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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mammograms, Sonograms, Breast Exams Oh My!

About 6 weeks ago I had my first mammogram done. I know lots of women complain that it is painful experience. Carleen, my assistant, who's more like a sister to me, warned me as well. She also gave me a tip to take 1000 IU of Vitamin E starting 1 weeks before the exams and that will help with the pain. I don't know if it was the Vitamin E or the fact that I was just well blessed was amble cushioning in that area, but it wasn't too bad. The woman who took the pictures was also very quick, so the pressure wasn't on them for very long. Anyway, I left think that wasn't so bad.

About a week later, maybe not even that long, I get a call from one of the nurses in the office. They found two small masses on the mammogram and they want me to come in for more pictures and a sonogram as soon as I can. After I get the sonogram the doctor wants me to make an appointment to come in for a breast exam exactly 4 weeks late. The nurse stressed that it was very important that my appointment be exactly 4 weeks after the sonogram. Yes, panic attack sets in. She's trying to tell me not to worry, that is probably nothing, but they want to be sure. So there I was in my office at work, taking deep breaths, trying not to panic and get my blood pressure up and trigger a migraine.

I call the radiology department and set up another appointment, it was the days before my trip out to Chicago. I go in and the woman taking the x-rays was trying to tell me not to worry. This is my first mammogram and they want to get a good baseline to compare to for later mammograms. Then she goes on to try and explain all the "other" non-worrisome things these masses can be and that these more direct pictures and the sonogram with help them determine if it's just a simple cyst or something other such non-cancerous mass. She was really pleasant and I felt somewhat put at ease, but there's still that little something in the back of mind that says "what if."

Let's face it, I had just spend two years dealing with a gyno who just kept switching my birth control when I was complaining of certain female problems instead of examining me. Finally I had enough and switch insurances and had to go to a different doctor to know I even had fibroids and yet another doctor who was willing to do the surgery to remove them. And I went through 2 Orthopedics before one could diagnose my knee issue correctly. Can you blame me for being a little weary when it comes to medical issues.

OK, so 2nd mammogram done, sonogram done, 4week appointment made. I can relax now. You would think right. No, the morning I am to fly out to Chicago I get a phone call from the radiology department - they wanted me to come down that day for another sonogram. OK - Now panic sets in. I'm suppose to leave for Chicago in 4 hours, I have the A/C man coming out the house in 30 minutes to clean the unit and get it running for the summer heat and now this. I'm flustered and furious and panicked and can't think straight. My first reaction was to tell the woman there was no way I could come in today - that I was leave for vacation in a few hours and I would come in as soon as I got back.

After I got off the phone I laid in my bed and just let the thought run ramped through my head as I went a little numb. After about 30 minutes I got dress and packed everything I needed for the airport into my car. When the A/C man arrived I let him get to work and then I called my sister and talked to her about it all. She sounded concerned that they called they that as well and asked me what I was going to do. I told her that as soon as the AC man was done, I would head to the clinic, get it done and then head to the airport. I should make it in time since I wouldn't have to wait at the clinic. They said they would take me as soon as I got there.

So, that's what I did. The A/C man left at 10. I went to clinic and was done and out of there by 11Am and on my way to the airport for a 1:20PM flight with plenty of time. I asked the woman who was doing the sonogram why did they call me back in and if they found something yesterday that alarmed them. She said that they didn't catch the masses on the sonogram very well and they just wanted to make sure. Then she said don't be surprised is they request to see you back here in 6 months. I thought that was a little strange if it was "nothing."

I tried to put this out of my mind till the 4 week appointment. No use in worrying till you know, right? *So instead I did a breast exam on my right breast every other day trying to feel these two lumps* I get the radiologists report during this time frame. One report states 2 small masses in the right breast and then another report states the left breast. Talk about mixed messages! But all the extra pictures and the sonograms were done on the right breast, so I was pretty sure these two masses were in the right one or the radiologist needs more then writing lessons. I'm sure we all know how well that works. It wasn't that this was exactly at the forefront of my mind all the time, but you know how it is. I was good, I didn't go surfing the net to try and find any and every article on breast lumps and cancer and false alarms.

Then the day of my appointment comes. My doctor reads over the reports and does another back-asswards way of trying to calm a patience's fear. "It's probably nothing, just Fibrocystic breasts, but I do want you to get a 2nd opinion and see a specialist. Someone who does nothing but breasts and can really tell. After all you are in a high category for breast cancer since you are overweight and haven't had any children." Then he was explain how it was funny that they even messed up when they wrote the reports and pointed out how on one report they stated it was the right breast and on the other report they stated it was the left. I mean he was actually laughing over it. Me, yeah, not so much. I didn't think it was that funny. I never did figure out why it was so imperative that I wait 4 weeks to make my appointment with him after having the 2nd mammogram. Didn't make any sense after that appointment.

So, on my way home from that appointment I immediately called my gyno, the one that finally really listened to me about my other issues, and left her a message about what was found on my mammogram and that I would really appreciate her taking a look at the results and her opinion of what I should do from here, and if she could recommend a specialist to go to for a 2nd opinion. I left a message with all the details and waited. In the meantime, I contact the breast clinic the my doctor suggests and made an appointment with someone for this Friday.

I spoke with my gyno yesterday and said that the masses are very small, but that she wants me to get a 2nd opinion. I told her which clinic my regular Doctor recommended and asked her if she recommended any of the doctors that worked there and she gave me two names. The appointment I had was with one of the doctors she recommended, but when I looked up both names today, the other one had a focus on breast surgery, so I switched my appointment to her and now my appointment is on Monday. What's a few more days of trying not to worry, right?


Anonymous said...

We are in parallel gynecological universes:-(


Kozy Kitty said...

Been there. Just to tell you that I have had fibrocystic breast disease all my adult life until I went through menopause. I never had clear mammograms. One thing that stood out is that I had pain from it. I use to get jolts of pain. My doc said that pain was actually a good sign. He also told me that caffeine is really bad for fibrocystic breasts and that taking vitamin E regularly helped to block the effects of the caffeine. Try not to worry--I know that's hard--but things WILL be okay!

knitredsox said...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed and I'm going with Kozy Kitty's belief that it will be ok!

Anonymous said...

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Pinching Abe said...

I think you needed to come back in exactly 4 weeks because they wanted your breasts to be in the same condition cycle-wise. Breasts change during the cycle and having you come in at the same point in your cycle would help them compare scans much better. Hope everything turned out ok.

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