As soon as I received my diagnosis, I moved into a world of appointments. Appointments for test results, to get more tests, and to set more appointments. Because of where I live, appointments mean a three hour drive to LA. I got really good at scheduling appointments as close together as possible so we'd be able to drive down in the morning and back at night.
The first 1-2 weeks after diagnosis felt the most chaotic. I knew I had cancer, but I didn't know anything else, which is a hard place to be. My friend was right, these first two weeks were the hardest of all, because the only plan was no plan. Just appointments.
The first big appointment was the MRI. When I arrived I found myself sitting in the same waiting room I was in just days before, when I thought I was coming in for a simple cyst aspiration. I fill out the paperwork, and for the first time, I need to check the box, "Breast Cancer," where it asks for previous diagnosis information. It feels surreal. As I'm sitting there, a woman comes out from the back and says with such glee, "Thanks! See all of you next year!"
My husband is sitting next to me and we see another couple across the way, and you know. You just know. You're all there for a similar reason, and you're in another camp than the others. You're no longer saying things like, "See you next year!"
I head back and they tell me to put on a full pajama type outfit. Take off all jewelry, metal, etc. I'd never had an MRI before, so this was a new experience. When I walked in the room, I saw a big machine that looked much less tight than I'd imagined. It was a newer machine that was a bit more open feeling and had nice ambient lighting. I got on the table and laid face down with an opening for my chest area. They put the IV in for the contrast, and before I could freak out, they rolled me in and said to stay still for the next 27 minutes.
As it started I just laid there, and eventually the sounds started to feel almost peaceful. They were repetitive, a little reminiscent of electronic music. The time went by faster than expected. Just like that, I'm done with the MRI, and headed out the door...
... and once again. I wait. wait. wait. for the test results. It will be a few days. In the meantime, I meet with my primary care physician and she gives me options for where to get treated within the UCLA system (along with second opinion centers outside of UCLA if I am interested, which I'm not). I choose the UCLA Breast Center, Santa Monica, which I will learn was a very good decision for me.
So, while I wait for the MRI results, I start to get my treatment team figured out, and make more appointments for the following week.
The wheels are in motion, and yet, I still know almost nothing.