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On March 6th, I walked up the hill from Nuçi’s Space to meet Rachel and Finley for lunch. It was the first day of Finley’s spring break from school so eating together was a treat for us.
A few weeks earlier Rachel shared with me that she had felt a lump in her right breast. I asked if she had visited her OB/GYN yet for a check-up. Although the appointment hadn’t occurred yet, she confirmed that a check-up had already been scheduled.
A few days later, the PA at the OB/GYN performed a breast exam and ordered a mammogram to occur in mid-March.
Unrelated to our current concerns, Rachel was scheduled the following week for a follow-up appointment with a pulmonologist. Approximately a year ago in 2016 Rachel was diagnosed with pneumonia. We both thought the purpose of this appointment was to “clear” her and give her “a clean bill of health.” Although the chest x-ray confirmed that all signs of pneumonia were gone, it did provide a clearer picture of the lumps Rachel had felt in her breast.
The pulmonologist spoke with Rachel about what he had seen. At his suggestion, the doctor contacted Rachel’s OB/GYN and PCP and convinced them to move up the mammogram appointment to an earlier date. Less than a week later, Rachel was at Piedmont Hospital in Athens at the Breast Health Center. Following the mammogram and an ultrasound, the doctor ordered a biopsy of two areas in her right breast and one of her lymph nodes. The biopsy occurred on March 2nd and we were told the results would take about 3 – 5 days to return.
As I mentioned, Rachel, Finley and I were headed to The Grill in downtown Athens for lunch on March 6th. I wasn’t expecting the test results until Tuesday but I could tell something was “not right” with Rachel. We all sat down at the table and when Rachel looked up her eyes welled-up with tears. My heart sank. I knew. Rachel softly spoke, “It’s bad news. The results came back positive in all three biopsy areas, including the lymph node.” Finley tried to comfort her mom as Rachel fought hard to hold back any tears. She wanted so bad to be strong but Finley’s gesture of kindness just made it that much harder. I tried to comfort Finn and the three of us just sat there for a few minutes absorbing the news and the path that lay ahead.