My mammogram was the following Monday August 7, 2017. At this time only a few people were aware I was going through this or I would have thought to bring someone with me for support. Later I would be told by many to never go to any appointments by myself. I suggest if you are going through anything like this I would recommend bringing someone.
I arrived at the imaging center in the women’s part of the hospital. I was only 36 so therefore I had never needed a mammogram before. After 40 is when they start recommending women to have one, for those that may not know. I was very much out of my element. It was so cold in there too so that didn’t help things either. Once I was taken back they bring you into this room with individual dressing rooms where there is a robe, you are instructed to undress waist up then put your things in a locker and then you wait with some other women in the chairs outside the dressing rooms. I was the youngest there by at least 30 years. I felt like everyone knew there must be something wrong with me. They didn’t, it was all in my head. After a bit my name was called I followed the technician who would be my mammographer. The first impression of the machine was like its huge and glowing. The first machine I was on, yes I end up on another machine but more on that later, it was intimidating. She explained what was about to happen and made an uncomfortable experience as comfortable as it could be.
For anyone who hasn’t had one of these you have to walk up to the machine and hold on to these handles, place one breast up and she jammed(yes jammed) these clear plastic things around it. Then she went around the corner and activated the machine. I liked this machine best since the colors kinda distracted me from what was happening. After a few images of the left breast she’s like ok lets do the right. I’m like, I’m only here for the left. She explains they need a baseline to compare. Next thing I know we got the right one up there and she take the first image and goes hmm. I’m like wait what?? She says the doctor that reviews these will want more images of the microcalcifications. Given I was still back at the “hmm”. Fast forward more images were taken then I was returned to a chair outside the dressing rooms.
Most of the other ladies had come and gone. I was waiting for my ultrasound of the mass in my left breast. Immediately I was searching on the internet to find the meaning of microcalcifications in the breast. I was a wreck reading everything I possibly could. Honestly what was the possibility of both breasts having something. (insert eye roll) I was interrupted by my mammographer calling me again to get more images of the left breast. This was done on another machine that wasn’t pleasant. And it hurt so much!! Which in my mind was a good sign cause everyone was saying cancer tumors don’t hurt. (insert another eye roll)
Back I found myself in the chair waiting for my ultrasound. I was called into this other room. It was dark there with some pleasant classical music playing. I was instructed to lay on the table and the procedure began. I had never had never had an ultrasound before so this was all new to me. It was not anything like the mammogram. The technician applied some gel for the wand and focused on the mass and my left armpit since I had swelling under there and felt it may be related.
When the ultrasound concluded I was allowed to get dressed but I had to wait to talk to a nurse. I was taken into a smaller room where this very nice nurse explained what was about to happen. There was a number I could call if I needed someone to talk to. Yup going through my head was I have cancer but they can’t say it officially yet. She told me my doctor office would get the information the next morning and they would be contacting me.
I will never forget the call I received when my doctor’s office told me, the left breast was suspect to be malignant. I would now have to wait to meet with the breast surgeon to see where we go from there.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Next part of my cancer journey will be meeting with my breast surgeon.