My 1st Mammogram and Why You Maybe Shouldn’t Wait to Get One Yourself
With it being October and all, and the emotional trauma of what I’m about to share having mostly worn off, I’m going to tell you why I don’t think you should wait to get a mammogram.
My mother is a breast cancer survivor (and soon to be endometrial cancer survivor!), so I’m considered “high risk.” My doctors advised me to start getting mammograms 10 years before she was diagnosed/got cancer. She was diagnosed at 45. Her doctor estimated that even though it was incredibly slow-growing and Stage 1 when it was SELF-CAUGHT, that she probably had the lump for about 10 years. That meant that somewhere between 25-35 I needed a mammogram.
I turned 30 this summer, and it seemed like a really good time to go get a mammogram. I thought of it as a rite of passage, if you will, as if getting one meant I was a WOMAN now. Yeah, I know, a million other things should make me feel like a woman, but maybe what I’m also grappling with is this getting “old” thing.
I was referred to a women’s imaging center (I recommend these over other places, not that I know that much about “other places”), and I was kind of amused. A WOMAN, I thought to myself a little smugly, BEING SO RESPONSIBLE. Let me instagram myself.
The doctor had ordered a mammogram and an ultrasound because I’ve felt a lump in one of my breasts ever since high school. I’ve been advised by every doctor (5 at least) I’ve ever seen that it was a “normal” lump and absolutely nothing I needed to worry about or get checked out (maybe my current, awesome GP wasn’t exactly thinking that since she said I should go get a mammogram). The mammogram was standard, and the ultrasound was meant to create a baseline so that from now on the lump could be more accurately monitored.
First up was the mammo (is that how it’s shortened?), and I was so nervous! I asked my mom whether or not it was worse than a pap, and she said she didn’t remember it being worse, and my friend’s mom confirmed, definitely not worse, so then I knew it wasn’t a big deal. I know all breasts are different, but it really wasn’t uncomfortable at all. I AM FEARLESS WOMAN, I thought. Marathons definitely hurt more than mammograms (Good idea for a website/hashtag - “#ThingsThatHurtWorseThanAMammogram” - bee stings, hang nail, migrane…SAVE YOUR BOOBS!1!!)
The technician led me back to the private waiting room to wait for the ultra sound, and let me know it was possible the doctor might want another set of pictures, and that it was completely normal to need more pics and there was no reason to be concerned.
No extra xrays were needed, so on to the ultrasound! The technician was a woman, so nice actually, and we went through the same routine. I told her where the lump was and she took extra pics of it. Then she gave me the same spiel, that the doc may want more pictures and that it shouldn’t be cause for any concern. I’ll admit, I was wondering if they just say that to everybody, or are they straight up with you when there’s something really wrong…
So the doc comes in. I have lumps. Oh, yah, I know, that one on this side. Well, that one, but there’s several in both breasts. Uh huh (not really panicked, but you know, that’s not immediately digestible no matter who you are or how you think).
He wanted to do a core needle biospy in both breasts.
Getting my breasts biopsied. I said it in my head over and over again. Then to all of my girlfriends, and then to my family, and my boyfriend.
It sounded so…close to cancer.
Biopsy, that comes before cancer.
I checked my insurance, it seemed like they covered everything from mammogram to biopsy to surgery to reconstruction. Phew, I thought, it won’t be a financial nightmare to have cancer. « I hate this
I told everyone I confided in that if it was cancer, I already knew what I was doing-double mastectomy and reconstruction. There was no two ways about it. BRING IT ON, I thought. WOMAN. STRONG. After all, my mom is battling Stage 4 endometrial cancer (AND WINNING), so if she can do it, I can do it. In fact, she’s already beat breast cancer! So THERE!
But that was one long week and a half before getting the results.
For the core needle biopsy (that’s a large hallow needle for those still with me), I was able to take something to relax, so nerves weren’t an issue. Then they numbed me up, which was what hurt the most. Like bee stings. I’ll leave out the part when they took the actual biopsy, but let me just say, do yourself a favor and take something for anxiety before getting that done. The contraption they use is a little frightening. BUT NOTE: It didn’t hurt. NO PAIN. So don’t be scared if you need to get it done, just relax, it’s all good.
So I had my boobs biopsied. Then I went to the NY Public Library for some retail therapy. And then I walked home with some new books about NYC and a set of Bananagrams. And THEN I went to Westchester for Brian’s softball game. And then, the local anesthesia wore off.
OWWWWWWEEEEE. For like 5 days. Two extra strength tylenol really did the trick, but ooowwwweeee my boobs hurt soooo bad. And they were black, blue, and yellow. Walking, the bouncing, oof, and definitely no running for like 2 weeks.
And then the little scars. They are still there, 3 months later, little bee stings, but they will fade.
It took a few days for the results to come in, and NO CANCER.
But, I’ll need an ultrasound every six months for the next year and a half, and then a mammogram every year for the rest of my life.
If you ask me, after this experience, after talking with so many women my age, younger, older, that’ve said to me, oh, I guess I should check into that, I have a close relative that’s had breast cancer, we are taking too big of a risk waiting till 40 or 50 to get a mammogram. If you just read that and thought the same thing, GO GET ONE.
I’m still not sure if I should get a second opinion on the matter. I’ve decided to wait for the 6 month check up to think about further action. Some people are of the opinion that while it might not be cancer, it’s still a “foreign” mass in your body, and that’s just asking for trouble. But, I’m not looking to delve into that conversation here. I just want to say if you are thinking about it, go get one. Catching it sooner than later is the key to survival. #BreastCancerAwareness
I’m high risk for BC because of family history. I got some imaging done. There were lumps. No cancer, but I’ll need a mammogram once a year for the rest of my life. PSA: DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND GO GET YOUR BOOBS SMOOSHED. Early detection is key!
21 Notes/ Hide
- allisonweiss likes this
- rosiesiman reblogged this from mdfsmash
- rosiesiman likes this
- strle likes this
- tresmeses likes this
- rebeccalando likes this
- kre likes this
- attlashands likes this
- kellyreeves likes this
- losingweightinthecity likes this
- karion likes this
- caro reblogged this from mdfsmash and added:
- caro likes this
- weker1 likes this
- falconieri likes this
- fredseibert reblogged this from mdfsmash
- coskay likes this
- thekeevster likes this
- mdfsmash posted this