Monday, April 30, 2012


This week's challenge: Using between 3 and 333 words, write a response including the third definition of the word:
thun·der noun \ˈthən-dər\

3: bang, rumble

She used her time in the elevator to look through the day’s mail. The latest Drs. Foster and Smith catalog, a flyer and business card from an unnaturally gleeful real estate agent, and a letter from the hospital. She was confident she knew what it was – that same “all clear” form letter they send every year after her mammogram.

After reviewing the mammogram you had on 4/3/12, our radiologist requested that you return for additional studies for a complete evaluation. Most such findings are benign (not cancerous). A report of your mammography results was sent to your physician, whom you should call to discuss this matter further.

The thunder in her ears left her unable to hear the little “ding!” when the car arrived at her floor. It wasn’t until the doors opened and she looked into the friendly face of a neighbor waiting to board that she realized she was almost home.

And almost to her laptop. Her doctor wouldn’t be in until morning so there was nothing to do this evening except obsess and worry and troll the web.

WebMD: “80% of all breast lumps are benign …” “As many as 4 out of 5 breast lumps biopsied are noncancerous …”
The American Cancer Society: “Thanks to improvements in treatment and early detection, millions of women are surviving breast cancer …”

She awoke the next morning still on her sofa, still fully clothed, with the hospital’s website still on her laptop: “The Breast Care Center has a digital mammography unit for state-of-the-art diagnosis …”

Oh, God, it wasn’t a nightmare. This was real. While showering she noticed a bruise on her left breast where she had been poking it, trying to feel for herself this abnormality that was tormenting her.

The next ten days were among the longest in her life. But ultimately, the news was good. The next letter she received from the hospital began: We are pleased to inform you …


  1. Anonymous3:50 PM

    Well done (and wouldn't that be a terrible thing to get by post?). You captured exactly the kind of internet self-torture and obsessive inspection that most of us would probably do under those circumstances.

    Just thinking about it gives me the willies!

  2. Phew! I waited with bated breath until the diagnosis came back all clear.

    What an excellent use of the prompt. That rushing sound in the ears is one I most heartily dislike in any circumstances.

  3. I have a real love/hate affair with WebMD. Lots of great, useful, information there . . . but, when one is awaiting further tests or results, it can be the worst enemy.

    Well done on the prompt.

  4. I've been here. A lump was found on a routine mammogram, and a subsequent biopsy was negative. Longest two weeks ever waiting on those results. I'm glad the results in this piece were good too.

  5. Ditto Tara R. above. It's scary and all consuming, isn't it? Can't believe they used the mail (although a call directly from the doctor scares the bejesus out of you). Happy and relieved for your result.

  6. Well done - Hate Web MD for that reason.

  7. Three of 7 in this post alone have been there, and with good results. And, yes, those days are interminable. Some circumstances should come with a warning: Do not look this up on the Internet - at least not yet. Nice writing.

  8. The tension and the torment has been brought out so well.

  9. Anonymous11:23 PM

    I could feel her anxiety I'm glad this had a happy ending!

  10. Anonymous6:42 AM

    Oh WebMD... So glad the story ended on a happy note! I was so nervous reading it!

  11. Anonymous6:50 AM

    I'm so relieved this ended happily! Well said!

  12. Great build up. So glad she got that letter!

  13. This is one happy ending I liked a lot! Nice job on the write. I enjoyed her getting her mail in the elevator on her way up to her "home" it added a sense of urgency when she could no longer focus.

  14. I'm so glad this had a happy ending!

  15. Anonymous9:10 PM

    Can I punch these people for her? Seriously. What doctor's office (mine) doesn't know you CALL for bad news. Letter for good call for bad.(And mine was only minor 'you, sir, are an idiot, and no I won't retake your test' bad a couple of years ago.)

  16. Anonymous11:42 AM

    It's the waiting which is agony, that and the self-induced torment which automatically kicks in. :)


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