Suspicion – A Red Flag Goes Up

by Heather

Like a good girl, I began getting yearly mammograms when I was 40.  Little did I suspect that a mere 4 years later the somewhat-uncomfortable process would have something to say to me.

I started when I was 40, because, having a disabled son, I don’t have time to get really sick, and so, have adopted a conservative approach to my own health – always “going in” for anything more than an allergy attack, the common cold, or a routine headache… and starting mammograms at age 40.  Thank goodness for PPO health insurance, and a husband with a job that provides the opportunity to have it!

As many mammogram technicians have told me, I have dense, fibrous breasts.  And, as another doctor recently so politically correctly put it, they’re ample.  So, was I surprised when the technician at my local medical group came back into the room and told me to get undressed again?  Not so much as annoyed.  However, this technician is efficient –  No gowns, please, they just get in the way.  So I shoved my left armpit into the corner of the base of the x-ray machine again, and she took close ups.  She left to take a look at those, then came back, had me take off my shirt and so-happy-I-wore-a-sports-bra again.  And we re-did the close ups.

After leaving to look at the 2nd round of close ups, then returning, she told me there was a spot on the original films, but we made it disappear in the close ups, so please see their radiology receptionist for an appointment for an ultrasound ASAP.  My question to her was “Today? Tomorrow? Next week?”  Her answer, “Today, if possible.”  It wasn’t, due to issues with both their schedule and mine.  So the next day I went in for the ultrasound.  It wasn’t hard to tell that the ultrasound tech was looking at something (though she didn’t say a word), when she spent 5 minutes in one spot, clicking away like a secretarial student in a typing test, and a total of about 30 seconds on the remainder of the boob.  (I will use “boob” a lot, as “breast” is more proper than I am.)  So, anyway, that was Wednesday.

On Thursday afternoon, the 7th of June, my OBGyn called to tell me that the films show a mass.