Thursday, April 8, 2010

Got Lumps? Even if you don't--Get a Mammogram!!

I got my fourth biopsy results today and they are benign!! YIPPEE!! I hope EVERYONE gets a yearly mammogram! I KNOW they are inconvenient and cumbersome, but they can SAVE your life! I know a few wonderful ladies who are survivors and even though I haven't had breast cancer, I certainly have had the SCARE!! AND even though a few friends (and they know who they are) have watched me have biopsy after biopsy THEY STILL HAVEN'T HAD their first mammogram!!

I'll share by story so you can see how important getting a mammogram is. I have NEVER found or really felt a lump, but I've had one removed. I had my very first mammogram in 2002, late, of course, because who has one the very second they turn 35? I waited until I was 36 to even think about it and then my doctor gave me a referral and then I got around to it and in June when I was driving to a Close to my Heart convention and Ginger and Keri were in my car, I answered my cell phone (because everything important in my life can be connected to Close to My Heart in some way or another), and it was the doctors office calling to tell me there was some suspicious areas in my mammogram and that I needed to come back in..... Now this is NOT a good thing to hear on a cell phone when you are driving..... In 2002 things moved VERY slowly, it took approximately 8 months to get from that phone call through another mammogram to a visit with a surgeon who was perplexed because there was no lump to finding myself laying on a table with my left breast through a hole having a stereotactic biopsy (from underneath) which was much more taxing procedure (probably emotionally) than I anticipated having driven myself, wishing I had someone with me for moral support and to drive me home so if you get to do that, TAKE SOMEONE. I got my first metal "marker." The results were benign, I have calcifications, "sprinkles", no lumps in my left breast.

Meantime, I've had mammograms in between, sometimes on time, sometimes not really on time, but sort of once per year. In 2007 my insurance made me go to Desert Radiology. They called me and made me go back TWICE for compression tests (a worse mammogram---LOL!) The second technician was RUDE (my opinion of course) and said, "Have your breasts always been this small?" WTH? What was I supposed to say to that? Umm,.... "Well,t hey were smaller when I was born?" "When I get REALLY fat, they plump up a bit?" "My cousin always says when I loose weight he can tell because the first thing to go is my boobs?" "When I nursed all four babies, they got a tiny bit bigger when they were full of milk?" "Are technicians REALLY allowed to comment on breasts they are smashing?" When I had to go back for the SECOND compression test I told the technician about the remarks and she was appalled, maybe that's why they never called me back for most tests. LOL!!

In 2008, LifeSigns offered FREE mammograms for Teachers during November so I went there. By this time I am a bit more experienced with mammograms and expecting to perhaps get a call afterwards or have to get another test. It was such a nice experience, it was Breast Cancer Awareness Month and they had bagels and pink creme cheese and strawberries and water and nice fluffy luxurious robes to wear. WOW!! What a difference from waiting forever in the waiting room at Desert Radiology and being humiliated by a technician. Then I got a call...... You need to go to West Valley Imaging and have an ultrasound, how fast can you get there? Now, this is QUITE a departure from my experience in 2002, they got me in for a different test DAILY, in fact, they would do a test, the technician at West Valley Imaging would take it to the doctor and come back and tell me, come back tomorrow and we are going to do...... I had compression tests, ultrasounds, miralumas, etc., ending in another biopsy. However this biopsy was done laying on my back under ultrasound and was not NEAR as traumatic (emotionally at least for me) as the first one, but I could feel the needle hitting the "lump" that I have this time even though I cannot feel it with my fingers, I could feel "it" resisting the needle. The results came back benign.

In 2009 LifeSigns offered FREE mammograms for Teachers again during November so remembering the great experience I had last November I went again....... I arrived for my appointment, everything had changed, no bagels, no creme cheese, darn, Kassidy had gone with me she wanted the treats, she was so sad. AND when the doctor saw my charts, REFUSED to do the mammogram. He was like, YOU NEED MORE HELP than I can give you here, you need diagnostic mammograms and I am not doing you. Basically I got KICKED out of a mammogram. (I am starting to get a complex about mammograms.....)

So I went back to West Valley Imaging. .... THIS time, they did ONE mammogram, came back immediately and said, the lump has grown, you need to see a surgeon and have it removed immediately and have it biopsied. She showed me where the lump was and now that I KNOW where it is, I can finally feel it. She said, "Go get a referral from your OB/GYN to see a surgeon and have it removed right away." So I got a referral from my OB/GYN, whom I loved to DEATH, and ended up going to see Dr. Josephine Spotts. Dr. Spotts looks like a character from a Lemony Snicket book (remember I teach Kindergarten and LOVE children's literature, so there you go), she is tall, thin, with dark spiky hair, I LOVE HER! She is no nonsense and looks over her specs at you. It's sort of an eiery feeling to be in her office because you KNOW that almost every woman in there has breast cancer except for the FEW frauds like me who are there to have a little old lumpectomy. I mean, really, put THAT into perspective for a minute. Once I met them they wanted to schedule surgery immediately (remember they deal with CANCER so most patients are in a hurry to get it out--I was FREAKED that they wanted to cut me in a few days....and I'm like, oh, I have too much to do, I have stamp camp, and report cards, and YIKES, can I schedule it in a month during spring break?, I was not the most cooperative patient.....) Dr. Spotts does her surgeries at Sunrise Hospital. That was quite an experience in and of itself. Nowadays when you preadmit they do an EKG and bloodwork, I went to do my paperwork and did not know that when I walked in the room they would tell me, "pull up your shirt" and go to town putting stuff on my chest, drawing blood, asking questions, etc. Normally when they want to work on you they say, "take off your shirt, etc., put on this drape," they close the door and give you privacy. NOT!! They left the door open, people were walking in and out, on this particular day I had worn a VERY cute bra (I have a penchant for very cute bras). This one is creme brulee' and kind of scrapbooky.... It has a floral design in tulip and sorbet with chocolate swirls and then other parts are tulip with creme brulee polka dots. People that were walking in and other asking questions, drawing blood and doing my EKG were commenting on my cute bra. HAD I been prepared for this it may have been more amusing as it is now but at the time I was mortified...... I mean, come on, people, where did the drapes go, did they give them up in the budget cuts or what???

Anyway, the end result is that my pathology results came back today BENIGN!! YEAH!! But the best thing is that I badger my friends to get their mammograms and I have had TWO friends (YEA Sue & Anj!) this week text me and report in that they have scheduled theirs so if you have scheduled yours! Please comment and let me know so I don't have to badger you! If you live in Vegas my doctor does NOT recommend LifeSigns or West Valley Imaging (she thinks West Valley Imaging is TOO aggressive with tests, she thinks they should've cut out my lump last year instead of running all the tests because she says 90% of the time they cut them out anyway (but then she's a surgeon and you known on Grey's Anatomy those surgeons just want to cut....), she recommends Desert Radiology (I don't, rude technicians) or Steinberg because they have digital mammograms). (That is assuming that you read to the very end of this very long.............. post!) <3 I

2 comments:

  1. Kim:
    Thanks for the reminder. I do not live in NV, but I have had the pleasure of visiting a surgeon for a lump. Fortunately, it was not knife-worthy, but it means that I must have a mammo every year. All I can say is 'Listen to her, ladies.' Nothing is worse than woulda, coulda, shoulda. I came for scrapbook ideas, but as is the case with our wonderful community, received a shared experience and life reminder. Isn't that what scrapbooking is all about?

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  2. Thanks for your comment, so glad that you have GOOD news to share!! And that you survived my post! :) Thanks for visiting my blog!

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