I’m Only 33
Yesterday I had my first mammogram
I found a lump in my left breast a few months ago. They say “lump” but it actually feels like a hard little bean. I’m not sure what it is; which is why I went to see my doctor. The last time I felt a lump, my doctor felt for it then sent me for a scan. I expected this this time around. I wore my good bra to my appointment and everything, expecting to be told to put a gown on and get professionally felt up. That’s not what happened. I explained everything I was experiencing and he referred me to radiology and imaging.
I was later informed I’m too young for a mammo??? That it’s preferred women wait until their fifties?? I never heard of this. I always see in the awareness campaigns that mammograms are increasingly important no matter your age. If you have concerns, never be afraid to bring them to your doctor or get an exam and now I’m told I’m too young? None of this makes sense, the people talking to me about it must be misinformed.
I had to have a mammogram, no simple sono would do. I’m really confused by all of this. They said I’m too young for a mammo but that I can’t have a sono without a mammo? They said if the mammo confirms or shows anything suspicious they follow up with a sono. Is it just me, or does this seem like a huge waste of time, money, electricity, radiation…??? If a sono is clearer, more efficient, less costly, and less painful or inconvenient for the patient, why bother with the mammo at all? I must be missing some facts, right?
My gown did not come in vest form. It was a hospital gown that tied in front instead of the back. I just let it hang open, why bother tying it? I have only one working hand and they’re just going to untie it and manhandle the boobs I tried to hide from them anyway. I thought about cancelling often. I kept thinking I was overreacting.
Maybe all this awareness everywhere is just a marketing scam of some kind. Maybe my insurance’s strange guidelines are indicative that my age means I’m not at risk and it’s just some random bean-y lump thing that means nothing. I’m paranoid, I’m too paranoid and they’re going to think I’m ridiculous. I’m going to get faces, expressions of disapproval. I let the commercials get to me. I’m just wasting taxpayer money. I should cancel. I don’t need to go. This is silly. Me? A lump that is more than a pimple that grew on the wrong side of my boob skin? Unlikely. I should cancel.
Apparently, it’s not iron plates anymore? It’s a shelf with a plastic press under a huge steel arm. There’s buttons, foot pedals, screens, moving pieces, lights…it’s a lot to take in. They put little pieces of pink tape over your nipples– they look like butterfly stitches. Then they mark the lump with a circle sticker. Then they do things to your boobs that no average woman experiences in the bedroom. Maybe they do, I don’t know; no one has ever twisted my tit at that angle before. It was awkward, they don’t really make a lot of room for your face when your boob is in the press; it’s pressed against the bulk of the machine’s arm holding the plate. There’s a big plastic guard over it, too; which makes it that much more awkward. I don’t have a high tolerance for pain but this didn’t hurt. Maybe this is where my small chest finally benefits me? It did hurt when the tech put this smaller, more precise press on. It created a very sharp pain but it only a lasted few seconds then it was done, bam, over. Put your boobs away, lady.
They check the results right there and I was soon having the sono (is it sono or ultrasound? I don’t even know). They said I have “dense breast tissue” and a sono is required to double check for anything hiding. The lump was visible right away. A black void on a screen of gray waves. Almond shaped. I spoke to the radiologist who examined both the mammo and sono shots and what do you know? Once again, strangely enough, bizarrely, crazily….
More fucking debris
Is there another woman out there with this much debris in their 34B boobs? What the actual fuck? I was really expecting to be told this is a cyst and to just wait it out but no, this chick has to tell me debris. I bit the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing in her face. Why do I keep getting told this and if this is a common, or semi-common thing, why aren’t we more informed on this?! …fucking debris. It sounds made up! Why aren’t there charts for breast cancer awareness that says, “Hey, look, it could be debris…here’s what you need to know.” You have to do the research, which isn’t a bad thing, but some bullet points could help reduce the anxiety that comes with this confusing, new information.
Mass probably isn’t the best term, but I opted to get this thing biopsied. I’m not sure what all my insurance covers but I’m hoping they’ll bill me after instead at the time of so I can come up with some sort of payment schedule I’m sure I won’t be able to afford.
The radiologist said that because I breastfed (I marked on the form I did not breastfeed, maybe she meant produced milk in general), sometimes there is debris left behind that hardens. I have no idea what she’s talking about. Again, this is stuff women should be informed of earlier in life. She thinks this is what happened since I really have no symptoms (no swelling, redness, bloody nipple discharge, etc.). I agree with her, despite not really knowing what she’s talking about. I don’t think it’s anything serious. But then she goes on to explain that she’s going to stick two needles in my boob and starts talking about clips?? I’ve never heard of this! What is she talking about?! I’ve had biopsies before but no one mentioned clips before. She then said, very casually:
And if it’s anything, a surgeon will come and just [she does a weird hand gesture here] take it right out.
I didn’t know how to respond to this. It was like she started out with the, “it’s nothing” spiel then dove headfirst into the “casually preparing you for the truth” tone. It just freaked me out. I was fine up until that point. Her statement sucked all my verbal skills right out of my body. I had questions, things to say, and information I wanted to hear; and yet, all I did was nod. I believe my mouth was even slightly agape. Usually I take my doctor’s first words as their final words. “Oh, it’s nothing? [nervous laugh] Then I need hear nothing more! Good day, sir!” But something about this woman’s change in tone, body language, facial expression…it threw me off and sent my guard up quick. So, I’ll get the biopsy in two weeks because I’m now more worried than I was before even though I still feel it’s most likely like she said…more harmless debris.
To read the first part of this experience, click here