Thursday, October 24th –
I don’t know a single woman who looks forward to it. Many dread it. But it’s important and so very necessary – a mammogram. I opted for a 3-D mammogram this year. I’ve gotten a couple of call backs the last couple of times so I thought I would “nip” that in the bud this year to eliminate the call back.
I was told it would take a little longer to get my results back this time because not only would a radiologist be reading my film, but also a breast specialist. Awesome, right? Another pair of trained eyes was great as far as I was concerned. I expected to get the all clear and appreciated the reassurance that two people would give me the thumbs up.
Thursday, October 31st –
I got a call back. I won’t lie, I was pissed.The whole point of doing the 3-D mammogram was so I could avoid this. Another appointment. Another hour out of my already busy day. I made the appointment and decided to put the diagnostic mammogram out of my mind.
Tuesday, November 5th 2019 –
A diagnostic mammogram is an x-ray image of the breast. ... Diagnostic mammograms are used when additional images of the breast are needed after the standard screening examine has been performed to further check for cancer where the patient or physician feels a lump or thickening of the breast tissue.
The young woman explained that the radiologists and specialists were concerned about areas on both sides.This diagnostic mammogram would give them a “blown up” picture of these areas so they could take another look. We took the pictures and I returned to wait in the tiny room outside of the mammogram room.Y ou wait in your robe in the event that they need more pictures. Within 15 minutes, I was told to get dressed because the radiologist wanted to talk to me.
I said out loud, “This isn’t good, is it?”
I was lead to a small dark room and waited.And waited…and waited.After about 10-15 minutes, I was told that calcifications are very common. Usually, a routine mammogram shows them and can easily be dismissed. But after a routine, a 3-D and a diagnostic mammogram – I was also told that what they saw with my film couldn’t be easily dismissed.
I wasn’t really offered anything encouraging. I probably wouldn’t have heard it anyway. I just heard a humming noise in my ears, kind of like a helicopter. They said I needed to get a biopsy on each side immediately. I was scared. I was trying not to cry. I was shaking. I probably wasn’t especially kind. More than anything, I just wanted to get to my car in the parking lot and sob. And when I finally got out of there, I ran to my car and did just that.
Not again. I can’t do this again. Why is this happening? Why me?
I spent the next few days really depressed. There were lots of tears and frustration as I waited for my consultation with a breast specialist.
I feel guilty for putting my parents and family through this. I also know better than to research health issues online. So the lack of information and my mind running 100 miles per hour was absolute torture. I was able to pull it together for a couple of days, but as my consultation and exam with the breast surgeon got closer…I hit rock bottom.
Monday, November 11th 2019 –
I met with the surgeon and her PA and was given hope in the first 90 seconds. They were both so knowledgeable. I found out that 80% of biopsies come back benign. And I found out that if it actually is cancer – it’s treatable and curable. That’s really all I needed to hear. I feel prepared to do these biopsies and roll with the results. I truly feel that everything will be fine.
Friday, November 15th 2019
It's biopsy day. I’m sharing this because I will take every opportunity to stress the importance of taking care of ourselves.
Be an advocate for yourself. As you get older, don’t put off routine tests. I’ve gotten some horrible news this year between having a brain tumor in March and now these biopsies. But all is fine! I’m okay.
Lean on your faith and make the choice to be tough. Thank GOD for modern medicine and the people smart enough to practice it!
Photos: Getty Images