I have a bothersome right booby. It hasn’t always been bothersome, in fact both boobies where quite useful through almost six continuous years of breastfeeding. I often referred to myself as a human Häagen Dazs machine. Neither Olivia nor Yannick took to a bottle and would wait for hours to be fed straight from the source.
Nope, this booby wasn’t deemed bothersome until I started getting mammograms three years ago. From the first time I visited Pennsylvania Hospital’s Women’s Imaging Center, I’ve been the last lady standing at my annual mammogram appointments. What should be a 45 mins. event becomes an unfortunate adventure involving multiple X-rays, ultrasounds and ultimately ends with a prescription for a needle biopsy.
Thankfully, the prior biopsies have come back benign, until this year, but I’m jumping ahead of myself because just getting the pathology report on this last biopsy was a raggedy ordeal. First, the radiologist told me that I would hear from someone in “a few days.” What the heck does that mean and who would be making the call? I had the biopsy on Tuesday afternoon and by Friday afternoon; I was calling my OB/GYN looking for the test results. I finally received a telephone call the following Monday informing me that everything was fine. GREAT! The only problem is I got another telephone call three days later telling me that a mistake was made and I needed to make an appointment with a breast surgeon. The radiologist explained that the biopsy revealed a papilloma. All of this sounded like Greek to me or maybe I was simply in shock, but all I could think to ask is how does one go about finding a breast surgeon? Should I look in the Yellow Pages, Google, what? The radiologist recommended Dr. Dahlia Sataloof, but warned that I wouldn’t be able to get an appointment for a few weeks. She assured me it wasn’t a rush, but to get on her calendar as soon as possible. I called as soon as I hung up with the radiologist and was offered an appointment the following week.
Once I caught my breath and tried to digest all of this, I called my ace-in-a-hole, cousin/sister, Allyson. She’s an OB/GYN and I knew she’d answer all of my questions. I tried to repeat word for word all the radiologist said, but once I finished, Allyson was as confused and I was. According to Allyson, a papilloma is no big deal and on top of being angry by how all of this had been handled, she insisted on coming to my appointment with Dr. Sataloof. Sounds good to me!
After collecting the films from my previous mammograms and folder full of ultrasound reports, Allyson and I headed to my appointment with Dr. Sataloof. Allyson was eager to get our questions answered. We learned the papilloma found in my right breast was a heterogeneous tumor and although the doctor is confident it will be benign, the only way to be sure is to take it out completely and have it tested because if you biopsy one part and it comes back clean, the same tumor could be malignant in another part. Once Allyson heard “heterogeneous tumor,” she agreed 100% that we needed to get the pesky bugger out!
Four days prior to my surgery date, I received a call from Sataloof’s office making sure I understood the pre-surgical procedures and reminded me to arrive at the hospital admissions with my insurance card, photo I.D. and my co-pay. Yesterday, while I was being processed by the admissions officer, she asked for my $200.00 co-pay and because my head wasn’t on straight because I wasn’t allowed my morning tea prior to my surgery, I assumed I’d heard her incorrectly and asked her to repeat herself. It seems I’d heard her just fine and she needed me to hand over 200 bucks to keep this train moving. I slid her my ATM card in total disbelief. Maybe I’m naïve, but don’t you think someone should have mentioned the co-pay would exceed any of the fees listed on my insurance card?
Once I checked in, I headed straight to the Women’s Imaging Center where additional X-rays were taken, local anesthesia was given and two medium-sized needles were placed and remained in my boob to indicate for the surgeon the location of the small tumor. All of this occurred before 9:15am and from the Center I was taken to the outpatient surgical unit. More papers to sign, a briefing with Dr. Sataloof and the anesthesiologist and then we waited for my turn in the surgical queue. Finally, at 1:30pm Dr. Sataloof came and apologized for the wait and assured me that I’d be going into surgery in about 10 minutes. A surgical nurse came for me, I bid Loverman adieu and walked (whatever happened to being ushered in on a gurney?) to surgery.
To be honest, I don’t even remember laying down on the table, it seemed the moment I got a hit of whatever knockout juice they provided; I was in la la land and felt absolutely no pain! I started to come to before it was all over and remember hearing Dr. Sataloof saying that I may need another hit but I flagged her off and started telling the surgical staff and anyone else who’d listen about Miss Olivia’s accomplishments in the school’s science fair. Like I said, no pain.
Dr. Sataloof packed the wound and tightly wrapped my chest with an ace bandage. After she finished, I tried to swing my legs over to the side of the table in an attempt to get down and as she caught me and asked me to lie back down, I explained I thought I was supposed to walk my butt to recovery since I walked it into surgery.
Post-surgical instructions include taking it easy for the next couple of days, no driving for 24 hours and no heavy lifting. Loverman and I stopped and picked up my prescription of Tylenol w/codeine on our way home to wait for the pathology report.
Although, the road to resolving my bothersome booby hit a few bumps, my experience is no comparison to the horror stories I’ve heard throughout this endless healthcare reform debate. I’m confident all will be fine and I am so thankful for having adequate health insurance and the sincere prayers and well wishes from my family and friends.