Long awaited biopsy … and the tears

For the past ten months I have been living with uncertainty about the state of my body. This uncertainty (for those that just joined the discussion) has been due to the fact that I have been losing my voice for longer and longer periods of time, and I have a hard time gaining the weight that I lost after adapting to a more gluten free, dairy free diet due to a lifestyle change. 

After going to various doctors, specialists/ surgeons, and having multiple ultrasounds done to track the shape and size of these bumps and lumps found in my neck region I finally had a biopsy scheduled mid-August. A biopsy is a procedure guided with a 3D ultrasound (in my case) where a specialist takes a long needle and collects some cell samples. The cells are examined for irregularities and then determined cancerous or not.
So in May of this year I once again hit a low point as I lost my voice again (allergies?) and had an appointment with my vocal therapist. She investigated and took pictures of my cords and was alarmed they were inflamed. She actually did not want to offer any conclusions so directed me back to my specialist. Luckily, I already had an appointment booked with him the following week (and didn’t have to wait for months to see him). When I saw my specialist, he used a scope to peer inside my nose and throat and immediately put me on some nasal steroids. Meanwhile, he scheduled me for another ultrasound and put a rush on my biopsy procedure.

The fact that he rushed the biopsy had me worried and thinking a hundred things. So the day finally came when I got a call from the Jim Pattison Outpatient centre with my new appointment date, early June. I was nervous and scared, but relieved that finally I would have some conclusive results.

On the day of my biopsy, I went to work as normal and taught a class of chemistry. My mind however was in so many places. My appointment was scheduled during my “spare” blocks and then I had a meeting after school. I was thinking – would I have the energy to go back to work and explain to my students the bandage on my neck? 

My husband and my son were both with me on the day of my biopsy. As I changed into the blue gown and put my clothes in the complimentary plastic bag I teared up. Then I pulled myself together and sat in the private waiting area beside my son and husband. My son briefly noticed my change of clothes then moved on to something else that had caught his eye, a lady with a cast on her leg walking with crutches. While he was investigating I started to lose control, tears everywhere and was almost hyperventilating. I just could not keep it together. With my son facing the other direction, I tried hard to pull myself together and wipe away the tears, but he turned around and saw me. I managed to smile at him while madly brushing my tears and praying they would just evaporate (and leave the salt behind – no maybe not). But he was now leaning in to see the spectacle in front of him – his mom in tears?! “Supermom” … indestructible mom … fix everything up mom … in tears … wait … stop the universe … freeze time … mom in tears?! 

Then he started talking to me about random things and he eventually asked about my tears. I found myself explaining why people have tears and the scientific and nonscientifc reason behind tears. He seemed satisfied with my explanation and we hugged – me holding him extra tight just a little bit longer. 

Finally, I was called in and was prepped for my biopsy. I had the procedure thoroughly explained and signed on a couple dotted lines. At last the radiologist came and along with the nurses positioned me for the ultrasound. While he was conducting the ultrasound he made some small talk and eventually he told me to wipe the cold gel off my neck and sit up as he wanted to talk. I sat up and he said there was no reason for him to perform the biopsy and he never wanted to see me again… I was confused and starting to get dizzy … and he explained  as long as the lymph nodes in my throat area decrease in size after they swell (due to trauma, infection, allergies etc) that is completely normal. 

So I hopped off the examining table, gave the doctor and nurses huge hugs, changed out of my gown, and ran to my husband and son!! This time I had tears in my eyes as I scooped up my son … he saw them … and the huge smile on my face … and he knew what kind of tears they were!

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