Saturday, June 18, 2016

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

I'm sharing a personal drama that took place over the last two weeks. This isn't a promo post and images will be happy and pretty ones.

My biennial mammogram was June 2. In Ontario we have the Ontario Breast Screening Clinic for all women once you turn 50. I'm 55. So I'm part of this lovely group. But, my grandmother died of BC back in about 1956. So I had a baseline mammo done at 40. Welcome to the squish world. And not drinking coffee for two days prior does help me.

Emma. Such a sweet girl

Anyhow, two weeks ago this past Thursday was my routine mammogram. Bing, bang, boom, squish, I'm done. Then I get a call on the following Monday.

Convo with doc's office goes
Office: Hospital wants you to go back for another mammogram and they said they left you a message.
Me: What? No, no one called me.
Office: Oh, well. They've book you an appointment. This Wednesday at 1pm
Me: O-okay. Did they say why?
Papers rustle
Office: There is nothing on the letter, just that they want you to come back, upper left breast.
I start to get those hot and cold chills...you know the ones.
Me: Nothing else?
Office: No, and this is so common so don't worry.

Understatement of the CENTURY

So off I go on Wednesday. My over active imagine has all sorts of terrible things happening to me. The technologist doing the mammo was a mean girl. Not nice, or very comforting. I won't even go into the stuff she said, except this sums it up - I ask her Do you see anything? She says, I'm not paid $500,000 to read these, I just do my job. This was a major squish job and I'm surprised boobies don't pop. I wasn't allowed to move, had to hold me breath and oh lordy, the pain.....

She does say though that radiologist might be seeing pin prick size of possible calcification. Uh, okay. I leave in a cold sweat. I share my goings on with my two sons 25 & 27, they're old enough to handle it and see real life. So Techie Son does research, as he is wont to do and should have been a doc, and eases my mind *somewhat*. Next phone call is to my good friend, a 16 year BC survivor and one of the strongest women I know. Currently her brother is in the final stages of BC, yes you read that right. The only woman in her family that has not had BC is her 30 year old daughter. So we talk. She unhooks me from the ceiling, calms me down and says:

The breast is innocent until proven guilty.

And why I love her so.
my favourite flower in the whole world Frangipani

Being proactive, as my friend suggests, I have a doc appointment lined up the following week for results. That was to be last Tuesday. BUT. I get a call the previous Friday from the hospital this time, they are very apologetic. She says, we need you to come back for a couple of extra views. WHAAAAAT. The technologist missed a couple of views the radiologist wants.

I. Am. Spun.

Yesterday, another mammo with mean girl who is surprised to see me back and oh no she is adamant she did not forget a view. Mammo, done, can I wait for an ultrasound. I'm convinced I'm doomed. And suddenly mean girl becomes my hero. She arrives back from talking with the radiologist and told him I was freaking out. He told her to tell me "I don't think it's anything, and likely scar tissue, like we originally thought. I tear up and almost cry. Now Nice Girl says it's not conclusive until the report is written, but...and it's left hanging there for me to have some hope.

So, mammo and ultra sound over. Ultrasound tech was cool. My phone rings and flashes a bright light, she thinks all the lights in the room are flashing, finds my phone and covers it up but not before she is blinded by the light. Nice. She can't see and thing so we chat until she can see again. I ask how it looks, she says nothing is jumping up and smacking me in the face. I think that's a good thing. I feel a tiny bit better.
Sunset, John's Pass 

But the best news came a few hours ago as I write this post. My doc said nothing to worry about, is scar tissue and benign (I had a breast reduction 21 years ago) if radiologist had any concerns I'd be in for a biopsy. I will go for a recheck for mammo and ultrasound in 6 months to see if anything has changed.


I'm better, but still not quite 100% with the six month check. But, I'm better than so many other women that did not get comforting news. I feel for all of you and my heart goes out in leaps and bounds.

Moral of this story, get those boobies checked! I'm thankful, and so very relieved for my results.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Flowers

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jean hart stewart said...

