Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pink Ribbon Experience

Did you know that most people have had some type of Breast Cancer "connection" or experience?  Even Little Baby has has a connection with someone who has had an experience.  It was me.  It was only a few months ago.  It was scary.  While my {current} story has a good ending, not all will.
A few months ago, I felt a lump in my right breast.  I had this shooting pain that was HORRIBLE.  I didn't call the doctor/nurse practitioner right away, because I thought maybe I had just pulled a muscle.  The intense pain lasted for three days, so I decided I needed to call.  Unfortunately, my provider {whom I L-O-V-E} was unavailable for almost a week.  They asked if I wanted to see a different provider, but I wanted to stay with mine.  So, 10 days after my horrible pain started, I went to see my OB/GYN {can we call her docA?}.  The pain had subsided, but was still intensely there.  She felt around and said she felt a lump.  You could hear my future crumbling and my tears wanting to break through.  docA kept it light, saying it could be ___ or ___ or ___, but obviously, none of those possibilities stuck in my head.  She suggested that I make an appointment at the Jane Brattain Breast Cancer Center to further investigate.  Before I left, she tried to reassure me that it could be a strained nerve or a clogged milk duct {although less likely, as my youngest is 18 months and I haven't nursed her for 14 months}.

On my way out, I made the appointment to visit the Breast Cancer Center.  This was a few weeks away.  I prepared myself for the worst.  I thought I had thought of every scenario out there, but I had not.  By the time my appointment came around, the pain had subsided.  I was told this may happen and I was to go anyhow.

When I arrived at my appointment, the lady at the front desk was nice enough, but I had just been on my phone {I was in the lobby area, not standing in line to check in yet}, and she decided it would be a good idea to "remind" me that cell phones were not allowed to be on in the waiting room and beyond.  Seriously?  I had been in the lobby, not in line, and I'm about to be told I {possibly} have breast cancer.

Now, I'm checked in, scared and in a bad mood.  I glance around the waiting room and I'm the youngest by at least 20 years.  Not that that fact really has any importance, except now I also fell like a failure.  How many women under 35 need a mammogram?  I don't know the figure, because when you Google it, your results tell you "women 40 and over".

A lady calls my name.  I answer by standing up and heading towards her.  "Hi," I say.  "What's your birthday?" she asks.  I tell her.  She asks a few pleasantry questions on the way to the changing room.  She explains I need to wipe my armpits of any deodorant, remove any perfumes {I had not put any on that day}, take all jewelry off; then sit in the changing room waiting area for someone to come get me.

Lady number two comes to get me for an ultrasound of my lump.  She was nice and tried to make me feel at ease.  It didn't really work, but the effort was appreciated.  In the ultrasound room, she asked when I had felt the lump.  She wanted to focus on that area.  I showed her the area.  She did her ultrasounding stuff and went to deliver the information to an oncologist.  I was to wait in that room.  So, I did.  She came back and said nothing showed up on the ultrasound, but since it was docA who found the lump, I needed to have a mammogram.  I was brought back to the changing room waiting area to wait.

This time, there were two other women also there.  One was a good deal older than me, the other was about 20 years older.  She started to talk to me.  Ask some questions about why I was there, how old I was, and how I was feeling.  It was a little strange, because I didn't really want to talk with a stranger about the fact that I may have breast cancer.  She wouldn't back off, but then the older lady asked her a question and took me out of the spotlight.

Number three lady came in and called my name.  She was very nice and explained the mammogram process in detail to me on the way to the room.  When we arrived, she showed me what she was talking about.  Then, the mammogram started.  I have heard it hurts really badly.  I was expecting immense pain.  No pain for the first breast.  No pain for the second.  She brings the films to the oncologist and I wait in the mammogram room {it really needed a chair}.  Number three lady came back and said we needed to redo my right breast.  IMMENSE PAIN HAPPENING!  Wow, that must be what people have been telling me about!  Number three lady took this film back to the oncologist again, then came back and said it all looked good and did I have any questions for the oncologist.  I did.  I was brought to another room to wait for her to answer my questions.

I was relieved to not have to wait long to the oncologist.  She was a very nice lady.  She introduced herself to me and was very warm and receiving of my two questions.  I asked what she thought the lump could have been from and what to do if the pain started again.  Basically, I still feel unclear about what the lump was and why it came.  The pain was probably caused by one of two things.  A "pissed off" vein or a pinched nerve.

I am cancer free, but the pain still comes and goes as it pleases.  There are a few tests that I could have done to determine if my pain is from the vein or the nerve.  I decided that since it doesn't come often, and the pain is a lot more dull than the first time, I would not do further testing at this time.  If it comes more often or if the pain is more intense, I will do the tests.

Will you share your Breast Cancer Experience?  Write a comment or leave a link and I'll stop by in October!

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