Monday, 17 February 2014

A million pregnancy scares and then the time I thought I had cancer

In my early twenties I was married and had a somewhat lessai-faire approach to contraception.

*clears throat

As a consequence I made friends with the ol' pregnancy test stick device and I got quite used to peeing on them intermittently.

After a couple of pregnancy scares I decided to go on the Implanon. Awful, awful thing that was, for me anyway.

Afterwards my body wasn't quite the same, although I was only on it for 3 months. 3 loooooong months.

Anyway a few years after the Implanon my body was doing strange things and I went to see a doctor. He asked me a bunch of questions then sent me straight over for an ultrasound. The kind you get when your doctor is pretty sure you're preggars.

I was pretty young at the time. Maybe 24? Definitely not ready for babies. I tearfully went over to the radiologist and waited until my bladder was full enough for them to see my uterus.

There was a blob. A definite blob. The ultrasound technician lady was focussing in on it, and measuring it, and doing snapshots of it like crazy. My eyes were SO WIDE when I noticed her particular attention to it and, of course, I started wailing like a banchee. Through my sobs I managed to choke out, "i-is that a foetus?!" and continued crying while she measured and fussed. She told me she couldn't confirm or deny whether I was pregnant and that I would have to wait for the radiologists report.


She could have pointed to any one of the ten posters that were hanging on the wall (I'd noticed them but didn't draw the connection) and said that "that's what a foetus looks like". But she didn't and so I sobbed while she probed (internal ultrasound images look super cool but are neigh fun for the ladies).


When my report was ready it had a big sticker sealing the envelope opening that read:
"Do not attempt to interpret this report without consulting your doctor."
Of course I opened it immediately and scanned the images first and then the report.

It said "no foetus present, uterus and overies normal, small 4mm-5mm fibroid present in sub mucosol lining" (or something).

Okay phew. Not preggars.

But what is a fibroid?

I rang my friend M, an occupational therapist. She had medical books.

"I'm coming over", I told her. "I'm not pregnant but I have a fibroid, whatever that is."

"I'll have my books out ready for you love".

We looked up 'fibroid' in her medical dictionary.
"Fibroid, usually benign tumor which can grow and cause interferance with pregnancy or can in some cases become malignant."
I looked at M. My eyes were wide. She told me not to worry until I'd spoken to my doctor and found out what it actually was.

"B-but the report doesn't say it's benign", I told her.

"And it doesn't say it's malignant honey, anyway if you needed a biopsy they'd have told you in the report."

I rang my Mum, tearfully, with the awful news. (*laughs I really should have waited to see my doc.)

"I might not be able to get preggggnannnnnt", I wailed.

"It'll be okay darling, let's just find out what the doctor says."

Silly me, I'd picked up the report on a Friday afternoon, and my doctor didn't have any available appointments until the following Monday. Or maybe silly me, I'd opened the report.

It was a long weekend. When I finally saw my doctor he read the report, and scolded me for opening the envelope without him.

"As if I couldn't!" I said. He understood.

Then he said, "so everything looks good then, you've nothing to worry about."

"But w-what about the fibroid thingo?!" I asked.

"Oh it's nothing", he said, "a little freckle on your uterus, nothing to worry about they're pretty common".


That's why we don't open radiology reports without doctors.

So I was fine. Not pregnant. No malignant tumor. And much more careful with contraception after that. 

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