Under The Knife

Cree glanced nervously at his watch, realizing that he’d arrived fifteen minutes early.

“Typical,” he thought to himself as he opened the door to Carolina East Diagnostic Center.

“Good morning ma’am, how can I help you?”

“I’m here for a biopsy,” Cree told her politely.

“Absolutely, may I have your name and date of birth please?”

“Cree Dalene, 12 April 1986.”

She quickly typed in his info, and confirmed a few more details before inviting him to take a seat, as he was just a little early. Cree knew that meant they’d told him to be there fifteen minutes before the actual appointment. That meant he’d arrived thirty minutes early, and had to fidget for awhile, imagining the worst that could happen.

He caught himself cupping the base of his left breast as Cree contemplated the possibilities. There was a chance that he could loose them, even though they’d been around less than a full year.

The Road So Far

First, finding a lump had scared him enough. Then, having Naval Medicine give him a quick ultrasound and declaring that there was no lump felt incredibly frustrating. He’d finally told Dr Barr, his endocrinologist, and she’d immediately asked to do a quick exam.

Within minutes she’d confirmed the lump, and sent Cree to schedule an actual mammogram with her referral. The mammogram confirmed without a doubt that a dime sized lump resided in his left breast. So, without knowing what else to do, Cree was scheduled for a biopsy.

Crystal had come with him for the initial pre-op. He’d had to answer so many questions in only about forty five minutes… and now, here he was.


“Ms. Dalene?” A nurse called from the back.

Cree paused a moment, still getting used to how people saw him now. Then he followed her back to what looked like high end changing rooms at a shopping center. Here, the nurse handed him a hospital gown, and asked that he fasten it with the opening in the front.

After getting changed, Cree locked his belongings into a small locker provided there, and stepped out of the changing room. The nurse graciously led him to an operating theater. The cool dark room reminded Cree of something you might see in a horror flick.

“Please lay down, an ultrasound technician will be with you momentarily.”

As he took his place, a shorter lady stepped in, and asked Cree to uncover the left side of his chest, and lay back. Then, she told him about the gell, as she put some on where the lump was. She began scanning and within moments had the area of the breast around the lump pulled up.

“Hello Ms. Dalene!” A slightly larger gentleman in a lab coat said as he walked in.

The Procedure

He kept that cheerful demeanour the entire procedure. First, explaining that he would make a small incision on the left side, just above the rib cage. Then, he told Cree about the local anesthesia he’d be using just as Cree felt a slight prick. Next, The surgeon explained that he’d be inserting a biopsy tool and that Cree could watch the screen.

Cree glanced at the ultrasound screen to see what looked like a giant needle with a hook on the end in his breast. Without any warning, Cree heard a loud “SNAP” but he found he couldn’t react. Then, there were three more snaps and the surgeon announced they were done.

“All right, that’ll do. Your doctor will call you with the results as soon as we have them.”

“Thank you Sir,” Cree told him grateful that the procedure was over.

“Don’t been in too big a hurry, the nurse will give you your instructions.”


Sure enough, the nurse came in a as soon as Cree finished wiping the goop off his chest, and began giving instructions. The first one was putting an ice pack on the incision alternating every fifteen minutes. Then, there was the fast that he wasn’t allowed to run, swim, jump, push, pull, lift, or really anything.

“Any questions?”

“No ma’am,” Cree said, feeling a little overwhelmed.

Lessons Learned

When the results came back from the lab, Dr. Barr called Cree immediately to let him know they were negative. The lump turned out to be Fibrosis, in this case from scar tissue from childhood.

Things Done Well

  • Recognizing when things were wrong
  • Overcoming fear and getting help
  • Acting on intuition, rather than giving up

Things To Fix

I feel I handled this pretty well.

Count Your Blessings

  1. Having healthy breasts.
  2. Dr. Barr, who took my concerns seriously.
  3. Carolina East for the professional and courteous staff.

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