I have taken a couple of days to absorb what I heard on Monday out of the blue. Now I am here to document what could be the beginning of something I have never dealt with before.
I worked up the nerve to schedule my annual exam and pap for this past Monday at the woman's health center. While in my exam I asked about mammograms and what age to have them. I said I had been told 40 and 50 now 40 again. She said 40, and go every year no matter what anyone tells you. (Today my mom called me and said she just heard 45) I jokingly said hey well I am due and if you all can get me in today it would be great to get it all done in one day. She checked and they had an opening that day. So after my first appointment was done they told me to dress from foot to waste, gave me a robe, told me to keep the gown on and put the robe over the gown and someone would escort me to the mammography department. So, I did this, put the rest of my things in a pretty pink bag they provided me and went with them to get this test I had never gotten before.
Let me back track. I have no family history of breast cancer or issues of any kind, I never had large breasts except when nursing which didn't stick around lol, and I do monthly self exams that never showed anything, and the doctor that just examined me told me everything felt and looked good and normal. So, I go in thinking, get this done and move on!
Ok back to the mammography department. I am sitting in the waiting area that is separate in my robe and my stuff waiting and thinking about what this all was going to feel like. I'm calm. Just waiting. Look through a magazine then get called. I get taken in a room and asked typical questions and explained about the difference between a regular mammogram and a 3D mammogram. The regular one takes images of a lump section. Not lump like I found a lump but the whole area as a lump sum. The 3D one gets alittle more area but takes images in thin layers and can catch I believe they said or I read 30% more things that are not caught on a regular mammogram. I asked about cost, but really had my mind made up to get the best option since I had already met my deductible for the year. I chose the 3D mammogram.
I am writing this for myself but also for others that don't know what to expect when getting a mammogram.
I get called into the room with the machine, they put a pad on the lower shelf of it, I disrobe one side and the woman arranges? my right breast onto the shelf and allows the top shelf to come down to hold it in place. She then walks over to her controls and tightens it. YES it was tight, I have small boobs so I was worried it would pop out. I could feel the skin from my neck getting pulled with the tightening. Uncomfortable but not painful. That was the front view. Then they turn you and you get the side arranged and they do the same thing. The side one was more uncomfortable than the front view but still not as painful as I always heard. Next they do the left side the same first the front view then side view. I slide the robe back on and get ushered into the waiting room where my stuff was. I was told before even coming to this department that they can view the images right away and didn't need to send them anywhere. As I am in the room in my robe I hear other women being told they are good for another year! That made me happy to hear and thought someone would come tell me the same thing. But the door opened and the woman told me they see a mass in my right breast and someone was coming to take me to radiology. I was stunned. Confused really. She asked me if I was ok. Offered some water. I said I was fine and that water wasn't necessary. She seemed surprised I wasn't falling apart. I was just confused. I was happy, I was feeling pretty good, I was dealing with a lot already but doing well. So I sat there and waited till the woman from radiology came to get me which was not a long wait. Oh I did ask the woman who told me they found a mass what that meant. She just reluctantly repeated themselves and said usually 9 out of 10 woman will be on there way by now that I fell into that 1 that they found something.
Ok so the radiology woman came and got me, asked me to lay down, roll on my left side with my arm up. She used the sonogram wand that you use if you are pregnant and getting a sonogram of your baby. After about 40 minutes of her looking and measuring she switched to a smaller wand. I decided to break the silence and asked her if it was very deep because the doctor and I didn't feel anything during exams. She said it was pretty deep close to the chest wall. So she continued to dig and measure and take pictures. I felt this was more painful than the mammogram. She changed back to the original wand and took more pictures. She left for awhile and came back saying they want to watch to see if it changes. That I need to come back in 6 months for another mammogram and sonograms.
I asked her if anyone could tell me what was going on because I knew nothing. She did this thing I am familiar with...repeat what I know but don't say too much thing. I understood I would get no answers that day. So at this point I know, I have a measurable mass deep in my right breast. They want to watch it for change and make a biopsy decision in 6 months unless I hear something sooner. So April 19 8:30 am I do it all again and hopefully learn more if not before that.
I told my husband and he was scared and mad. But we both understand the protocol for this type of thing since we have been through things before. We did some research on what it could be. Could be dense tissue, tumor, lymph gland, cyst, something or nothing. Shockingly to me, I am not anxiety ridden over this. I have had other health issues that freaked me out way worse. Maybe they trained me for this, who knows. I am more sad that my husband is scared. I told him I am going to keep strong and positive. I don't know anything for sure yet so there is no need to worry. IF it is something I will tackle it head on. IF it is nothing we can celebrate. So hurry up, wait and see. That's what I am doing, which I am annoyed by but what I have to do. I am checking my medical records daily to see what has been put in there about this to educate myself on what IS going on. But as of today nothing is in there that I even went to that appointment. I am guessing I will get a letter in the mail too.
So, praying for patience. MORE patience. And praying for calm. I have other things to worry about now going on I can think more about this in 6 months when this comes up again. Maybe by that time things will be calmer around here and I will be able to confront that head on and all focus can be on that.
OH, the mammogram was uncomfortable but not painful, the sonograms were more uncomfortable borderline painful but the day after and next cuz I am only 2 days after this....more pain than the day it was done. Feels like I laid my boobs, as floppy as they are, out on the street and a Mack truck drove over them. Heat and ice...keep comfortable. I do highly suggest getting mammograms. 3D if you are able they are not that much more money to get done and they are better. And don't think if you don't have a history that you are 100% clear. Anything can happen.
I know I am not declared to have breast cancer and I know there are people out there that debate the safety of mammograms and the kinds of mammograms. But however you do get checked, please, get checked. Many insurances consider it preventative and cover it. I am not writing this nor did I get this done because it is breast cancer awareness month either. I have been told since June to get this done. I put it off thinking, no history so no hurry. I did it on a joke whim to get all the naked exams done and out of the way. Mission accomplished with that! I will be 43 in December. I have no history in my family of breast cancer or any breast issues.
I will continue this road as I get information. An advance thank you to all that help me along this road.