Life as an Extreme Sport

I Had Two Ultrasounds This Morning

I had two ultrasounds this morning. Your standard, fill-your-bladder-and-let-them-press-really-hard-because-haha, ultrasound, and a transvaginal ultrasound. So, obviously, the intent was to stare at my uterus. I’ve been suffering from menorrhagia off and on for a while – more on than off of late – and given the family history of fibroids, it seemed likely that was the problem. Perhaps endometriosis. Either way, the fix was simple and convenient (a Mirena); I just needed the ultrasounds to get that rolling.

I had two ultrasounds this morning. The radiologist is on-site, and the technician thought it was likely that my scans would be read by this afternoon, although the doctor probably wouldn’t look at them until Monday. Fair enough. I already had an ob/gyn appointment scheduled on Monday, so timing worked out well – electronic health records can be a pain in some regards, but in this case they were certainly working out in my favour.

I had two ultrasounds this morning. I was done at 8:30am. My doctor called me at 11am. It’s not fibroids. It’s not endometriosis. It looks like polyps. It looks like endometrial hyperplasia. It looks like a lot of things that were in the 10% or so category I didn’t even consider. It looks like my ob/gyn appointment will be discussing biopsies and curettage and a lot of things I don’t know enough about to spend time on the internet researching because I’m going to give myself WebMD Syndrome.

My primary care doctor did her best to adopt Doctor Voice, steady and reassuring. Hard to say, could be bad, could be benign, the important thing was to get the process started quickly and to be prepared for this to move very fast, if necessary. Hopefully it wouldn’t be – hopefully this will be a monitor and treat (with hey, a Mirena – see an on-going theme?), but I needed to be prepared.

It’s a Friday afternoon and I’m not entirely sure how I prepare for this. I tried to see if I could get an appointment today (lesson learned – no more diagnostics on a Friday), but my ob/gyn wasn’t available. Monday was the soonest, and hey, I have that. So now I have the weekend to prepare for I’m not sure what – while they typically do biopsies the same day/in office (at least per my sister), there are just too many factors to know and “prepare” is such a vague and frankly ominous word.

So instead I have to sit, and think, and be with my thoughts. For a good Buddhist, this might not be an issue, but as we have discussed in the past, I am a very bad Buddhist.

I thought about just staying quiet. A few people, I told – the ones I would interact with over the weekend and know me well enough to know something is off. But I could just swallow everything with this, the fear and terror, the memories of my mother, and wait it out. I’m already not sleeping, so what is a little more stress?

And then I thought, of all people, of Xeni Jardin. I don’t know Xeni. I don’t tend to read Boing Boing. But you cannot live on the internet without knowing how she faced the possibility – and then diagnosis – of breast cancer. In fact, I had been thinking about how Xeni live-blogged her first mammogram as I was walking in to the ultrasound suite, and joked with the technician that I should tweet the ultrasounds, a sort of “what’s it really like” thing, because of the politicization of transvaginal ultrasounds this year.

I don’t pretend I am a Xeni Jardin. And I will be honest: I hope that I will have at most a week of uncomfortable rattling around in my head, thinking about how Mom was diagnosed with cancer almost – no, I’m sorry, exactly six years ago today. That? Is actually – I’m not sure if I’m laughing or crying, but I kind of suspect both.

In some ways, that’s a bit of a confirmation of what I was going to say, which is that I hope I will have at most a week of uncomfortable rattling around in my head, thinking about Mom and her cancer diagnosis, which is probably going to kick me to do a bit more writing of the kind I was doing six years ago. More narrative and emotion, more reflecting and self-reflection. And I find that what I wrote six years ago, to the damned bloody day, still holds true now:

I wasn’t going to write about this, not at first. It doesn’t belong here, it’s a personal experience, it’s not what people expect, if at this point there are any expectations. But I realized, while talking with GM this morning, that we don’t have the language to express what we’re thinking and feeling when someone tells us that their loved one is very ill. And I’m not sure we have the language to talk about it, either. We certainly don’t have the culture, in either case. And maybe this isn’t a healthy thing. Maybe it’s just another symptom of a sick society, and the cure is to challenge the norm of ‘I’m so sorry” “thank you” and actually move towards something more.

Once again, I found myself having to make a choice, having to decide how to define my interaction with important people in my life. With blogging. With Twitter. Once again, I could step up to the plate, be more aggressive than I might normally be inclined towards, and be honest – painfully honest – or I could simply walk away. Turn into a ghost and just disappear.

This is one of the hardest things I think I will have ever typed.

I had two ultrasounds this morning, and I am afraid.


  1. The not knowing is the hardest part, in my opinion. May the Calm and Serenity Faeries come beat you with their happy sticks….but in the meanwhile, here’s a *squeeeze* 🙂

    For what it’s worth, I’m hoping whatever it turns out to be, it’s easily dealt with (Mirena!).

  2. I am holding my breath for you. In the larger scheme of things I know this is worth nothing, but that was beautifully written. Thank you for writing and sharing it. The hours are long, painful, and lonely when filled with fear and sadness. I am holding you in my thoughts.

  3. Hope you have something interesting planned for today. Write your fear on a piece of paper, put it in a pocket to take with you so you know you’re not trying to avoid it and then get out and do something. Your fear does not want to take over, it just wants to be acknowledged.

  4. I’m going through a similar situation in these hours with a very dear friend, who is sleeping next to me. I’m writing from Italy. I’m afraid too. What I can tell uou is: Let in the people you love.

Comments are closed.