Friday, April 10, 2009

Incidental Finding

I have dark hair and pale skin. Rather large freckles appear sparingly on my skin. I’ve a tendency to worry excessively and take medication to prevent depressive episodes. I’m dramatic, but mostly kind unless cornered into being vicious. It is easy to make me laugh – I often find myself in fits of giggles over something or another. I have a Mittendorf dot in one of my eyes and the ankle I sprained never healed quite right. My left knee has a tendency to dislocate and I have severe headaches rather regularly.

“But I don’t want it,” I said quietly, staring at the screen. I nodded when assured it wasn’t dangerous, patting her hand when she rested it comfortingly on my arm. I couldn’t look away from the shapes appearing in grayscale – the curve of spine that contains an extra vertebrae, the pleasing symmetry of kidneys, the appearance of anatomy that is normally safely hidden under layers of skin and fat and muscle. “It’s ugly,” I noted of the circular mass on my uterus.

Another woman peered over our shoulders before clicking on a tool to measure the fibroid they’d found by accident. “No symptoms?” she asked as the small line appeared on the screen and noted it was about 5 cm in all directions. A sphere of grossness, I decided, wrinkling my nose even as I shook my head. “Cramps, bleeding, pain?”

“No,” I replied. “Nothing out of the ordinary for me. I’m very regular and do suffer a bit, but it’s nothing Advil can’t fix. But I still don’t want it,” I concluded, still looking at it and trying to figure out what part of my abdomen housed the fibroid what part of me should hurt. I'm bad at relating blurry images to the pieces of body they represent.

“It looks like it’s in the very outer layer,” one of them noted, zooming in and looking more closely. “That’s probably why it’s not hurting you.”

“I have a follow-up on Monday,” I reminded them, having made the appointment after learning of this abnormality while traveling.

“I’m sorry,” my traveling buddy for this trip replied when I mentioned the news at breakfast and I blinked at him. “Don’t be sorry!” I wanted to say. “It’s not a big deal. Nothing scary or bad or worthy of sympathy. It’s fine.” I even rolled my eyes at myself, good-naturedly abashed over my immediate assumption that each twinge of discomfort I felt on the long plane ride home was due to my fibroid.

We landed after midnight and in the last moments of Thursday, I blinked back tears over worst case scenarios. I don’t know what my childbearing plans are – it’s likely that I won’t have any given the way life is currently going. But the thought that this could be something other than benign and the subsequent necessity to remove the organ that contains it, left me mourning the loss of possibility.

“I’m not even married,” I told the women and swallowed against a sob when they regarded me with quiet sympathy. “I don’t want surgery or an impaired ability to have a healthy pregnancy. I don’t want this.”

“You’re fine,” one replied gently. “We'll look at it some more. Since it’s not bothering you, monitoring is the most likely outcome. It’s not that uncommon – many women have these and some never know.”

I looked at the screen again, burning the image into my mind. Knowledge is good, I reminded myself. It offers options and early detection is vastly positive. Ignorance, I sighed as I forced myself to rise and leave the room with thanks for their time, was a bit blissful though.

12 comments:

saxifraga said...

I'm sorry to hear that you've been worried. I hope it turns out not to be a big problem. Hugs.

Psycgirl said...

(((katie))) I hope it turns out to be nothing, but I would worry in the same situation too. I'm glad you posted so we can all give you bloggy hugs

Brigindo said...

So sorry you're worried but I'm sure it is not a big deal. Fibroids are very common. Scary though, especially finding out while traveling and away from the comforts of home.

Warm and positive thoughts coming at you.

Unbalanced Reaction said...

Yuck for visiting the doc away from home. Fibroids run in my family, so every year I hold my breath when I go for my checkup. I've read that fibroids tend to shrink or go away completely during pregnancy and some never need to be treated...but of course your doctors will give you the real scoop. Good luck, and definitely get second/third opinions before acting on any medical advice.

ScienceWoman said...

Oof Katie. Hope everything turns out OK. Hugs.

Citronella said...

I'm glad you're not having any symptoms, and I hope it turns out to be no reason to worry at all.

Psych Post Doc said...

((Katie)) I'm sorry. It sounds like it really isn't that bad (especially since you're not having symptoms. I hope it just goes away and neither surgery or any other procedures are needed.

post-doc said...

Thank you, ladies. I'm grateful for the support and warm wishes. My appointment is tomorrow and while I remain worried and unhappy about the whole thing, I'm feeling reasonably calm. For now.

Amanda@Lady Scientist said...

I'm a bit late with my blog reading, but I hope that the follow up appointment shows that it's nothing. I'll be thinking of you.

Dr. Brazen Hussy said...

Hugs to you. I hope everything turns out ok.

Jenn, PhD said...

I'm late reading too... sorry Katie. I hope the follow up eases your mind.

JustMe said...

oh katie, i'm so sorry! i totally feel you on this one... we should talk! i hope things go well...

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