Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Thank you all so, so much for your kind comments. Though I have never met the vast majority of you in person, it feels good to know that I have my expat buds around to help me get through things, and to keep me laughing.

Let me give you the rundown of how it got to this point. And, btw, I kind of like "Brystkræft" - sounds so much nicer than breast cancer, even if it actually means exactly the same thing! In my danglish eyes, I like to think of it as breast craft - and in the end, perhaps I will get to 'craft' a new breast. :)

It all started about 2 weeks or so ago when I found a lump. It's not like I religiously do self-exams or anything so the fact that I actually noticed was an accomplishment in and of itself. But, when I noticed, it scared the crap out of me, mostly because it WAS noticeable, and I knew right then and there, that it was probably not going to be good news.

I went to the local doctor (always an annoying experience) so that she could then refer me onward and upward. She confirmed that something was definitely there and so off went the referral.

Next step - Mammacentret Viborg. It's inside the hospital and after missing the entrance to the actual parking garage and driving in a big circle around Viborg (well, it felt like a circle after having passed through no fewer than 6 roundabouts), I finally caught the entrance the second time around and found a place to park. The hospital was about what I would expect, with the addition of a big 'netcafe' right off the main lobby, which I thought was actually kind of cool.

The mammacentret part had a big waiting room with tables and chairs, nice arrangements of candles everywhere (a Danish necessity) and pitchers of water, coffee and tea. Since the local doctor's office has an average waiting time of an hour, I figured I'd be sitting there awhile. Not so - they came and got me right away and trotted me off for the mammogram. That was exactly as expected, and as uncomfortable as expected. The nurse did speak quite a bit in Danish, and I actually understood most of it, which was cool. But she also understood that I didn't understand everything, and so, whenever necessary, she simply explained in English - something I definitely appreciated.

From there, I had to go have an ultrasound. The nurse explained that I would go in the next room with her, and that the doctor would review the films and then come in and do the ultrasound. When the door opened and the doctor came in, I was just a wee bit surprised to see that the doctor was actually one of my classmates from the sprog center - a woman from Poland. I knew she worked at the hospital, but it's a big place, and what are the odds that she would suddenly appear as 'the doctor'! I wondered if it would bother me at all, but she was professional, and in the end, it didn't really matter to me - I just wanted to get done with it all no matter who the doctor might be!

After doing the ultrasound for awhile, she then explained that she would need to do some biopsies. By now, I had already steeled myself for the worst possible scenario, so I wasn't surprised. Biopsy itself? Not really a pleasant experience. It doesn't hurt really, it's just annoying as hell. When all was said and done, and I was thoroughly poked and prodded, a biopsy was taken from under my arm, and 4 more from my breast - or was it 5. I don't remember at this point - let's just say it wasn't fun.

The nurse then got on the phone to make sure I could get the results and a follow-up appointment before the big Easter weekend, which I appreciated. Having to wait through Easter would have been horrible. So, last Wednesday we went in for the results and well, you already know what came of that.

What I did learn in the past two weeks is that certain common phrases in English don't translate well to someone who is not a native English speaker. When the doctor and nurse were explaining the results to us, and what to expect, etc., I basically said.. "Okay, we'll play it by ear." They couldn't figure out what the heck I was saying - oops!

So, what's next.

On April 28th, I will go in for surgery and I'll come back out a bit lopsided. I have no idea at this point what type of emotional reaction I may have. I'm hoping it really won't bother me much, but I really can't say as I simply cannot imagine it as I sit here now. Only time will tell.
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