I'm only 37 and I had my first mammogram today.
Everyone who knows me will say that I am totally non-compliant when it comes to my own medical issues. I don't take prescribed medicine for my diabetes and I don't eat the way that I should. If there is something wrong with me I pretty much have to be dying to go to the doctor. You would think that since I am in the medical profession that this wouldn't bother me so much, but it does. I don't want to know what's wrong. I have seen what happens to people when they find out "what's wrong" and the outcome hasn't been pretty most of the time. I think to myself that if I go to the doctor for something, eventually there WILL be something wrong.
I didn't have to go to the doctor to find out that I was diabetic... I already worked there. I wasn't feeling like myself. I was urinating a lot, feeling very lethargic and kind of shaky. My friend Judy, who also happened to be the nurse practitioner in the practice that I managed, asked me if ever had my blood sugar taken before. She knew my Mom was a diabetic and I told her that I had taken it before, several years prior. We did a finger stick and my (non-fasting) blood sugar was over 300. Dr. Eads gave me that look that physicians must learn in medical school... the "you'd better take care of that" look! The next morning our phlebotomist did an A1C on me and it was sky high! Ugh. I made the much-dreaded appointment with my private doctor.
Throughout the years I have been on the being compliant/not being compliant rollercoaster. I think taking pills is a huge pain in the ass, then I think to myself that administering insulin injections on myself would suck a lot more. So, I had my stupid Glucophage prescription filled and have been back on the compliant bandwagon for a week. I'm slowly starting to change my eating habits because what is the purpose of taking medicine if I can't give up Cold Stone? It sucks, really.
So... A couple of weeks ago I started having pain in my right breast (modesty or refraining from talking about my privates has never been a strong point of mine so grab a cup of coffee if you are game!) It hurt like hell... as if someone was taking a needle and plunging into me - not fun.
Last Monday I was on break with my friends at work and I was telling them about the pain while I proceeded to feel my boobs in front of them. The under part of my breast was really swollen and there was actually a lump. I told my friends to come feel it and they all looked at me like I was mental. I told them it wasn't sexual and to come feel it. Brave Noelle was first and then Tina. Teresa (aka Pollyanna) wouldn't do it even though I tell myself that she secretly wanted to. They felt the lump so I knew that I wasn't crazy. (If you want to know who your true friends are ask them to feel the lump in your breast! Yep!)
I was out with this boy that I really like and he told me that I should have it checked out. My first thought was no freakin' way. I didn't want to know if there was something wrong especially since everyone in my family seems to be dying from cancer these days. But, you see... I really like this boy and would pretty much do anything for him, so I made an appointment with my doctor.
My doctor said the tissue in my right breast was inflamed and he gave me an antibiotic and said that with my family history I should have had a mammogram a long time ago. Ugh. My mammogram appointment today was for 7:00 am, which was not fun. Another thing that was not fun was not wearing deoderant or lotion for several hours! After registration they took me back and gave me a gown to wear. (It was really sexy - I should have taken a self portrait in it.)
The gown was small and the opening was in the front and I had to hold it together the whole time so my ample bosom didn't pop out. There really isn't time for modesty in places or situations like this. When I was led back to the room the tech told me exactly what she was going to do during the exam. The whole time she was telling me how she was going to hold and manipulate my breast for each image... demonstrating on herself the entire time. I don't think I ever looked at her face during the briefing since I was totally mesmerized that she was moving her breasts all about without a care in the world.
Before I went for my appointment I had asked all of my friends if mammograms hurt... they told me it didn't. Turns out that all my friends are dirty liars! It does hurt. It hurts like a bitch. I wondered how they did this to women with small breasts. That has to hurt! How do they get it in there? I need to see this in person! I wonder if youtube.com has mammogram videos? Hmmm....
After the tech tortured me she took the images to the radiologist to see if there was anything that he could see that was abnormal. That was the longest 15 minutes of my life. I was sitting in this small room and I felt so incredibly lonely all of the sudden. I was having this pain that could be nothing but could also be something that would alter my life immediately. I thought of my Grandmother sitting in the chair just like I was waiting... just like I was and would I hear the same news that they told her? I'm not even sure if that's how she found out. My mind was all over the place thinking about all of my family members who have been told that they had this horrible disease and that split second... that instant that would literally change their lives.
I tried to think happy thoughts. I wished I had a friend there with me. I wish that I wasn't sitting in that chair in that too-small gown holding my boobs in. I wished that I could stop thinking about everyone in my family with cancer, praying that I wouldn't be the next one.
The tech finally came back in and she said that I had lovely breast tissue... the kind that is transparent in the images and that I was lucky for that. She said that the doctor didn't find anything but I should follow up with my regular doctor since I am still having pain.
I think I was holding my breath the entire time I was waiting and upon hearing this news, I finally exhaled.
I walked back to my little dressing room and couldn't help but notice the woman that was next in line. We just looked at each other and I silently wished her luck. I noticed her gown was way too big on her and she was bigger than me! I think the tech gave me the smaller gown on purpose... she must have sensed that I have lovely breast tissue!