“Honey, feel this…I noticed it yesterday.”
Ryan gently touched where his wife placed his hand.
“That is definitely a lump, Fran.”
“I wonder if it’s hormonal. I’ll call my doctor in a few days if it’s still there.”
“Hi, this is Fran Allan. I found a lump. How does Dr. Hobert usually handle this situation?”
“This is nothing to mess around with. He will see you at 3:30 today.”
“Today? Great! I’ll be there,” Fran replied. Okay…that sounds serious.
Dr. Hobert gently touched the area of the lump. “It really doesn’t have the characteristics of cancer…probably a fibrous tumor. But, we need to be sure what it is, because it definitely doesn’t belong there. I’m referring you to a general surgeon who will do some combination of ultrasound, biopsy, or mammogram, to find out what’s going on here. When you call her office, I want you to have an appointment within two weeks – no longer. If you have trouble, call me. I’ll get you scheduled.”
“Thank you, Doctor, for seeing me right away. I’ll call you if necessary.”
As Fran started her truck, the words ‘Live Like You Were Dyin’ greeted her from the radio speakers. She shuddered slightly, lowered the volume, and picked up her cell phone to dial the surgeon’s office.
“Hi, this is Fran Allan. I’ve been referred to your office by Dr. Hobert. I have a lump that he wants Dr. Apcol to check. He said I need to be scheduled within two weeks. Is that possible?”
“Let me look here…Okay, Fran. You’re all set. Tuesday, September 25, one day less than two weeks. We’ll see you then.”
Dr. Apcol entered the room. “Hi, Fran.” She touched Fran reassuringly, her hands cupped around Fran’s while looking into her eyes. “I’m glad you’re here. You’re in good hands. Tell me about the events that brought you here today.”
“Last month, I found this lump. I waited a few days to complete my monthly cycle, in case it was hormone related and would go away, but it didn’t. Dr. Hobert checked it two weeks ago and sent me here.”
“Good. To start, we will ultrasound today and see what’s going on in there. That will help us determine where we go next.”
“I am going to have you come back Thursday for biopsy. We’ll take some tissue samples and test them to identify the nature of the lump.”
“I know you probably have a good idea what you are looking at based on your experience, Doctor. What are your thoughts so far?”
“Rather than speculate, let’s wait until the biopsy is complete. I will be able to give you some information at the end of the procedure, even though we won’t have official lab results for about a week.”
“You did great. We have everything we need for now. Let’s look at the screen. I marked cysts on the right side for future reference, but they’re fine, nothing to worry about. However, the lump on the left side…see how the edge of the tumor is irregular…I don’t like to see that. The shape of the tumor concerns me, which is why we did the biopsy. It is possible that it’s fibrous. We’ll know for sure when we get the lab results. So, you and your husband will come in next week Wednesday to review the results and discuss the next step. Either way, it has to be removed, so surgery is certain. When we have all the information, we’ll plan the details. You’ll be fine, just fine.”
“Thanks for coming, Ryan.” Dr. Apcol entered, greeting Ryan with a confident handshake.
“Unfortunately, the lab results confirmed what I suspected. The lump is cancerous…but you’re going to be fine.”
Doctor Apcol reached for the tissues as Fran’s eyes filled with tears, then compassionately patted Fran’s knee before continuing.
“There is some good news. On a scale of one to three, three being most aggressive, your tumor is a two. Since you caught it early, and acted quickly, your prognosis is great. Kudos to you for self-checking and calling your doctor.”
“What do you mean ‘for calling’?”
“Unfortunately, many women do not call. They don’t want to deal with it.”
“I can’t imagine that. Ryan and I didn’t think we should wait until my spring physical to get it checked.”
“Fran, if you had waited until spring, we would be looking at a completely different scenario. That would not have been good.”
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