~Thursday, March 13, 2008


The nurse walked into the waiting room.

"Sarah Hck...hck...chk," she stuttered.

Scott corrected her and I gave her the warm, forgiving smile that I reserve for strangers who attempt my last name. That's okay. I forgive you. You tried.

"Thanks for waiting for so long, if you just follow me back here-" the nurse continued. Scott stood up and gathered my purse, book, and jacket for me so I wouldn't have to carry them.

"Well, can I come with her?" he asked.

The nurse looked sideways at me, "Do you need him to?"

"No!" I chirped. I flashed him a quick, broad smile so he'd believe me. I didn't want Scott with me. I was the one with the hospital band tied around my wrist; I needed to do this alone. I didn't want the nurse to think I was weak. I didn't want Scott to see what they were going to do to me. I had to be strong.

I blocked Scott from the exit door, "I'll be right back!" I waived and disappeared with the nurse. I wish that I hugged him and kissed him before I went away, but I had to be strong. I guess I was more nervous than I originally thought. A lot more nervous.

I followed her through the halls of radiology. "So were you in a different department?" she asked, making conversation.

"Yes, they originally sent us to nuclear." I tripped over my own words. All of a sudden I'd forgotten how to say nuclear and I didn't want to pronounce it the way Bush does, so I ended up slurring the end of my sentence. A lot more nervous, I thought again.

One opened-butt gown later and the nurse spread the jelly on my neck and the ultrasound began. I reminded her that the pain was on my left side, and she told me she needed to see what the right side looks like as well.

"So, um, lumps in your neck, are they normal—I mean common?" I asked.

The nurse widened her eyes and shook her head no. Okay then. Not common. So imagine my surprise when the ultrasound screen showed five of them on the right side of my neck, and that wasn't even the side that hurt. She saved each screen and measured each lump. I quit asking questions, deciding that maybe ignorance was really bliss in this circumstance.

The nurse adjusted her pressure when she moved to the left side of my throat. Bob quickly appeared and took up the entire ultrasound screen. I'm familiar with Bob. He's the giant lump that made my breathing shallow, eating difficult, and yawning painful. He's the lump that I've had since January and is visible to the naked eye. Stupid Bob the tumor.

Once again, the nurse froze the screen and captured Bob. She said he's about the size of a ping pong ball and, according to the screen, he's got some brothers and sisters behind him on the left side as well.

The doctor arrived and everyone suited up: hair nets, surgical masks, et al. "The good news is that the lump-"



"She named her lump," explained the nurse. "Bob."

She laughed. "Okay! Well then. The good news is that Bob is so big we won't have to do a lot of digging with the needles. We can go in and get our samples and get out."

There was a pinch and then fire filled my neck as she injected the local anesthetic. The biopsy began. To my left was the doctor with the scary, tissue-collecting needles and to my right was the ultrasound machine that showed the needle plunging into my neck, towards Bob. I chose to close my eyes for the procedure.

I could feel the needle and the poking and prodding, it just didn't hurt. I was okay with that. Her promises were going swimmingly until she took the needle and shook it furiously while it was still in my neck. "Just need a good sample!" she chirped as I involuntarily groaned, realizing that I had been holding my breath the entire time.

"You're doing really well," the nurse offered. "Do you want to hold my hand?"

Lying on the bed, I couldn't even remember where my hands were. I flexed my right hand and discovered it was in my left hand. I was holding my own hand. My only goal for the biopsy was to not cry, so I accepted the nurse's hand. One hand on the ultrasound and the other comforting me; I was grateful for her.

The doctor plunged the needle in my throat and swished it around two more times and then the procedure was over. A Band-Aid, a pack of ice, and the nurse showed me the way back to my boyfriend. "He was really worried about you, you know," she said. "He was very anxious, so you better get back to him."

Despite the absence of drugs, I was dizzy and reeling over the whole ordeal. I couldn't walk, only shuffle unsteadily back to the ultrasound waiting room. Scott took my arm and guided me as I teetered down the hallway, towards the car to go home.

"What'd they say?"

"They said I get a free blow job pass."

"No, when will you know?"

"A week."

And so we wait.


Tilly said...

Whoa. I will praying for and thinking of you. Please, please, please know that.

treacle said...

Sarah, I echo Tilly's words. Fingers, toes and everything crossed. Big hugs. xxx

Anonymous said...

