They told her not to panic. It's common for women to be called back after a baseline mammogram. Dense breast tissue is difficult to see through and without a comparison, it's nearly impossible to know what is normal for that woman.
But when that woman is a nurse, or specifically an ER nurse, it's nearly impossible to avoid at least some level of concern.
And that is exactly what happened.
Nurse K nearly forgot that she had her baseline mammogram. It had been easy and almost fun because the staff was great to her that day. She should have known it wouldn't be that easy.
The phone call started with: "K, do not panic, but we need to call you back to further examine a thickening that we found on your mammogram."
Nurse K did not have time to go the following week and asked to postpone it.
The woman on the other end said, "There is no need to worry, but we need to see you next week."
Nurse K panicked. How could she not? She is young, with children, a husband and a life. It was true that no one had used the "C" word yet, but a thickening had to be bad, didn't it?
As many people do, Nurse K turned to the internet for answers. But what Nurse K knows is that a lot of information found on the web is either not accurate or not applicable to every situation. Nurse K knew to look at specific websites for more information. Instead of searching Breast Cancer, she used such terms as abnormal or repeat mammogram. She found a great website related to Radiology and Diagnostic testing that helped to ease her fears.
Nurse K also worried about her family. Being a nurse, she knows how to shield upsetting news and everyone close to her accuses her of that from time to time. So, she decided to use the internet to dispel any rumors or thoughts that she was not divulging the whole truth. The website The Abnormal Mammogram Result helped to calm the fears of all, especially her husband.
The week she had to wait dragged. Each day brought a little more angst and a lot more support than she could have imagined. The few women she told we ready to cancel all of their plans to go to the center with her.
It's at times like these that one realizes how much support friends and family offer. Stay tuned to find out if the results of Nurse K's mammogram.
Note: the photo in this article is from the NIH and not Nurse K's actual mammogram.