Fear and Waiting

I am scared. I am scared. And I am scared.

In the middle of January, I notice a bruise on my right breast. Periodically I get mystery bruises, and I figure that I walked into something in my garage or garden.

One week later, a small lump rises on the bruise. Okay, I’m a klutz. No biggie.

Two weeks later, the lump and bruise merge into a larger purple mass. When I finally see the transformation, a chill sweeps through my body.

Oh shit, not again.

                                                    * * * * *

I call Kaiser (my HMO.) “There’s a lump on my breast and I need to schedule an ultrasound.” I am told that someone from Radiology will call within 48 hours. I sit at home waiting.

On the eighth day, when I take my car into the mechanic, Radiology finally calls. I phone back as soon as I get home. I call back every single day for the next five days. “There’s a rapidly growing lump on my breast. I need to schedule an ultrasound.”

From my first phone call, it takes two weeks before I speak to Radiology. Two weeks of heart palpitations and sometimes not being able to breathe. Two weeks of waking up from nightmares in which my body is covered in large purple lesions. Two weeks of watching the lump grow.

Two weeks is an unconscionable amount of time to make someone wait for a phone call.