Tag Archives: biopsy

Waiting Game



It was 2 years ago that I was at the hospital for my breast biopsy. I remember the fear when they put the hospital wristband on my arm. Something about it. An acknowledgement. I am having surgery related to cancer. This is REAL.

I knew what to expect thanks to one of my Mom’s friends who had the procedure a couple month’s before, and thanks to one of my dear friends sharing her experience. Even so, I was scared. I felt fragile, like I might break. Mostly it was the possibilities that I let race through my mind that took the wind out of me.

I kept focusing on relaxing. And I kept repeating a mantra offered by my dear friend: Heaven is right here where I am, and this is the place to train. I didn’t know what I was training for, but it felt right. Now I know I was on the training ground of life. I kept reminding myself about how alive I felt. I gave my all to being present, even if I was sitting with fear, anticipation, and uncertainty.

I remember entering the biopsy room, so big and sterile. There was comfort in being told what was happening each step of the way – positioning the breast, getting lidocaine, inserting the biopsy needle, implanting the marker (in case of cancer and surgery), taking images…

I remember Jim being there in the waiting room, supporting me, helping me to be brave and strong.

I found this in my journal from 7/28/11:

for the call.
No cancer?
Heaven is right here.
Where I am.
Envision healing light enveloping.
Be calm, still, quiet.
Rest here.
Connect with my spirit,
The soul in me.
Love myself.

That was the seed of the poem I wrote as I waited for the caboose of this waiting game train to move on by.

Waiting Game
By Vicki L. Flaherty

Here I am again.
For the results.
I need answers.
And data to shape my future.
Will this fast moving train slow down?
Or will it speed full ahead?
Mammogram abnormal — biopsy needed.
Biopsy performed — lumpectomy next.
“Dirty” lumpectomy margins —
mastectomy needed and done.
Pathology on the breast and lymph nodes —
What will it be?
Cancer, or no?
Cancer here but not there?
Or cancer everywhere?
Odds are, I’m clean.
Not much consolation.
Here I am again.
For the results.
And data to shape my future.
Will the train please slow down.
Will the train please stop.


The Survivor In Me


The journey began on July 6, 2011.  That’s the day the radiologist called to ask me to come back for another set of mammograms.

I remember July 8, 2011 – the day the radiologist told me that there was something suspicious on the mammogram.

Then there was July 25, 2011 -the day I had the breast biopsy.

Mostly, I remember July 27th, 2011 – the day the nurse called to tell me that there were cancer cells in my right breast. I guess you never think someone will say the words “You have cancer” to you.  I certainly had never imagined it. It was surreal. I was home alone and scared. I remember crying like I have never cried before. So many things I didn’t know, making me fearful and uncertain. My journal on August 5th says “I remember trying to be strong but the tears coming anyway.” and “I have cancer.  I need surgery to remove part (or all!) of my right breast. Wow!”

The first threads of the poem appear in my journal dated August 3rd. I’m amazed that just days after the diagnosis, I was already moving to a place of strength and resiliency. The survivor in me, I guess.  Here’s what I wrote in my journal that day, just a series of words:




Great care.

Options. Choices.


Reaching for family, friends.

Being held, supported.

Feeling love, light.



Path – Obstacle – Overcome

Stumbling forward with Grace.

Here’s the poem that evolved and which appears in Mostly My Heart Sings:

By Vicki Flaherty

It’s scary in the darkness.
It’s sometimes lonely,
even resting on a pillow of love.
Often the light is hard to see,
a flickering in the distance.
Questions unanswered linger in the air,
uncertainty leaves me fragile.
Out of seemingly nowhere tears well up
from some primal place deep inside.
I feel numb and empty and raw,
feelings I’m unable to fully understand.
My mind is a furry fuzz;
I can’t focus or think straight.
Then suddenly in this place of deep emotion,
I’m reminded just to be.
It’s time to rest — there is nothing I need to do.
With grace I gently move along
to a peaceful place of strength.


© copyright Vicki L. Flaherty, Mostly My Heart Sings, 2013