Already having cancer unfortunately does not make you immune to possibly getting another type of cancer. In November 2015, I went in to have my annual mammogram. I didn't think anything of it until I got a call two days later saying that the radiologist saw something on the mammogram that wasn't seen on the last one a year ago. They indicated that I needed another mammogram and possibly an ultrasound. I asked to be seen as soon as possible, as waiting is the hardest!

I was seen two days later, but my experience at an area hospital was not a good one. I went in for the mammogram and then waited for the radiologist to look at the images. I was then told that the radiologist wanted me to have an ultrasound. At this point, I started to really worry. The tech did the first ultrasound, and then the radiologist came in to look for herself. During the time she was in the room, she didn't speak to me. She said some things back and forth with the tech. I was very anxious and just wanted to hear that it was nothing! After about 10 – 15 minutes, she looked at me and said that I needed biopsies of two spots and that "it could go either way."

I don't remember much of what she said after that, as I was completely scared and overwhelmed. When she left the room I looked at the tech and asked her if the radiologist meant that I had a 50% chance of having cancer by the statement "it could go either way," and the tech said, "Yes."

I couldn't breathe well at that point. They had a nurse sit down with me and go over what the biopsy would be like, but I didn't really hear anything she said, as I just wanted to schedule the appointment. Unfortunately, the soonest appointment was 10 days later!

I went home and cried a lot and then, with the help of my twin sister, tried to get an appointment at a different location sooner. We were unable to get any sooner appointment. The next 10 days were extremely difficult. I was really scared and had to tell myself, sometimes out loud, to stop worrying. I would think about my children, my husband, chemo, radiation, surgery, stage of the cancer, etc. Little things would throw me off, like seeing a show about someone battling cancer. A few close friends and my immediate family knew, but I was unable to talk about it with anyone. Sometimes I had to remind myself to breathe deeply and focus on the positive.

The Monday of Thanksgiving week, I had my appointment for the biopsies. The radiologist, tech and nurse this time were great! They communicated with me every step of the way. The nurse even grabbed my hand when the first needle was going in to numb the area. At the end of the appointment, the radiologist said that I would know the results by about 2 p.m. the next day. I went to work the next day and just stared at my phone ALL DAY! In my mind I thought that they would call me early if they found nothing, so as the day went on my anxiety grew. Finally, at 3:30 p.m., I decided to call them, since I hadn't heard anything. They indicated that they had been busy all day with biopsies and a nurse would call me back.

About 15 minutes later, a nurse called and told me that she had good news for me! All the biopsies taken had come back benign. I started crying and heard about half of what else the nurse said to me! I felt extremely lucky to have gotten the news I wanted to hear. After calling my family and friends to share the good news I thought about the other people that had biopsies the same day I did, and hoped that everyone who was getting a call received good news.

Two days after I received the good news, I sat down with my family and celebrated Thanksgiving, feeling especially thankful for my family, my friends and my health.


Share Your Thoughts

Have you had additional cancer scares after your initial diagnosis? Share your comments below.

Thumbnail
About the Author

Carolyn Wesley grew up in the Milwaukee area within a very close family -- with her parents, Paul and Judy, an identical twin sister, Jeanette, her younger sister, Brenda, and younger brother, Gregory. Her father is Paul Joseph, who spent his career as our local expert meteorologist on TMJ-4 for 36 years. Carolyn was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer on August 19, 2010, three weeks after her identical twin sister, Jeanette Joseph, was diagnosed. The two years after being diagnosed, Carolyn went through two radioactive iodine treatments (RAI) and three surgeries (thyroidectomy and two left neck dissections). She has follow-up scans and blood work to monitor her thyroid cancer since it is still "detectable."

Add new comment

Carolyn Wesley
on June 7, 2018 - 12:24 pm

Maria-I am sending positive BENIGN thoughts your way! I know the waiting can be hard but sounds like the radiologist isn't too concerned.
I did not have my mammogram, ultrasound or biopsies done at Froedtert but if things would have not been benign I would have sought care there for sure!
Hope by the end of the week you get good news!

Maria Voermans
on June 7, 2018 - 12:24 pm

I am going through that exact same thing right now! I had stage III soft tissue sarcoma 7 years ago and last week had a mammogram and ultrasound. I have to have a biopsy on Thursday. The radiologist said that there is a low probability of cancer, so I am hopeful! Glad things turned out well for you!