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Leeking Ink #30 COVER Leeking Ink #30 Contents
Retrospective (SL 1-5)
Tick-tock, Tick-Tock
Retrospective (SL 6-11)
Familial Flora and Fauna
Retrospective (SL 12-17)
It’s a Long Way from Temporary
Retrospective (Sl/LI 18-20)
Explaining the Stretch Marks
Retrospective (LI 21-29)

Tock-Tock, Tick-Tock

November 18, 2004

Patrick and I were in the middle of an argument when I accidentally found the lump. I was fuming when I suddenly blurted out, “I just found a lump.” There was momentary silence and the argument ceased in that instant. To this day I have no idea what we were fighting about, but it must have been petty in the scheme of things. I had found a lump in my breast. I called my doctor the next morning and scheduled an appointment. They were able to take me Monday morning. The unknown loomed over me all weekend.

November 22, 2004

Getting dressed I debated what one should wear when planning a morning of fondling by medical personnel. I opted for a plaid lavender button down shirt and lavender sweater. In an unusual moment of Martha Stewartesque need for control, I went so far as to find a purple bra and underwear. This seemed neurotic, but not enough to warrant much concern.

I was too edgy to sit at home and wait to leave for my 10am appointment, so I did what any normal person with my disposition would do – I got my oil changed. When that didn’t kill enough time I bought mats for my photographs and then went to the grocery store. I then gave up killing time and drove to the doctor’s office a half hour early. My mother had had the same morning of impatient waiting and was already there.

My paperwork took three times as long as the visit and I was given a referral for a mammogram. I drove to a local radiology center and was lucky to be given a slot. The mammogram smashed my poor little boobs and I was glad I wasn’t as sensitive as some women. I waited near the tv and read a cover story on Johnny Depp in People. I assumed I was done and awaiting word of when my doctor could expect the results.

Instead I was told I needed an ultrasound. This didn’t seem like a good thing. The lump was evident right away and I watched on the monitor as the technician took photos of it. On one hand I was relieved that there actually was a lump, which meant I wasn’t crazy and imagining it. On the other hand, this lump could be life-altering.

The tech left the room and I sat there shivering and wondering if this 17.7 mm oval held my fate. I’m a 32-year-old vegan, I go to yoga once a week, I don’t smoke and rarely drink, and there isn’t a family history of breast cancer. As I sat in the cold, dark ultrasound room looking at a fetal development poster, I assumed the only way I’d have a lower risk of breast cancer was if I had a penis. But, still…the possibility was there glowing on the monitor. Why should I be so lucky when others aren’t?

Tick-tock I had gotten older. I hadn’t felt like a 12-year-old all day, which is often how I feel. Tick-tock.

My eyes roamed back and forth between the monitor and the fetal development poster. Tick-tock, with each ocular arch, I had gotten older. I had never been a granddaughter, sister, or niece. Looking at the poster, was the decision to be mother and grandmother being made for me as well? Tick tock. What did I want? It is easier to make declarations and decisions about not wanting something when the decision is (seemingly) in your hands.

Whether I had 5 months or 50 years, was I living how I wanted to live? Would I have regrets? Tick-tock, tick-tock.

When the tech returned to the room with a doctor in tow I got scared. I couldn’t understand why he was there unless it was bad news. He explained it wasn’t a cyst, that was certain, but that it was likely a benign tumor. He said my doctor would look over the reports and decide if it would be best to watch the growth rate or schedule a biopsy.

The following day I got a call from my doctor that it was a fibroadenoma, which it turns out is a benign tumor common in young women. It should be monitored, but should cause me no problems. Regardless, the 17.7 mm implanted a lot of questions. Tick-tock.

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