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From the Editor's keyboard
By Lynda Duffy
Musings, thoughts and ideas from Lynda Duffy, editor of Williams/Grand Canyon News.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm happy to see this month end

Lynda Duffy
Former Editor

September has been a long month. I'm glad it's almost over. Summer is officially over and fall is here. Usually I notice the change in weather. This year, I did not.

On Aug. 25, I had a routine mammogram. I took the day off as a "health day." Once I was done with this routine procedure, I spent the rest of the day shopping. When I returned home, I had a voicemail telling me to call the screening place right away. The mammogram showed a peanut-size shape in my right breast. I was scheduled for a re-test Sept. 3.

I spent Labor Day Weekend wondering what would happen if I failed the second mammogram, too. I didn't tell anyone what was going on. I pretended everything was fine.

Sept. 3 came and I nervously went for the second mammogram. I flunked this time, too. I went to my truck, took a deep breath, called my husband and told him the news. Being the eternal optimist, he told me everything would be fine.

My physician called me that night at home. She told me she was so, so sorry and then informed me that she was scheduling me to see a surgeon, one that she would see herself if this had happened to her. I was further terrified.

The next day, I found out that a consultation with a surgeon would happen on Sept. 11. I began to hate weekends. The last two had been so long because in my head, I was doing hourly countdowns towards the next doctor appointment, while pretending everything was fine with everyone else.

Sept. 11 finally came and I met with my surgeon. I sincerely hope that you never have a panic attack. I had one in the surgeon's waiting room. I could hardly fill out any paperwork. I was shaking uncontrollably. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. When I met with the surgeon, he assured me that this wasn't likely bad, and made me feel somewhat better. Surgery was scheduled for Sept. 17. Another long weekend stood before me. I began to wonder how many more "long weekends" I could take. It was becoming increasingly difficult to pretend that everything was okay. I told only a handful of folks ... those that would be affected by my absence from work ... what was going on. They all looked horrified when I told them the news.

Sept. 17 finally came. I didn't have a panic attack that morning because my doctor had given me anti-anxiety drugs. Still, more drugs had to be administered prior to surgery because I couldn't calm down. Finally, I went to sleep. When I awoke, it was all over. There was very little pain. I went to Taco Bell. I still must have had medication in my system, because when I came home, I did all my chores like a madwoman, called everyone to tell them I was okay and ate the contents of my refrigerator.

About 5:30 p.m., the drugs wore off and I was violently ill. I was unable to eat for two days. I wouldn't recommend this diet to anyone. Luckily, I have no small children at home, so I could rest all I wanted. My cat became irritated with me because I was using "his" bed all day, and we don't share well.

Finally, at 3:15 p.m. on Sept. 19, the surgeon's office called to tell me that the lump tested negative and that I would be fine. All I had to do was show up for a follow up appointment on Sept. 25. Yeah! Finally, I had a real weekend to look forward to! No more countdowns!

I am so relieved to know that I am okay. I'm still a little tired, but I feel as though 1,000 pounds has been taken off my back. It is both a relief and a joy to be my goofy self again. It is my hope that this experience makes me a stronger and better person. I have vowed to laugh more, live my life to the fullest and love like I never have before.

To share this story with anyone is huge for me. I am an extremely private person. I wear a poker face at all times. I never let my guard down. So, why did I decide to share my story with you? Perhaps it will save someone's life. Please share this story with every woman you know. Annual physicals and mammograms are a must for every woman. If you haven't taken care of this yet, please call your health care provider today. Life is too short. Make sure your life is long and healthy. God bless.

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