Once upon a time, I was a Lazy Lady. In 2011, I decided to train for a half-marathon and since then, I've done multiple 5ks, a 10k, a few fun runs and the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Please pull up a chair and join me in my continuing endeavor to be healthy, frugal and happy!
Last February (2012), at my
annual gynecologist appointment, Dr. B offhandedly mentioned that she wanted to
schedule a mammogram for me next year. I
missed my February 2013 appointment, but was able to get an appointment in
September. I’d been having other girl issues too, but that’s another post.
Dr. B got me set up with
referrals for dermatology (another post), a repeat bone scan (to check the
progress of my osteopenia), and a mammogram.
My breasts are large as you’ve
seen in photos, and very dense. Dense breasts make it much harder to feel or
see problems and those women with dense breasts are six times more likely to
get a breast cancer than our tiny-boob friends. The plan was to get a “baseline”
mammogram so that we’ll have something to compare to as I get older.
Tuesday morning, I headed to
Shands UF at Springhill. About halfway
there, I realized that “OMG, I’m getting a mammogram!” which turned into “OMG,
what if they find something????” I tried to push the thoughts away, but they
stayed in the back of my mind the entire time.
So, for those of you who have
never had one done, or have one coming up and you are worried or curious about
what happens – here is what happened:
I signed in – the receptionist
was very friendly – and filled out a quick Family History form.
You may not know you have cancer when you go IN, but you know if you do when you come OUT
After about 5
minutes, I was called back to a change room, where I was told to strip from the
waist up and put on one of those super-comfy hospital gowns. Once changed, I put my clothes and belongings
into a locker, locked it and kept the key. Then I had a seat in the interior
Quickly, I was called back and a
tech took me into a Mammogram room. I sat down and she reviewed my family
history then had me come to the machine.
She took my left breast and put
it on the plate very gently, moving it until it was lined up in just the right
way. Then the top plate came down, sandwiching my breast between the top and
bottom plate. I won’t lie – it wasn’t comfortable, but it wasn’t painful
either. I think it pressed for about 10
seconds, and I had to hold my breath, before it released and I could step back.
We repeated with the right side.
After the two horizontal
(sandwich) scans, she rotated the plates so that she could do vertical
(bookend) scans. Again with the
squishing and breath-holding. These were less uncomfortable than the horizontal
ones, but not by much.
Finally, she said that she
wanted a “Cleopatra” scan, kind of a lopsided angle view of my left
breast. It’s hard to explain how I stood
in relation to the machine; it was kind of from up under my armpit.
Anyway, once I was done the tech
said that she was 99% sure that I’d be getting a call back, but not to worry
too much. I asked if I could see the scans, and she showed me that I had a lot
of spots that she assumed were cysts, because the edges were smooth and the
spots were round. Again, she said that
that radiologist would want a closer look and to not worry. Cysts are normal.
I was taken back to the lockers
and allowed to change and leave. I didn’t have to formally check out or pay a
co-pay (thanks, Blue Cross!), and I headed upstairs for my bone scan.
So that’s it – that is what
happened with my first mammogram!
By the time I finished my scan,
picked up lunch at Sonic and got back to mty office, there was an email waiting
from Dr. B. She stated that she saw my scans and wanted to schedule an
ultrasound. She thought that maybe “all the moles” were affecting the scans.
Within an hour of that email, I
got a call from Shands to schedule that ultrasound. Since I already had a Dermatology
appointment for the 28th, I scheduled the mammogram and ultrasound
for the same day.
So, next week, I go back to get
(hopefully) good news.
When I got home, I told Hubby
and the Kiddo what happened, but didn’t tell them that I was already starting
On Saturday (the 19th),
I got a follow up letter in the mail saying that there was an area that needed
dun Dun DUN
That phrase really threw me. It
seemed different than “To be safe…” or “To be sure…” NEEDS more evaluation. Like,
they think there IS something there.
I started thinking about what
would happen to me when I found out that I have cancer, as in a Pro and Con
Pro – I’ll lose weight.
Con – I’ll be sick a lot and puke.
Pro – When my hair comes back, I
can have short hair!
Con – Cancer costs a lot.
Pro – I can have small boobies.
Con – No energy to run or do WDW.
I let those ideas roll around
for a while, then pushed them away. I’m fine and this is such a non-issue that
there is no reason to freak out.
On Sunday, while chilling on the
couch, I came across this bit of info:
Not only do we Dense Gals have 6x the chance to get cancer, but the
doctors and scientists don’t know WHY.
Also, because of the denseness, mammograms only detect HALF of the
cancers because the mammograms are harder to read.
So, I have SOMETHING going on in
there, they want to do an ultrasound and because of these Dense Gals, there is
6x the chance that it could be cancerous.
No worries? Are you kidding?
So, as of the day I write this,
I have one more week to try to think positively. The more I think about it, the
harder it is to stay positive. All I can do over the next week is live my life
as I always have and let it happen. On
Wednesday morning (or whenever I get results) – I’ll re-evaluate then.
Between now and then, I’m gonna
do my job at work, then run a 10k, go to Disney and have a great dinner at
Epcot on Saturday!