So glad for you...don't blame you a bit for freaking out. Hate those painful mammograms, but guess we should be thankful for them...

Shana Gray said...

Yes, we should be thankful. We only have one set of boobies and one life :D

Tina Donahue said...

I'm glad you're okay, but sorry you had to go through needless turmoil. Someone should sue these damn doctors and their staff for making you wait needlessly for an answer. What do they think you're doing? Eating bon-bons and flipping through a magazine? Hell no. You're scare. How heartless that they don't realize that, or don't care.

And don't get me started on all the radiation blasting through your body. It doesn't go away. It stays and builds up. Is this your regular radiologist? Sounds like you need to get a new one. A new place to get the mammogram done too.

I don't have much use for or trust in doctors. My first thought was they have to keep taking shots because he owns the machine and wants your insurance to pay for it.

Shana Gray said...

I'm in Canada Tina as you know we don't pay for our healthcare, except through taxes of course :) I think there was a disconnect with the technologist and what views she was to take the 2nd time. While I'm not a fan of the whole xray thing, in this case it's better to know than keep my head in the sand. Although you have given me something to think about.

Tina Donahue said...

I don't know how healthcare works in Canada, Shana, but I do know it's profit-oriented in the US. It's not about healing, it's about making the most dough you can on each person. We're not patients here. We're consumers. When I was in college, I worked part-time at a grocery store to pay for school. I worked behind the bakery counter. There was a HUGE breast cancer medical facility in the area. Every week they'd put in an order for hundreds of donuts. I thought, 'wow, that's nice they're doing that for their patients. Poor ladies.'

Poor ladies, indeed. The press reported that over the years the doctors in this facility had deliberately misdiagnosed hundreds of women as having breast cancer which subjected them to chemo and surgery. None of them had anything wrong but were sickened and mutilated for no good reason. Well, maybe there was one. The doctors and facility made a bundle.

I understand that those women who carry the BRCA mutation have to be vigilant, as do those who have a history of cancer in their families. However, in the US, a second opinion is essential.

Even the Race for the Cure Foundation hit the news in 2012 for being more about making money than helping women. Here's the link: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/22/breast-cancer-awareness-ribbons.aspx

In this country, you have to be a smart consumer since that's what we are when it comes to basic human rights such as healthcare and education. That means taking care of your own health through preventative measures (exercise, eating right, etc.) and always getting a second or third opinion.

Fiona McGier said...

So glad that you got good news, Shana. That period of not-knowing must have been terrifying.

We need Medicare for all in the USA! Take the profit margin out of all of the needless tests and follow-up visits, and you'll see how quickly that will end. Of course you'll have to divorce (heh, heh, a pun!) the lawyers from the medical profession as well, since it's a highly lucrative job to sue doctors, who have millions in coverage, whenever something goes wrong, even if it's truly an accident and no one was at fault. Random fate is a fickle bitch.

I had my first "Smash and flash" done when I was 40. Doctor asked if there was any history of breast cancer in my family. I replied, "Who knows?" The women in my mom's family never went to doctors for any reason. They thought like Tina, that the medical profession was a bunch of grasping thieves. But I want to do the right things, so I go for regular check-ups...of all of my various parts. Luckily husband has insurance through his job, since no one offers it to part-timers like me.

Dad died from colon cancer that, if caught earlier, might have been easily treated and cured. But he waited until the mass in his colon required surgery...then chemo...then he died. I've already had a "Dope and scope" twice. They recommend every 5 years if there is a family history.

Americans are so foolish about defending the right of others to take us to the cleaners, as they turn us upside down and shake, to see if we're hiding any spare change. The rich get richer, while the poor die when they can't afford medical care. But still we insist we've got the best system in the world...until it fails us personally, then we stagger about, confused, since this isn't the way things are supposed to be.

E.L. F. said...

Happy you are ok. That is one of the scariest feelings, and I agree, the medical professionals sometimes lose their professionalism (I was in tears trying to convince one doctor that I did not need to go through the panini press again in less than 3 months), but there are others who are gems. Still, get your checkups and be vigilant but informed.