We always confirm our "pre planning" when it comes to scheduling our doctor appointments and staying up on our health. It is the "Yes Mom, I will call the Women's Wellness Center" responses that keep reminding us to actually pick up the phone and prioritize our bodies wellness rather than spending the day at the mall or with our nose buried in a good book.
Nobody "enjoys" having their breasts flattened like a pita pocket between 2 slabs of glass. While a clear mammogram diagnosis would naturally suffice anyone's bucket of happy, I still believe an additional token of achievement is required. It would be more fitting to have a coupon for a free stack of pancakes included with every "pancaking" of our breasts. Oh you bet I have planted the idea in the heads of any radiologist that has squeezed my melons.
By the way, when scheduling your first mammogram I don't recommend asking other women about their experience of squish. I heard horror stories from the gals in my office of how traumatizing the process was. How awful the pain was and how they cried during the procedure. Look, of course I understand everyone's pain threshold is different. But talking to too many ladies prior to my squishing only made me full of fear and anxiety. Was it uncomfortable? Yes. Was it tolerable? Yes. Was it over in a few minutes? Yes.
Bottom line...just do it.
After concerning results from my mammogram came back my Doctor wanted to schedule a biopsy on both breasts. I knew my Mother had fibrocystic breasts so I was not surprised that her and I were twinning in the boobie department.
This appointment was a bit harder to approach. Sure you can pita pocket my breasts and stab a tube needle inside them and take little samples. Probe me baby! The numbing needle was anything but enjoyable. I have a tendency to be a "chatty cathy" during any procedure I would consider to be intense. I remember telling the Doctors to "not stop talking to me" throughout the biopsy. At one point I knew they were really digging for chatting content but they were all really good sports about it. I stayed distracted and they got their boob sample.
While awaiting the results over a weeks time I spoke with the Prescreening Doctor at the Women's Wellness Center. I was concerned that after my first mammogram concerning areas were already showing themselves. My radiologist informed me that since my breasts were so full of cysts I was probably looking at needing to do a biopsy every 6-8 months.
I mentioned my family history of breast cancer being everywhere on both sides. My Doctor thought it best to send me to genetic testing where they would be able to further analyze any risk I may encounter in the future.
Genetics soon came back. I swear the stacks of paperwork made zero sense to me but I was set up with a Cancer Genetics Analyst to breakdown my reality and boy she did.
Honestly it was no surprise. After collecting every piece of cancer lineage I was sure something would pop up.
My genetics showed I tested positive for the Chek2 Mutation. One of the more rare mutations for breast cancer. The genetics plus my family history I was projected to have about a 65% risks of developing breast cancer. It was inevitable that I would most likely one day hear the "C" word.
I did not get lucky with Doctors that knew that serious steps needed to be taken to find out my risk percentage. I had to interview quite a few Dr's before I found the one that would take me seriously and listen to my concerns. I was "poo poo'd" by 2 others prior. Having been told "You're still young. Further testing is not necessary quite yet." I wasn't in a position to wait until something got bad. I was going to stop it before it even started. So take the time to find the right Dr for you. Do your research. Schedule the appointments. Walk out of the appointments. Schedule new ones. Ask a billion questions. Demand testing. If they refuse, go somewhere else.
If a Dr you scheduled an appointment with has his hand on the exam room door during your entire appointment, maybe he has place better to be. That's when you walk out and demand they don't bill your insurance.
Nobody is going to find the best for you. Only you can do that. So get out there and find the best.
After having a pretty intense biopsy on both breasts I was very happy to be done and back home!
Stay up to date on scheduling those annual mammograms! And don't forget to perform self breast exams at home!
It's OK to interview your Doctors. I went through 3 rounds until I found the team I was most happy with. It has to be a good fit!