I tell myself that I am not worried but subconciously I am. It is my second annual check-up with the breast surgeon and I wait patiently for him to enter the room. To pass the time, I clean out my purse because I never have the opportunity to do this particularly mindless chore.
The resident comes in first. "Are you having any problems?" She asks. In fact I have had some discomfort on my right sidewhere my implants meet my ribs. "Yes," I say. "I have been doing more upper body exercises lately and I have a pain right here." I point to the spot and she begins to carefully feel for a tumor as I hold my breath.
I don't feel like she is going to find anything, but my intuition, while good, isn't always accurate. "It feels like scar tissue to me" She says, showing me how the skin in that area remains stationary as the rest of my skin moves. "Do you see that?" She inquires. I do and I am relieved.
"The doctor will be in shortly." She says as she leaves the room. Now I am alone with my thoughts in the sterile examination room. I go back to cleaning out my purse.
A half an hour later the doctor appears. "So you are having some pain on your right side?" He asks. Now I am getting nervous because I know that he is the expert and if he finds something I am in trouble. "Yes," I say, "Right here." He looks and feels around the area with great care. "I don't feel anything that you need to worry about. I let out my breath not actually aware that I was holding it.
"So what is my chance of recurrence now that I am two years out?" I ask, ready for the news. "It is about ten percent in five years with the Tamoxifen that you are taking." He replies. My first thought is that this is a rather high rate of recurrence, then I check myself. I had a thirty percent chance of getting pregnant naturally every month for four years and it never happened. Ten percent is quite a bit lowere than thirty percent so when I look at it that way I am much more optomistic.
"I will see you next year." He says. "Have a Happy Holiday" I think to myself that I definitely will as I pick up my purse and go home.