We’re getting personal here at Designed to the Nines. We’re not talking design, but we’re talking about things really important to me… Breast Cancer Awareness. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so all month long I will be making posts on this topic.
I wanted to start with my personal experience and recent cancer “scare” if you will. I am almost 40… and with a strong family history of cancer in general and in particular breast cancer, I decided it was time to go get “the girls” squeezed. Now I know it’s awkward to get that personal with someone. I know it’s known for being a bit painful so I decided I was going to document my experience getting my first mammogram. It took a little bit of a left turn, so watch here…
Why I Got a Mammogram…
So… it all started back in April on my flight home from house hunting here in Florida. I met an awesome lady named Cindy who shares my birthday and we hit it off. We talked and talked for the entirety of our 3-hour flight. She was awesome… and a mammogram tech. She gave me her number and told me to come to see her when I got settled in here in Florida. So at 39 years and 9 months, I made an appointment to see her in the middle of September.
I thought while it might be a couple of months early, I could document my experience getting a mammogram here on the blog to encourage other ladies to go and get one too.
It wasn’t that bad, and my initial results came back unclear due to having very dense breast tissue, category C, in my case. This makes it harder for them to see any lumps. Cindy told me when I got my mammogram that I should expect to get asked to get a breast ultrasound because she noticed right then. So I kind of knew it was coming when they called me the next day. I set up an appointment and went in the following Monday. Yay… more awkwardness! =)
Really though, after having a baby, modesty with doctors, nurses, etc. kind of goes out the window. Also, I had a heart condition which was repaired 13 years ago so I have had a lot of echocardiograms in my life and a breast ultrasound didn’t feel much different. If anything, it was way shorter and way less invasive of my personal space.
I was really surprised at how short my ultrasound lasted. I saw the tech take a couple of measurements of things on her screen a few times, but I just assumed they were generic cysts which my body is notorious for growing and new this was the last test I was going to need for this.
I was wrong.
My Cancer Scare
The very next day, I got a call from the nurses at my doctor’s office. They told me they found several masses and I needed to get an MRI. I started to worry a little bit, but I reassured myself that my body likes to grow cysts and everything would be okay.
Then I got the radiologist’s report on my ultrasound. I probably shouldn’t have read it, but really anyone would have. I needed to take it all with me to my MRI.
I had 5 masses. Two in one breast and three in the other. Two were obviously cysts according to the radiologist and the other three appeared to be solid masses with “bothersome” edges. There was a barrage of big words like hypoechoic and lesions.
Truth be told, I started going… holy crap, “What if I have cancer?”
“What would I do?”
100% of the time as I was worrying, I kept thinking to myself, “I AM SO GLAD I GOT A MAMMOGRAM THIS EARLY!”
“Could I have done it earlier?”
They were all very tiny and would have been classified as a Stage I. I tried not to let my thoughts get too far ahead of me, but there were definitely a lot of thoughts racing.
I really didn’t tell anyone. Only my husband and my mother knew.
Great News! Not Cancer.
In the end, it was Cindy who called me with the great news that I was going to be okay, but that I should follow up with another mammogram in one years time. After this experience, you know I will!
Why You Should Too!!
You should too! Go get a mammogram… YESTERDAY! Do it now!! With early detection, your chances of surviving are very high these days. Well over 90% depending on the stage.
My Grandma Green was too late in detecting it. By the time she found out she had it, it had already metastasized all over her body.
Your insurance will most likely cover it. Mine did. If not, there are lots of places that offer free screenings… in fact, the community I live here in Florida is doing one this week I believe! Go get your girls squeezed ladies! It very well may save your life… if you are creeping up on 40, go tell your girlfriend, your mother, your sister, and your aunt to do it! Make it a party.