Monday, November 8, 2010

Take it from me, GET YOUR MAMMOGRAM!

I think it's safe to say that I dislike going to the Doctor more than the average person. And when I say dislike, I really mean loathe to my very core. But I made a promise in 2010 to take better care of myself and my health and the occasional doctor visit was part of the plan.

Without doctors, I don't get the meds which help my head stay in balance and I have terrible headaches that make life unbearable.
Without doctors, I wouldn't have gotten the miracle IUD that reduced my monthly flow to a reasonable level. *best thing I ever did, BTW. Highly recommended.
Without doctors, I wouldn't have discovered the lump in my breast.
Let me back track...

After the miracle IUD which took 4 visits to the GYN to become a reality, the last thing I wanted to do was go get a mammogram. So I didn't. I made excuse after excuse, and hoped that the passing of time would make everyone forget.
Bart didn't forget. He hounded me to make the appointment.
The doctor didn't forget, because I got bi-weekly automated reminder calls to make the appointment.
And Bart still didn't forget, going as far as to threaten to call the doctor himself. He's a pain in my ass sometimes. And because I didn't want him to call the doctor, I made the appointment.

Fast forward a week when I get a call from the hospital saying that they would really like it if I came back in for a re-scan because the tech saw something he couldn't identify.
Another few days later and another call; there is definitely something there and you need to make an appointment. My doctor calls with the number of the specialist she would like me to see.
Fast forward a few weeks and I meet with the specialist, who orders a needle biopsy. He is a very soft spoken, gentle Asian man. Kind. I like him. I've seen him before, in 2003, for a different lump.
The needle biopsy is uncomfortable at the least, but not terrible. The pathologist and tech are very nice. In fact, from the moment I got the first phone call, everyone is very nice and accommodating.
The call from the specialist comes quickly. No cancer, but atypia. Bad cells. Need to schedule for open biospy. One more appointment where he explains to me again that there is no cancer, but a mass of cells that need to come out. Different from before. Not urgent, but he wants to take it out.
He's ordered an MRI, the 'gold standard' in breast care. I have no family history, but my risk factors are high so I qualify.
And here we are.
Tomorrow I am having my MRI. I'm not nervous, but can't stop fidgeting when I think about it. I hope I can hold still long enough for the scan to be effective.
This weekend, I told my kids. I didn't want them to find out from someone else. I didn't want them to come home one day and not find me here, because I'm running late from a test.
Next week I am scheduled for the open biopsy. I'm not scared. I'm confidant that the doctor will remove all of the bad cells and not find anything else lurking in there.
I'm feeling very lucky.
Lucky it's not cancerous.
Lucky that I was approved for the MRI.
Lucky that I have so many people who support me.
Lucky that the tech took a closer look at the first mammogram.
Lucky that my husband didn't forget and nagged me to get the mammogram that started it all.
Let me be a lesson to everyone! Get your mammogram!
Self exams don't find everything.
Doctor exams don't find everything.
You don't have to have a family history to get breast cancer.
One benign lump is flukey. Two is a pattern. I will surely have to get mammograms every 6 months for the rest of my life. And I will consider myself lucky every time.


Jen on the Edge said...

Oh wow, how stressful. I'm glad you're getting things taken care of. Keep us posted? Please, pretty please?

I got my mammo last month, so I'm good to go until 2011.

TreeCityKnitter said...

I'm not in mammo territory yet, but made sure to make my annual exam appointment right after reading this. Thanks for sharing.

ashley said...

Sending your boobs good vibes.

Benita said...

{{{Sue}}} So glad to hear that it's not cancer! I will never miss another mammo again since my sister was diagnosed with Breast Cancer last year :( You're don't have to have a family history to get breast can happen to anyone at any time! There is no history of it in our family, either until my sister just had it! Sending prayers your way!

Jan C. said...

Oh gosh, Sue. I was behind on reading your blog and just saw this post. Here I thought your MRI had something to do with your headaches. How scary this must have been for you! It's a good thing men obsess about breasts, I guess, because Bart was right about you needing some routine maintenance. I'll do like Ashley and send your boobs good vibes. :-)