology (to determine whether or not it was dangerous).
I saw both Dr.s the following day and both Dr.s were cautiously suspicious of this little lump...the General Surgeon did a small ultrasound then said it was "probably nothing to be alarmed by, but we'd better be sure"...and he sent me down to radiology.
The radiologist also did an ultrasound and then a biopsy of the lump where he made a small incision and collected three tissue samples that he placed in a jar and sent to the lab in Landstuhl, Germany (the largest military medical facility in Europe) since we don't have all the fancy pathology equipment down in little Rota, Spain. He said my results would be back in a week.
The following week, I was scheduled for my follow up with him but his office called with the news that his baby arrived (Yay!) and that we'd reschedule to a few days later...I asked if my results had come back from Germany and the Corpman said she'd check.
The next afternoon I was home with the girls and got a call from Family Practice and asked to come in TODAY..."Ut oh". Sign number 1.
So, I called Johann who was on base and told him what was going on and asked him to meet me so I could give him the girls and go to the appointment. Of course, my husband was like, "No, I'm coming with you." And he was there in the waiting room when I arrived.
The funny thing about cancer is that everyone is totally freaked out by it. And I get it. It's not a party. It can be a killer. But what I noticed immediately was how it can make people very uncomfortable.
I had checked into the clinic and about a minute later, this poor Corpman (enlisted physicians assistant who work in the hospital/clinic) comes to call me back to the room and he doesn't really make eye contact with me. And usually when the hospital staff calls your name, they look at you in the eye, smile and say, with some pep, "Mrs. Aaron!!!"
He said my name like he was calling me for the Hunger Games. Sign number 2.
I went to the back and was led into a patient room, and immediately a Dr. I'd never met before, and a nurse came in..both looking all somber. The Dr. sits down and says, "Mrs. Aaron, the results of your biopsy came back today and it's positive for cancer...(pregnant pause)." He's watching me...waiting for me to freak out...
I stare back at him cause I'm wondering if that is ALL he has to say? Is he going to rush me to surgery now? Let's get the sucker out!!!
Then he is all Dr. Phil..."I know this may be a shock to you, but we have some social service workers available to help..."
Bwahahahaaaa - Ok...so, I explained this wasn't exactly that huge a shock...I've been seeing this train coming for about a month after the initial discovery of the lump in my breast...so I ask some questions...He answered as many as he could and set me up to meet with my Dr. the following Monday (that was a Friday).
Ok, so Monday, I meet again with the General Surgeon and he confirms my positive diagnosis and we discuss treatment options. Obviously I will have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy depending on the extent of the cancer and we discussed the need to travel since they do not perform this procedure in Rota.
Because my husband ROCKS, he was already well aware of all the Medivac (Medical Evacuation) procedures for his command and was well on his way to getting us out of Rota and me on an operating table as soon as possible.
Within 24 hours and with my Dr. in Rota calling ahead on our behalf, writing orders and getting the Commanding Officer of the Hospital in Rota to send an official memo to the Commanding Officer at Johann's command, we were heading to Landstuhl, Germany to meet the Oncologists and General Surgeon and schedule the surgery.