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My friend Vic’s beloved Mom had recently had a mastectomy, and when he realized I had discovered a tiny intruder in my anatomy, he insisted I call my doctor RIGHT AWAY. A couple of days later I was wearing a stiff paper gown, being felt up by my gynecologist, the conscientious Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz. I had been in the good doctor’s office in April for my annual, and she had felt a small lump, but assured me it was only a benign cyst and that we would have to "watch it."

"Hmmmm," she said, her fingers hurtling this way and that around my right boob, "It feels like the cyst has grown; it’s probably nothing to worry about, but I think you’d better see a breast surgeon and have an ultrasound." Okee-Dokee. No problem.

Undaunted and fearless, I made an appointment with her surgeon of choice, the esteemed Dr. Kristi Pado at Cedar’s Sinai Breast Center. When I arrived at the large, elegant building across from the trendy shop-‘til-you-drop Beverly Center, I didn’t like what the gleaming aluminum letters declared as they shimmered ominously in the smoggy sunlight- ¬ "Women1s Cancer Center." Silently to myself, I announced to the Universe, "I do NOT have cancer, thank you very much," then parked my aging Ford and sashayed through the swishing double doors. There was no demanding parking guy, no charge for parking. "How civilized," I thought. "At least the women dealing with this cutthroat invader don’t have to hand seven bucks over to a surly parking attendant."

A few minutes later I was ushered into an examination room, and handed a plush, white terrycloth robe instead of the usual paper gown. Very, very civilized! Very Beverly Hills Hotel! I was thumbing through a new copy of Elle, wondering if Nicole Kidman possessed even a single ounce of body fat, when the jaunty, green-eyed Dr. Pado came through the door, wearing a smile that could have easily graced the aforementioned glam-mag. She didn’t look like she was old enough to have graduated medical school, much less be smack-dab at the top of her field. But I had a warm, fuzzy feeling about her straight-away, and she insisted that I call her "Kristi." / Issue 52 - September 2529
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