Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Journal About Breast Health

I considered writing this post awhile ago but for several months this wasnt something that a lot of my family knew about. My husband and my parents and one of my aunts were the only ones who knew what was going on.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I despise going to the doctors. I absolutely dont go unless there is something that I just cant fix. It is one of those things that drives my husband crazy and my folks. However, this is one of things that I had no choice but to have to take care of.

About four months ago, I started having problems. I had some right breast pain but ignored it as monthly issues. Then I developed this area on my breast that I couldnt get under control with lotions, creams, or anything else. The lymph nodes under my right arm swelled up from the breast to under my arm and down my arm. I started running low grade fevers and getting chills.

I have never been one to do monthly breast examines or anything. I mean why would I do that. I am 35 years old and that just wasnt something I ever concerned myself with. But when all this stuff started going on I decided to just feel around and see what was up. That is when I noticed a lump in my right breast.
I told my husband about it and he said I needed to go and get it checked out. I put it off for awhile longer because it was embarrassing. I didnt want to go to the doctor for this plus we didnt have insurance at the time and I didnt want to have to put out the money for going.

Finally about four months ago, I went to a local clinic and talked to the doctor there. She examined the area and the swollen lymph nodes. She politely walked me to the front office of her clinic, had them refund the money that I paid to be seen and told me to go straight to the emergency room.
UGGGG!!!! I did not want to go there. We all know that when you go to the emergency room, it costs a lot more and with no insurance, the tests were going to be crazy. I called my husband and he came home from work and took me there. We went to a hospital that was in my county because I was told that they would give a discount to residents in the county who didnt have insurance.

The doctor at the emergency room examined the area and said that I had to get a mammogram and ultra sound of the area but their facility didnt have that. She said the costs of those tests were expensive. She gave me a list of places to call to see if there was a way to get discounts on those services. She told me not wait around another month before getting this stuff done.

I of course did wait around another month and a half until my husbands insurance went into effect. When we finally got our insurance cards I waited another two weeks before I was threatened by family to make the appointment.

At the end of April, I called my gyn and told them what was going on and they made an appointment for that day. I went there and after the examine they gave me an prescription to get a mammogram and ultrasound done. UGGGGGG!!!! By now I have seen 3 different doctors which is more than I have seen in the last two years.

On May 1st, I had to go to the Breast Health Center at the Hospital where I used to work. I was so nervous about having the mammogram done because lets be honest, everyone knows that they are going to flatten your breasts like a pancake and that just isnt natural.
I was trying to convince myself that there wasnt going to be anything found and that I was just imagining all this and they would do the tests and that would be the end of it. I was encouraged at check in that if nothing was found on the mammogram that I wouldnt have to do the ultrasound, in fact I prayed that there wouldnt be anything found.

The mammogram was very uncomfortable and flatten like a pancake I think is an understatement but it was quick and I was thankful for that. The tech who did the mammogram said that the doctor needed to look at the mammogram because they were probably going to want a ultrasound. I sat outside the room waiting for what seemed like forever praying that wasnt going to be the case. However, ten minutes later I was taken to ultrasound and went had that done.

That next Monday, because the mammogram and all was on Friday, my doctor called me and asked if I was told what was going on. I said no and then she told me that there was a tumor found in the muscle wall of my right breast. She told me I needed to call a General Surgeon and call her back that afternoon with the appointment date and time.
I will quite honestly say that though tumor sounds bad, I am not a doom and gloom sort of person and so though it is worrisome, I do not anticipate the worst of anything.

I made the phone call to the General Surgeon and had an appointment on May 8th. The general surgeon went over all the results from the mammogram and the ultrasound and again the area was examined. She sat down with my husband and I and said that there are two options here. One is to get a Core Biopsy, where they go in with a large needle and take some the tissue of the tumor or a Surgical Biopsy where they go in and take the whole tumer and surrounding tissue and send all that off to the lab. My husband and I couldnt decided right then and there what the best choice was going to be and so we were told we could make our decision over the weekend.

My husband and I discussed it and he said that it would be better to get the whole thing taken care of at one time and not have to worry about it anymore. I talked to family members and they said the same thing. So, we called the doctor back and gave them our decision.
That evening, we decided that it was time to let the kids know that was going on. They were upset that I didnt tell them about anything sooner. We explained the whole thing to them and let them ask questions. I apologized for not letting them know because I didnt think that this would be the outcome of this ordeal.

Here is where I am at now. This Monday, May 18th I have to go and do all the pre-op stuff. Then on May 22, I have to be at the Breast Center at 8am where they are going to do another ulrasound and insert a wire that goes to the tumor and tissue. From there I will be taken to the operating room and the doctor will remove the tumor and the surrounding tissue. It is a same day procedure and so I will get to go home that same day.
The next Monday, I have to call the General Surgeon and make an appointment for Friday where she will go over the results of the biopsy.

I will keep posting as the days go on but I think it is important that women know that when something changes in your breasts, it is important to go and get it checked. I know that it might seem embarrassing and worrisome but it is important to your health. My doctors have worked quickly on everything since the tumor was found and that has been very impressive to me.

I am not as worried about things because things have moved quickly and I havent had to sit around and wait for things to be done. Thank goodness we have insurance and that helps to eleviate some of the stress. The next big hurdle is the surgery and after that just waiting for the results of the biopsy.

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