Saturday, January 31, 2015

The tale of two scans.

I will begin by telling y'all that I'm fine.  Completely fine.

I went on a Thursday for a mammogram.  Now, when I visited my family doctor in December, he kindly reminded me that it had been a while since I had a mammogram.  I didn't realize I had been so remiss.  I knew that I got an order for one back in April and honestly, I forgot all about it.

"Unforget," was the word that my dear doctor departed with.  He takes precautionary stuff like this very seriously.  I appreciate him doing that.  I went straight home and scheduled one.

On again to Thursday, January 22.  I was scheduled at 10 AM.  I went to the office that I had been to before.  I recalled it not being the most pleasant experience in the world, but it is what it is.  That very morning, K saw me go out the door with a stick of deodorant in hand.

"Um, Mom?  Why are you going with deodorant and not just putting it on?"

"You can't wear it when you have a mammogram."

"What's that?"

"Well, you go to have an x-ray taken of your breasts to make certain that they are healthy.  They have to use a machine that clamps your breast in it and squeezes it down real hard to make sure that they get a good view."

"Does it hurt?"

"Yes, it does."

"I don't ever want to have that done to me."

"A little pain from a mammogram sure beats breast cancer."

"Oh.  Okay, then."

I took K to school, volunteered for a bit, then ran down to have the mammogram done.  I was the only one at the office.  They took their time.  The machine, however, slammed down on my breast harder than anything that I could ever imagine.


The tech asked me if I was okay or if I wanted her to stop.

"No, I want you to do whatever it is that you need to do."

She did.  All was well and I went on my way.  I was certain, however, that bruising would crop up.  I seriously thought that she was trying to remove my sternum from my chest.  That pain lasted for a good solid 24 hours.

Fast forward to Monday.  I was brushing my teeth and trying to get out the door to work.  The phone rang.  It looked like it was some robocall so I didn't answer.  It was my gynecologist's office.

"Hi, Amy?"

"Yes," I say with a mouthful of toothpaste.  "Hold on.  Sorry!"

I got back on and she told me that I needed to go for a rescreen and a possible ultrasound because they saw some dense tissue in my scan.

"Should I be worried?"

"No!  This happens to me every single time I go.  Don't worry.  It's fine.  It's probably just some tissue layered over top of each other."


She told me that they'd call me that day to let me know of my appointment.  They did.  It was Wednesday morning at 9 AM.

Can I tell you that we were a bit concerned.  I know that the appearance of what looked like dense tissue could be nothing.  I also know that dense tissue could be VERY bad.

I should also add that this also crossed over what we consider the "dark days of January."  Our first kiddo, Bailey, died January 27 and was born January 29.  Those days kind of really suck.  We tend to be a bit more emotionally vulnerable at the surface and this didn't help.  :S

Fast forward to Wednesday.  They scheduled me at the local hospital.  I told work that I would most likely be late, despite being 5 minutes or so down the road and having a 9 AM appointment.  By the way, I was late by about 5 minutes or so.

I never realized how incredibly disturbing morning programming was until I heard Kelly Ripa yammer on and on.  I was seriously a nervous wreck and I didn't find her morning banter as a good distraction.  Thankfully, I brought my iPod.  The Talking Heads and Pearl Jam's Cincinnati concert bootleg from this fall were very helpful.

I did finally get called in, a half hour late, but I'd rather them take their time caring for people one at a time.  The woman did what she needed to do but I noticed something and spoke to her about it.  She let the machine down slowly with the peddle and hand cranked it the rest of the way.  The other lady let it down fast and it slammed.

It is here that I tell you that there was a HUGE difference between the two.  One hurt and one did not.  Let us guess which one was a bit better received.

"I've noticed that you hand crank it the rest of the way and not to have it slam down all of a sudden."

"I've found that it works out so much better."

"My guess is that you've had a scan or two."

"Yes, I have."  :smirk added:

I texted M that I was back out and was just waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting.  It wasn't really long but it did feel like an entire day of sitting there.

The world's best mammogram tech came out and said, "Good news!  It doesn't appear in any other scans.  You are good!  Keep up with your annual exams."

The sweetest words of my month.

I have a theory.  The instantaneous slamming of my breast in the machine didn't give it time to settle. It slammed tissue and as they said, could have superimposed tissue on top of the other causing the appearance of dense tissue.  When you roll the machine down slower, it allows flesh and tissue to more gradually compact and thus allowing a better image.  That and I might add that slow and steady doesn't hurt.  Slamming does.

So y'all, remember to go get your annual exam if you are 40 or more.  For some reason, I thought annual mammograms started at 50.  Oops.  I promise.  Every year.  Back to the hospital and back to the best mammogram tech EVER!

:wipes to the forehead:

1 comment:

ChupieandJ'smama (Janeen) said...

Good!!! I have very dense tissue and I know what you went through. I even got the sonogram treatment.

I just went a little over a week ago. I put it off and I've forgotten before also. But one of dearest friends just found out she has breast cancer. They caught it through the mammogram and it was stage one. It runs in her family and genetic testing confirmed that she has the gene so she had a radical mastectomy and is currently going through reconstruction but she will just fine. Made me realize how silly I am for putting it off.

And yay for hand cranking vs slamming. I've never had anyone slam. All of mine are hand crankers. I feel very lucky ;)