Tag Archives: mammogram

First Ever Mammogram

If you’re a woman you’ve heard horror stories about the mammogram process. I had a slight idea of what was to come when I walked into the doctor’s office bright and early the morning of August 5th.

For those who know me well, you know I am not a morning person. The fact that I had to arrive to the doctor by 7:30 was bad enough but the idea of getting my boobs smashed by 8 made it even worse.

I got there and all checked in. They asked me the “normal” screaming questions relating to COVID-19 and I was taken right back. This clinic was exceptional. Very comfortable and clean with a wonderful staff. I was directed to a dressing room, given a gown, and told to change and I would be called shortly.

I’m not sure why I took pictures of this process. Something told me to start at the very beginning documenting everything. Now I know why!
I was told that once I was changed I should open the door and wait.

Within a few minutes they came to get me. The process was explained and we began. They did three images on each side. It took maybe 10 minutes. And it wasn’t as bad as I had been told! There was no discomfort and each image took about five seconds. The weirdest part was holding your breath while the actual image was taken but the tech told me exactly what to do. I was not shy about all this. I’ve had three kids and breastfed all of them. After that, I think you lose all modesty!

I was then taken back to my room to wait for the doctor to view the images and prepare for the sonogram. I should add here that not everyone getting a mammogram receives a sonogram. Because I was there for a diagnostic visit I knew I would be having one. Normally, you only receive a sonogram if there is an abnormality they want to take a better look at.

Within five minutes I was taken in for the sonogram. This was painless as well. It was just like having one while pregnant except of the breast. The tech told me that the doctor would be doing her own sonogram once she viewed my images. I thought at that time it was a bit odd that the doctor would need to do a complete sonogram, but I still was not too concerned.

I could see the images from my mammogram on the screen and I could see a large white spot that I assumed was the lump. It did look scary, but I had no clue really what I was looking at. Still no nerves or worry on my part. If the staff was concerned they were very good at not showing it.

The tech left to get the doctor. Dr. F entered. She was very friendly and had great bedside manner. We chatted for a few minutes about my family and she began doing her exam. Within just a few minutes she said that there was a mass that was very concerning. She showed it to me on the screen and explained there were several “satellite masses” coming off the larger one. The large mass had an irregular shape and she was going to be ordering a contrast mammogram and a biopsy to be done as soon as possible.

At this point I had a gut feeling something was very wrong. I was in this exam room alone. Chris was not allowed to come in due to COVID. He was outside in the car unaware of anything happening inside. I fought back tears as Dr. F explained the next steps to me. I asked how large the mass was and she told me it was “large” and the area was close to 5cm total. I had no idea how big that was but if she thinks it’s large that scared me.

I was scheduled for the contrast mammogram, which would be the same as the mammogram I had just done except they would inject a dye via IV to see in more detail the mass and satellite masses. They would use those images to know exactly where to biopsy. The biopsy needle biopsy would be done with general anesthesia and several samples would be taken from two spots. Both procedures were scheduled for the following Wednesday, the 12th.

I gathered my things, my mind still swirling, and went out to the car. As soon as I sat down in the car, before Chris could say anything, I started crying and said this isn’t good. I explained to him what the doctor had said. He, being his normal positive self, comforted me and said we would take this one day at a time. O told me not to Google anything, but I’m fairly certain he knew I would anyway.

I began making phone calls and sending texts to family and close friends. I was a mess and several stopped what they were doing to pray with me, which helped so much! It was going to be a crazy busy week and I was hoping that would help keep my mind off things.

In the next post I will tell you about the following week! It’s an exciting one.

This Feels Different

One of the first questions Dr. P asked me was, “When did you first notice this lump”? I couldn’t tell her. I honestly had no idea.

I believe it was about three months ago. While in the shower I felt something that wasn’t normal. I began trying to self-diagnose. “It’s probably from stopping breastfeeding”. I had Eli in December 2018 and breastfed until roughly October of 2019. The feeling I had was as if a milk duct was clogged and I assumed it would improve on its own.

Another excuse I made was that it was hormones. I was having other symptoms of hormone imbalance and had convinced myself it was all related. I watch medical dramas on TV and love all things medical, so I know it’s nothing bad. Anyone who knows me well just laughed out loud. I know you did. I laughed while writing that sentence!

About three months ago I went to Dr P. for my annual gynecology exam. We discussed some of the symptoms I was having and those symptoms led her to believe I was suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). I began taking medication for that and a sonogram of my ovaries was ordered. I didn’t mention anything about the lump because I knew it was nothing.

COVID-19 hit right around the time of my scheduled sonogram so we opted to postpone the appointment. Finally, in July I scheduled the sonogram. It was negative for PCOS. Dr. P said I had every symptom but the actual cysts. We would watch it and take further action if needed. Text of my hormone levels all came back within normal ranges. Some on the lower side, but nothing of concern. It was something we would continue to monitor yearly at exams.

It was at this point, while sitting in her office, I thought I should mention the lump. Dr. P and I love to chat. She had been in there a while and was getting ready to walk out. She asked if there was anything else. I said, well actually, I have this lump on my right breast. She felt and said, “I definitely feel something”.

I felt she had the same level of concern I did. She said this is probably just a benign cyst. To be safe I want you to have a mammogram and sonogram of the breast. The imaging place is just down the hall. I gathered my things along with my referral and headed to their office to make an appointment.

“Our first available appointment is in two weeks, August 5th”. Thanks again COVID! The appointment was scheduled and I went along with life as normal. No concern about the upcoming tests.