Tuesday, August 28, 2007

One less thing to worry about
This morning I went into the breast center at the hospital to get further examination of the mass in my right breast. I've been keeping my cool about it, but I've been distracted & unable to focus on anything for the past week or so. I was OK with everything after the breast exam when the Doctor said she didn't think it was cancer, but then I started hearing horror stories from people. "That's the same diagnosis I got, but found out that it was cancer after the mammogram". Great, just what I wanted to hear.

I never thought it was cancer (or wanted to believe it could be), but I was worried when the pain never went away & thought that I should get checked out. During the exam with the Doctor, she kind of shrugged her shoulders. "It doesn't feel like cancer, but you could go in for a mammogram to double check". I wanted concrete proof that it was nothing rather than settling on a shoulder shrug & an opinion.

I was flabbergasted that our insurance company wouldn't cover the majority of the cost of a mammogram. During the exam, the Doctor recommended that I fill out an application with the Komen Foundation, who would cover the cost if I was approved. Fortunately, I was.

I checked in at the breast center of the hospital, where I found out that they decided to do an ultrasound rather than a mammogram. "You're too young for a mammogram", the front desk receptionist said with a smile. That's what I thought too, but when you have a "mass" in you breast, you've got to do what you've got to do. One of the nurses came up to the front desk to make sure we were going to do an ultrasound first. "Can you feel it?", she asked. "Yep. It's been there for months since I've stopped nursing & it's not going away. And it's pretty tender & that's not getting better either", I replied. "It's better to do an ultrasound first so we don't expose you to radiation" she explained. It was fine by me, as long as we could see what we needed to see.

After filling out the paperwork, I sat in the waiting room which was very comfortable with a warm kind of feeling. There were fresh carnations at the front desk & the room had a pink glow to it. I drank my coffee & read Are You At Risk For Breast Cancer pamphlets & recipe magazines. I sat there thinking, I can't believe I'm here. I'm 27 with a toddler. The other patients are over 40, some in their 80's. Whoa.

After a short wait, I was called back for the ultrasound. I changed into the examination vest & admired the artwork in the room while I waited for the technician to return. The ultrasound was just like the one's I had during pregnancy, but rather than looking for a jumping fetus on the screen, we were looking at a mass of thick tissue.

It took a while for the technician to get pictures of the area. At one angle, it looked like a cyst & at another angle, it looked like a band. She said that she could feel it with the wand as she kept sliding off of it. It was interesting to see; ducts, glands, muscle & the white space of thick tissue. She said it was pretty lumpy in there & took pictures of the left side to compare. She didn't seem overly concerned, but took the pictures to the Doctor to double check.

When she came back, she said that my regular Doctor would get a report but it looked like a thickening of sub-glandular tissue that gets inflamed during hormonal changes. It's was recommended that I continue monitoring the mass during my monthly breast exams & if it changes shape, gets bigger or more painful, then I would need to come back. With a sigh of relief, I was escorted to the front desk to check out where I was given one of the pink carnations.
As I was walking out of the hospital & back to my car, I was very thankful that everything was OK, but even more so that the Komen Foundation provides funding for those who need mammograms or ultrasounds. It inspired me to think of ways to give back to the organization & get The Club involved as well. Our yearly service project is coming up with a meeting in a couple of weeks to decide on what to do. I'm totally bringing this up for a suggestion.

I got in the car & called Bill to let him know that I was on my way home. I gave him the details of what they found. After I hung up, I put the keys in the ignition & let out a little whimper. It's just a huge relief that this is one less thing I have to worry about.


Jaime said...

I'm so glad everything turned out ok! I'm going to look into that Foundation, what a wonderful cause.

debra said...

YEA! I've been thinking about you and hoping this went well. This year will be my third mammogram (the regular once a year after age 40 ones) and I always feel a huge sigh of relief when I get the 'all clear', even when I haven't had any issues in that area. So I can imagine the load that must have lifted for you today.

And can I just say, I am SO PROUD of you for noticing something and taking it to the doctor and following through. I have a friend who refuses to see a doctor for anything (incl. yearly gyno appts) and it just infuriates me that she can be so reckless with her health.

So Congrats and good job!

And P.S. -- Susan G. Komen was from Peoria, IL (my neck of the woods) and I think that whole foundation is just amazing.

Liz said...

Oh Kristin, I'm so happy that you're OK.
And more thankful that the resources were available to support you.
I know I'll rue this one day, but I've got the lumpy boobs and I'm not a religious monthly checker. And I can't stand it when they're examined by the doctor (or my husband). I have the cystic breasts so it's hard to know...
A HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF for you and your family. And great for you to involve your MOMS club, too.

scoop! said...

I'm so glad to hear things turned out ok. How scary for you and your family!

Erin said...

I'm so glad you're ok!! My grandma died of breast cancer...it's an issue with the women in our family. That's always a scary situation, when you find something...I'm so glad you went and got it checked out!!

erica said...

Yay, I'm so happy you're ok!!!

Wendy said...

I was so relieved to read that you are okay! That is so neat to hear about the Komen foundation! I have heard of them but never really knew what they did! I am glad you were able to get some help from them! Damn insurance companies!

Bringing Up Ben said...


I have been thinking about you lots lately and am so glad you are OK.