Bald Barren And Boobless

An honest and comical reflection of my journey through breast cancer

The pathologist from hell

needleThe following is a true story and has not been enhanced for dramatic value. After seeing the genetic counselor I was sent to the hospital department that takes the blood and gives us the results.

I find the department in the maze otherwise known as the public hospital. I take a ticket and get in line, literally. We are all starving, it’s been a bog day and it’s now 230 and we have not had lunch. In addition to cope with the stress we are all beginning to act a little bit crazy.

I am finally called by a man who looks more like the maintenance man than a pathologist. He has a thick accent and even thicker glasses.

He has to get within 10 cm of the vials and all the needle paraphernalia to get what he needs. I’m thinking “Oh shite this could be interesting” He asks me to sit down, I try to make a joke to loosen my tension but he just looks at me over his glasses, not impressed at all! Even my comic genius is not going to rescue me from this.

He puts on his gloves and his hands explode through the ends of the gloves. He cusses under his breath and proceeds anyway! I am thinking that the purpose of the gloves has been destroyed but he keeps going. Oh well his risk hey?   I’m a pretty toxic chick these days.

His face gets within 10 cm of my arm and jabs the needle in to take the blood. It hurts a little but it’s not too bad.  I’ve had so many procedures involving needles lately it’s just another one.

He says to me “Go and waiting room for 10 mins then I will take a second sample of the blood.” This is something peculiar to the genetic test. I just want some lunch 🙂

During the 10 minutes of me in the waiting room laughing with my sisters about; my luck of getting a blind pathologist I can’t understand, who doesn’t have a sense of humour, whose hands don’t fit into the gloves, he calls me back in.

I enter the room and sit down. He puts on another pair of gloves, pushes his hands through the ends again and seems to swear in his native tongue. I stifle a laugh.  He’s like a pathologist version of the hulk.

He takes the dressing off my arm I say to him gently, “Your not going to take blood from the exact same place are you?” He looks at me over his glasses again, mumbles something in his thick accent and proceeds to jam the needle into the exact same spot as the previous needle!!!!

I gasp but steel myself; this man will not get the better of me! I’ve been through worse than this and I just need to get out of here. Soon enough the ordeal is over, I am still shaking my head as he is filling in the paperwork. This man with coke bottle glasses, dressed like a maintenance man, with these gloves hanging off his hands like the clothes on the incredible hulk! How can I do anything else but laugh?

I leave; I thank God it is over and take a deep breath thinking soon we will know the truth of our genetic heritage. My sisters are waiting I anticipation to see what has happened this time.

We leave, I share, we laugh, we eat lunch and I take my sister to the train to return home to her family. I know she is burdened by what might be, I am too but still feel empowered by the process. I encourage her to try not to worry until we know what we are dealing with. There is no point in spending all of that negative energy on something that may not be.

She agrees, bit I know her too well she will go over this a billion times before we find out. What a day….. What promotes strength for one, promotes fear in a other.


  1. That is hilarious! I LOVE this story… sorry for you… but the hands exploding through the gloves twice! How could you not laugh! What a great sense of humour you have had through all this! 🙂

  2. It is really true that what promotes strength for one, promotes fear in another. I see it all the time with my husband and I. Generally, everything promotes fear in me but I do find knowledge as the antidote to fear. I will be thinking about you as you wait for your results. Good luck. Thanks for sharing your experience. I get strength from your lived experience.

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