[The following appeared in the OC Register for a breast cancer feature.]
A small lump, as hard as a dried pea, forms in my breast.
"Hmm," says surgeon, and prescribes a mammogram.
"Come back in three months.
"Mammogram's negative," surgeon assures.
"Come back in (another) three months."
A bead of doubt, hard like the lump, forms in my thoughts.
Three months later I return.
"Cystic condition," says surgeon. "Come back. . ."
I know--three months.
For many months fear and my lump live together.
A year passes. My primary doctor feels the lump.
She urges, "Get to surgeon, immediately."
"We can do a biopsy," says surgeon, dismissively, "but it's nothing."
I wonder what is nothing--me or the lump?
Finally, the lump and I lie on the operating table clothed in a green.
"Don't worry, it's nothing," surgeon's says that word again.
I awaken with one breast.
Too late I change surgeons.
Three years pass.
With one breast I tell new surgeon of planned move.
"I don't usually do this but. . ." and hands me my original medical records.
I move across the country with them clutched to my one breast.
Courage and a new house, I read them, "Suspicious findings, biopsy needed."
Now, years later I live with one breast and two mistakes,
the surgeon's and mine, but I live.