August 7 2009. I show up at my appointment for the mammogram.
Now, let me sidetrack you a bit with more discussion of my breasts. Since this will involve nothing interesting for you men, feel free to skip this part. My breasts have been problematic for a few years. When I hit my mid-40s and began perimenopause, I found they got very painful with my cycles. They'd swell, they'd be super sensitive and painful. I couldn't stand to take off my bra or face the shower. Then I'd have my period and they'd be normal for ten days, until it started all over again. As I got older, I got very little relief after my period, and was down to maybe two days of non-pain. I had a nice little wardrobe of daytime and nightime bras going by that time. So, I kind of skipped my mammograms as it was impossible to make an appointment during my pain-free days.
I have none of the risk factors for breast cancer - no family history, I'm thin, I eat healthy, I'm not a heavy drinker, I don't smoke. Early mammograms showed dense, heavy breast tissue that made it very difficult to get an accurate reading, plus with all the cysts I had and all the pain, I just figured it wasn't going to be worth the extra testing I'd have to do since I'm not at risk. Plus, the radiology company lost my baseline mammogram and if they weren't going to take it seriously, I wasn't sure why I had to. I felt this particular bullet was going to skip me. My intention was to have a stroke. So, it's been more than five years since my last mammogram.
Anyway, I walk in on the 7th and get the paperwork and fill it out. I turn it in and ask the woman at the desk if they can drain the lump right there.
She looks up at me and blinks.
"You have a lump?"
"Yes, I told the guy on the phone when I made the appointment a month ago."
"And, he made the appointment? He shouldn't have done that, you need a diagnostic mammogram and a sonogram."
I'd never heard of this, WTF? A mammogram is a mammogram right?
I said, "Can you just do that now?"
She said that a doctor has to be there for these, and there are no doctors there during my appointment time, they all leave at 3:00. She said that they can still do the mammogram but she knows for a fact that they'll make me come back for the diagnostic studies and it would be just a waste of my time.
The thought of having my sensitive and painful breasts clamped in a ice cold vice grip twice didn't appeal to me, so I accepted her proposal.
She says to call my doctor and get the orders for the diagnostic mammogram/ultrasound and she made an appointment with me for August 17th.
Before I left, I did ask her, "The doctor will be able to drain the cyst that day, right?"
She said yes.
My here and now
1 day ago