August 16, 2006, 12:50 am

Kate’s Fate: A Progressive Story

pinkribbon1 – Rita from MSSPNexus:
Kate stood, gazing up at the imposing glass and brick building silhouetted against the quickly darkening sky. The wind whipped her hair, and she absently pushed it back from her face. She watched as dark clouds rolled and tumbled ominously toward her, ravenously swallowing up the retreating azure sky. A single fat drop of cool rain landed on her cheek; she brushed it away like an errant tear.

It was time. She needed to move forward, to face whatever awaited her behind those glass doors. Yet even as that thought coalesced her feet remained motionless, as though mired in wet concrete instead of resting firmly atop it.

She had insisted on coming here alone, had been quite firm about the matter actually. Kate remembered the look on her husband’s face as he’d held her hand the night before and told her they’d face whatever the future held together. She’d squeezed his hand and smiled, “No need for anyone to make a fuss” she had said.

“What did you tell Amanda?” he had asked.

“I told her that a certain highly-placed official at Microsoft has decided to give Robert Scoble a run for his money and that I was jetting off to Seattle to meet with him about becoming a ghost-blogger.”

She grinned, remembering her husband’s laughter, and his request to see if she couldn’t snag a copy of Vista for him while she was there.

This morning she had kissed him on the cheek and breezed out the door as though she hadn’t a care in the world. To come here; to find out what comes next.

Kate began to walk briskly forward, toward her future.

2 – Me

Two days before, that Friday, she had seen her primary physician for a routine physical. Ironically, she had been able to schedule her yearly mammogram for late that same day. Thank goodness she didn’t have to take another day off of work. Things just seemed to pile up if she wasn’t there.

She caught sight of herself in the glass window as she passed. She looked at least ten years younger than she was. She jogged regularly and had the metabolism of a gazelle.

The epitome of a healthy woman and she felt every bit of it.

So she was just a bit concerned when her doctor called her after hours with the news that the latest mammogram was somewhat different than her previous film. Not to worry, the doctor told her, it might be nothing.

But it would require follow up. In the form of a biopsy.

She pushed the obvious into the depths of her subconscious.

Oh great, Kate thought, another day off of work. When did this need to be done?




And so it was that Kate found herself in front of St. Bernadette’s Health Center for Women.

She took one last look at herself in the glass door, smoothed out her skirt, threw back her hair…

…and prayed.

3 – Barbados Butterfly

Kate changed quickly into the white cotton gown, placing her clothes in a blue plastic bag before exiting the cubicle. Hurry up, she thought to herself. Let’s get this over with.

Kate was greeted by a rotund, flaxen-haired woman when she emerged. “Hi, Kate,” the woman said pleasantly. “I’m Jodie and I’ll be your ultrasonographer today. You’re having a biopsy of your right breast, yes?”

Kate opened her mouth to speak but ended up nodding instead as nervousness overwhelmed her. She followed the ultrasonographer into the room. A tall man wearing a white shirt and brilliant blue tie stood up from his chair when
she entered.

“Good morning Kate,” he said cheerfully. “I’m Dr Shand, one of the radiologists here. I’ll be performing your core biopsy today.”

Dr Shand explained the procedure. Kate nodded intermittently as he spoke, barely hearing a word. She understood that there would be a biopsy taken. She had no questions about what it involved.

“We won’t get the result of the biopsy today,” Dr Shand continued. “It will take 2-3 days to get a result and you will need to make an appointment with your physician to find out the results.”

Explanations over, soon Jodie was pressing the cold grey ultrasound probe against Kate’s breast, scanning for the abnormal area seen on the mammogram. The first needle was for the local anaesthetic; Kate stiffened as the needle
pierced her skin, trying to ignore the discomfort.

Kate glanced down as the radiologist brought the biopsy needle toward her, then quickly raised her gaze to the ceiling upon seeing the needle’s huge size.


The loud noise of the biopsy needle firing made Kate jump. There was a burning pain within her breast. Kate stared at the ceiling and hoped it would be over soon.

4 – Dr Charles

It was like déjà vu. She remembered the same piercing pain in her breasts ten years ago. Feeling inadequate and finally bowing to societal pressure, Kate had flown down to Miami to see the top cosmetic breast surgeon on the east coast. Make them big she had said. The surgeon had obeyed her command, and for ten years she had forgotten that pain, awash in the dubious glory of her new anatomy.

“I’m finding some strange resistance in the tissue,” Dr. Shand said. He looked worried. “I’ve never felt this sort of thing before.” With a look of concern Dr. Shand pulled out the anesthetic needle again. “I’m going to numb this up a little more and see if we can remove it.”

Kate felt the pain again, followed by numbness and tugging. “Dr. Shand, you know that I had breast implants, right?”

“Of course, of course,” he replied. “Wait a minute . . . Yes, I have it! Here it comes now, hold still.” Dr. Shand carefully withdrew his instrument from the core site. Stuck to the end of the puncturing tip was a piece of pale red tissue.

“What is that?” Kate asked.

Dr. Shand looked troubled. “This is very serious. Did you have your surgery in Florida by any chance?” He recalled that in the late 1980’s the field of cosmetic surgery was booming in Miami, and plastic surgeons from all over the world had set up shop. It got so out of control that licensing boards couldn’t keep up with the clinics or the credentials of the doctors. There had been one charlatan in particular who had forged his medical degree and training certificates, and eventually gained notoriety as one of the best surgeons in the land. But like all villains he had a dangerous hubris, a self-destructive streak that compelled him to sneak foreign objects into his surgeries and try to implant them.

Years later he was found out, tried, and locked away for life in Folsum County Prison.

“What is that?” Kate repeated desperately, still fearing that Dr. Shand was about to tell her that he had surely found cancer. The story that had begun with her abnormal mammogram was about to end tragically.

“Kate, I regret to inform you of a terrible thing that’s happened to you,” Dr. Shand said with all sincerity. “This piece of tissue was planted in you years ago without your knowledge. It is called . . .”

“What is it?!” Kate screamed, coming apart at the seams.

“There is no medical term for it. It is called Hubba Bubba.”


  • Intelinurse2b

    August 16, 2006 at 6:44 am

    Ill never chew bubble gum the same way again…

    Great story.

  • cathy

    August 16, 2006 at 12:47 pm

    LMAO…Leave it to Dr. Charles to come up with a bubble gum finish. I loved this story.

  • Lindsay

    August 16, 2006 at 2:44 pm

    That was great! Do it again! Do it again!

  • Rita Schwab

    August 17, 2006 at 4:51 am

    Just when I thought Kate might be doomed, the story took a weird turn. I can’t help but wonder, had the Hubba Bubba been chewed? Eeoowww…

  • radtec

    August 17, 2006 at 11:55 am

    Ohhhh man! I could so kick your butt! I was actually wrapped up in this mini-tome and it ends with gum????

  • Dawn

    August 17, 2006 at 12:45 pm

    At least he didn’t find a Junior Mint!

  • Mel

    August 17, 2006 at 2:10 pm

    LOL! Great ending!! I just have one question:
    How did he know it wasn’t Double Bubble or Bazooka?

  • Rita Schwab

    August 17, 2006 at 6:49 pm

    I just read your latest post over on Scared to Health. Perhaps our next installment should have Kate facing the scary prospect of dealing with the EOB’s and bills she’s about to receive…

About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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