I'm sure some of you know what the above machine is. I had never seen one before today. This isn't a typical blog post topic for me, but since it involves my life, I feel it is appropriate to share.
I don't think I have ever mentioned on my blog that my maternal grandmother died in 2005 of breast cancer. She never told anyone she had it, I think she may have not known herself until it was too late. And we didn't find out until she ended up in the hospital and passed away a few days later, she was 84. Then, last year, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 67. She had felt a lump for quite some time and my dad finally convinced her to go to the Dr.(my family has a weird aversion to going to the Dr.). They removed the lump right away and then she underwent radiation treatments. They think they got it all, but she obviously is still being monitored.
Last week I noticed that my left breast was aching, which was not normal, hubby said to go to the Dr. Of course I told him No, that I would wait it out(again, weird aversion to going to the Dr, I'm fine with the dentist!). Well, after a couple of days of pain, I felt around, shamefully I hadn't done a real self breast exam in ages, and noticed a lump. That scared me, and I called the Dr. the same day.
My Dr. appointment was yesterday. She also felt the lump but she was pretty sure it felt like normal tissue that had made itself into a lump but because of my family history she wanted me to get a mammogram. They scheduled the appt. for it in the office and the hospital was able to get me in this morning. Hubby went with me. This was my first ever mammogram and I wasn't sure what to expect other than I have read that they really squeeze things :)
So the technician was very nice and she is taking pictures of both sides and I kept thinking "this isn't so bad, it's not that much of a squeeze". Then she says that she is going to take some more localized pics of the lump area....Wowzers!!! those last two pictures hurt so much! I didn't think they could safely squeeze them that much. Luckily it was only few seconds.
She then had to go show the pics to the radiologist. And the wait begins. I hate the waiting part because all the worst things flash through your head.
She comes back in and says they need to do an ultrasound. Off to the U/S wing I go.
For the ultrasound I had a student along with the regular technician, which was actually kind of nice because instead of not knowing what was going on, they were talking about things the whole time. They both looked at the lump and said it was normal tissue, WHEWWW! But, then they said they needed to look at the dense areas that the mammogram showed, Crap! So now I'm nervous. Especially when the tech starts to do measurements of something.
They finish up and say that they will take the results to the radiologist, but not to get dressed because he may want to do the ultrasound himself. The wait begins again. Did I mention that I hate the waiting part?!
The two women come back in with the radiologist. He does the ultrasound. Confirms the initial lump is normal and then looks at the other areas from the mammogram. He's nice and talks and asks me how long I have noticed things. Then he says that the other areas are decent size cysts. He said "these are benign, again benign, not cancer, nothing to worry about, just cysts, and you can go enjoy the rest of your day". Thank you Lord!! Apparently cysts can form anywhere in your body, especially where there is fiberous tissue(like the breasts) and can come and go with hormones of your cycle. And because of the size of them, that is why I was achy.
So there, that was my first experience with a mammogram and realizing that I'm not a spring chicken anymore and that more of these will be in my future. And tonight I need to call my mom and ask her what kind of breast cancer she had because the mammogram tech said that it was important to find out because of the family history.
Moral of the story, if you think something is wrong, get it checked out, catch it early or find out it is nothing to worry about.
I'm relieved to say the least and now I can enjoy the weekend.