It all began January 25, 2016. Although it was a year ago today, I remember it so vividly. It was a Monday and the DC-region had just had a terrible snow storm over the weekend – they called it “Snowzilla” and where I live in Waldorf, MD we got about 23” in two days.
Pretty much everything in/around DC was closed so I was off that Monday. I was enjoying sleeping in and a day off when all of a sudden my phone rings around 10 a.m. I was wondering who it was because most everything was closed and I don’t answer phone if I don’t know the number – local or not – and this time was no different.
The caller left a voicemail and I listened and it was my radiology clinic where I had just had my annual mammogram the week before and they said my results were in and I needed to schedule a follow up to get them. Huh? I’ve been getting mammograms for 10 years, I have never got a call to come in and get my results, I usually get a notification in the mail that everything is fine and I keep it moving.
My stress level went from 0 to 152 (on a 1-10 scale) in less than two seconds. I called the radiology clinic back and asked for my results, of course they couldn’t give them to me over the phone because I needed to talk to the radiologist. I couldn’t get any information about what was happening – only that I needed to come in as soon as possible.
I looked outside and my driveway was completely covered in snow and our street hadn’t been cleared yet, so I knew that I wouldn’t be going anywhere that day. I was now wide awake and completely stressed out so I took my stress out on my driveway and began shoveling.
I used that time to decide if I wanted to tell my family or if I should wait to tell them because I wasn’t for sure what was happening. Initially, I decided to keep the information to myself – there’s no need to worry anyone until I know if there’s something to worry about.
After the day stressing – and chain smoking cigarettes – I decided to call my sister, who is also a breast cancer survivor, and talk with her hoping she would calm me down. I remember the conversation, I told her about the call from the radiology clinic and asked her, “On a scale of 1-10, how freaked out should I be?” She said, “You should be a 15! You know our family history!” Gee thanks.
We decided I should wait before I said anything to my mom or anyone because I didn’t want to worry people for no reason because I literally had no answers – only that I needed to go in for another mammogram. That could have meant something happened to the film or I wasn’t in the right angle. I decided to wait and see …
January 25, 2016 is the day that my life completely changed – I just didn’t know it at the time.