Best wishes for a positive outcome on this. Sorry to read you're going through this. I really enjoy your blog. It's honest and real. I haven't been by in a long time as I've been away from my old blog and just recently started a new one, but I will check in again soon to read how you are doing.

PS. I am bummed that I missed out on the deadline for your blog post submissions. I would have loved to submit something from my old blog :(

Breanne Gentner said...

That's so scary.... I hope everything turns out to be a-okay... :(

I will definitely be praying and thinking of you, as will everyone else I am sure.


Anonymous said...

Sarah, I am so sorry this is happening to you. Although I don't know you I almost feel like I do from reading your blog. I, too, will be thinking of you and praying for you. May God bless you, Stephanie

J said...

Oh hun, I am thinking of you and praying for the best. Take care of yourself! Extra big hugs.

dont eat the token said...

I was lying there with you, wringing my own hands. I find I do that, too, when I'm scared and big needles are near me.

Prayers for healthy and happy outcomes. x

Anonymous said...

Sarah, you're in my thoughts. Keep strong hun, and very best wishes for good news. It's a very tough time, be kind to yourself sweets.


Enny said...

Oh dear - you HAVE been busy!
Keeping you in my thoughts :o)

Anonymous said...

You were very brave, well done! Keep thinking positive thoughts

L x

Vi said...

Oh geez Sarah! I hope the outcome for this is good for you. xxx

Peach said...

well done for even trying not to cry ... very brave


Diane Mandy said...

Thank you for posting about this, I've been thinking about you and am keeping fingers and toes crossed!

Lpeg said...

fingers crossed for a good outcome. xx

kristin said...

i'm praying for you. xo

SuvvyGirl said...

Okay I'd been bummed that you hadn't posted much in a while. I take it back now. After reading that I feel very...something. It's kind of like when someone hits you in the stomach and knocks the air out of you.

Biopsies suck. Try having one done on the inside of your netheregions. Not fun. Although I think I'd choose that over the whole neck thing. Too easy to see.

I'm sorry you had to go through that. The waiting is always hard. I hate not knowing things as I'm sure you do too.

Glad Scott is there for you. Will be awaiting the outcome that I'm sure will be good.

Anonymous said...

[BIG HUG] Thinking of you!

Paige Jennifer said...

Someone in Philly is thinking about you.


AmyB said...

Sarah!! You have me very worried...I am praying that everything is OK and they just need to get Bob the hell outta there so you can be back to good. Good luck and hang in there! You were very strong... :o)

Megan said...

good luck with all of this. i really hope everything turns out ok. i know the waiting must be so hard, but you really handled that situation so bravely.

Cara said...

Hoping everything turns out to be just a big scare.




Anonymous said...

Hey fingers and legs crossed for you!! Really hope it turns out to be nothing!!! Went through the same thing a couple of weeks back know exactly how you feel,(found a lump under arm, mine wasn't good news hodgkin's lymphoma..and really not as bad as it sounds!!).

Reading your blog for a couple month's your a strong babe!! will get though this!

Anonymous said...

Not much to add, but that I am thinking of you too....good positive thoughts that there will be nothing, and that it will allgo away with some really smelly ointment!

Amber said...

Oh Sarah... Hun, that is some scary shit you went through and you were very, very, brave. Even if a bit stubborn to not let someone that loves you be there by your side.

I guess... in an odd way... I get that, though.

If you need a friend or someone to talk to... you know you can always call! I miss our chats! Things have just been incredibly busy and I've been a TERRIBLE correspondant both online and "IRL."

Give me a holler when you get the results, okay?

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you and hope this all turns out okay !

Christina said...

Good luck, I hope all is okay. The more critical the news the faster they call you. I hope it is a long wait!

"*;*" said...

Ouch I felt that needle just reading about it.

My prayers are with you.

Dark Side said...

I have everything crossed for you Sarah..good luck..xx

general_boy said...

I just couldn't sit still while I read that... I was sqirming uncomfortably the whole time.

I hope everything turns out for the best Sarah. Thinking of you. :)

Raj said...

Just came across your blog. Was moved by your experience. Wishing you the very best. Take care.

Kennethwongsf said...

I hope the results bring good news. Sorry to hear about the traumatic procedure. I didn't realize what was involved.

M said...

oh my god, I hope you are okay hon. Update, please! I'm thinking about you.

TC said...

Oh my. Wishing and praying for the best for you.


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