Thank you for being so supportive and full of so much great information.
I wish I could say I had a great, happy, uplifting experience at the Boob Center, but I did not. They scared the crap out of me … again, and again, and again. I underwent a grand total of 3 hours of continual testing which included FOUR more mammogram sessions (multiple pictures taken during each one) AND THREE separate ultrasounds.
My initial mammogram (last Friday) was a "screening mammogram." This time I was told to report to a different location for a "diagnostic mammogram."
I was greeted in the waiting room with pamphlets titled, Who Will Take Care of You as You Die From Metastasized Breast Cancer?
Not really, but close.
The pamphlets were titled something like, "Caring for a Loved One With Metastasized Breast Cancer." A comforting pamphlet to read as you sit FREAKING OUT prior to your appointment.
I was called back relatively quickly, instructed to change once again into a gown, and seated in a second waiting area.
Women who were bald from chemotherapy kept me company. My heart ached for them, but I have to say their presence was also disconcerting.
A technician retrieved me and escorted me in for a mammogram. While I was there she showed me "the area of concern" on my previous films of my right breast. That didn't do much good, as the pictures didn't even look like a breast to me.
A boob expert, I'm not.
I explained to the technician about my non-working right arm and I will say she was extremely kind in helping me move my arm as necessary for the testing. She took a lot of pictures from a lot of different angles and announced I was done. I went and sat down to wait for the ultrasound which had also been ordered.
A few minutes later the technician returned frowning. The doctor had "a concern" over my films and she needed to take a few more pictures. I entered the mammogram room again, for the third time in five days.
And then twenty minutes later … again.
And then one more time for good measure. Yes, the more pictures they took, the more "concern" the doctor reading them apparently had.
All the while the technician would make lame attempts to convince me this was all routine. When she called me in for the fourth time she could clearly see the panic in my eyes. She tried to reassure me.
It didn't work.
By the way, during all these mammogram sessions I was informed "the area of concern" was not scar tissue, and also was not in any way related to my car accident.
Four mammograms in one day. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Did I mention it hurts to have your boob squished like a pancake in a vise over and over again? I wouldn't be at all surprised if my right breast is now one full cup size smaller than it was a week ago.
Eventually I was led to a different room so the technician could do an ultrasound on my right breast. I was instructed, "Lie down on your back and put your right arm up over your head." My right arm doesn't go over my head. She tried to move it for me, but it doesn't go over my head no matter who tries to move it.
At this point, I'd had enough. I just wanted to leave.
The technician tried turning me on my side; she moved my arm every which way for me. She even propped it in different positions with pillows and towels. Eventually she was able to get all the ultrasound pictures she needed. She asked me to wait a moment while she showed the pictures to the doctor. She informed me he would then come in to talk to me.
A few minutes later a male doctor entered the room. He explained to me he wanted to "take a closer look" at a few things and proceeded to conduct a much lengthier ultrasound than the technician just had.
I was in a full panic. No one was even trying to pretend anything about my visit was "normal procedure." By the time the doctor was done I was into my third hour of testing.
He said he needed to "step outside" for a minute and asked me to wait. Did he think I was going to get up bare breasted and walk out of the facility?
A few minutes later the technician returned. She explained the doctor had "a few questions about one area in particular" and had gone to consult with another doctor.
Another few minutes went by and the doctor returned with a female doctor. A third ultrasound was conducted. My bare chest had the company of two doctors and the technician for this one. During this ultrasound they had me turn on my side and the technician held my bum arm up in the air for the entire test. I cannot even tell you the pain this caused me for many, many, hours afterwards.
A lot of discussion and debate went on between the doctors after the final ultrasound. Eventually they decided to release me. Honest to God, what they said to me was "We think you're clear so we're going to let you go home."
Somehow, I didn't walk away with a sense of relief. How can a person be reassured or confident with words like that? I walked out of there with a heavy weight on my shoulders.
I don't think I'm a strong enough person to take much more stress than what I've had to deal with the last couple years since the accident. A friend told me this week that a person can handle anything if they put their mind to it. I can't. I know that. I don't mean that as a cop out. It's just that I've been through so much in such a short period of time. Everyone has their limits. I've reached mine.
I need a break from pain. I need a break from medical stress.
I arrived home to house guests.
House guests, Christmas shopping still incomplete, husband out of town … stress.
I was home for less than two hours when the doctor called. He ran all my test results through a computer program and it came back with bad results. They're scheduling me for a biopsy "as soon as possible."