Freshly Squeezed

I’m Only 33
Yesterday I had my first mammogram

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     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?

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     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.

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     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

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2 thoughts on “Freshly Squeezed

  1. Um, to ME? That breast-ologist (I know they’re gynecologists, even OB/GYNs but their lumping (no pun intended) our boobs into the lady parts category requires some thought)..um. That GUY (I assume the doctor was a man? ) didn’t know how to talk to you, his patient. IMHO. In best case scenarios (I always get the best case scenario because I have experience in the medical field and I know what they’re saying, even when they use that medical terminology double speak shit they pull on most patients) in best case, they should have said to you something like “we’re gonna biopsy it JUST TO BE SURE, and probably will opt to just take the whole thing out, because we DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL IT IS.” Of course no medical ‘professional’ would ever admit they didn’t know something. I think they think it makes them look bad and the patient loses confidence in them or some horseshit like that. And that woman who ‘assumed’ because you had children that you breastfed, should have been stopped in her babbling tracks and told “NO I DID NOT BREAST FEED. WHOSE CHART ARE YOU LOOKING AT ANYWAY?” because it might have been important for that whole discussion of ‘debris’. Debris? Really? Well I’m due for my annual mammo this year and at 38-42 C (my tit size expands with my waist line – at least according to the bras that are comfortable and unwearable if I get fatter) it’s not a fun procedure at all, but I just look at the silly cartoons they invariably provide (to take your mind off the fact that they’re squeezing your titty to the size of a flat steak) and think of England. Or America or something.

    And ‘too young’ for a mammo??? Who are these people? I’d spread the word that they are rather stupid and spare others the things you experienced. I had my first one at 35. I had what they delicately called “women’s issues” (uncertain cycles, a lot of pain and a lot of other stuff) and so they did it to make sure the reproductive organs didn’t have any sort of cancer to explain their odd behavior. I was asked to come in every 3-5 years thereafter until I turned 51. I had menopause at 47 and this too puzzled the hell out of them. After 51 I was told to come in ‘every five years’.

    Last year my mother’s sister (maternal aunt) was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was somewhere the far side of 80 or 90 (I don’t like her, I don’t know how old she really is), but that apparently puts my schedule (and her daughters, all three of them) on a sort of fast track. Because now they know we have ‘the gene’. Oh please. I think it’s just another tactic to play feelsies with strange breasts…. (j/k…breast cancer is serious. I’m glad your doctor erred on the side of caution and took the thing out…he did, didn’t he??)

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    1. Thanks for your comment. No it’s not out. I go for a biopsy on February 6. Then we decide from there. And yeah, I have no idea what these people are talking about. I should really do my own research for clarification but with all this awareness out there now, how could these people make me feel insecure with the info they provided verbally? It makes no sense to me

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