Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Boobs: Not So Free And Clear

I really wasn't worried when I went to get my mammogram. I didn't have a family history of breast cancer. In fact, my family has a history of living pretty unhealthy lifestyles full of things that are carcinogenic and the only cancer that has ever effected them has been skin cancer, even that hasn't killed any of them. What weakens and kills my family are heart and lung diseases.

So, I merrily tweeted my mammogram without even thinking about the results. Which is odd for me. I'm a girl who likes to plan everything. A chick who likes to make contingency plans. In work and in play, I hope for the best but plan for the worst- just in case. Apparently, I was experiencing some sort of psychic-denial-foreshadowing-protective mashup dealio in my sleep deprived, ginger brain. Because, of course, my mammogram results were ABNORMAL.
I was napping when I got the call from my doctor's assistant. I heard "densities", "looks benign" and "should get checked again in 6 months", I tweeted it and then went back to sleep. When I woke up to get ready for work, it started to sink in. My mammogram wasn't normal. While showering, I talked myself down, "It looks benign, you don't need to worry." Then I told Mr. Misha. He looked terrified. Even when I explained that they said it looked fine, he still looked scared. He didn't want to wait 6 months. That's when I started to get scared.

I figured I would just ask one of the docs at work that night to explain the results to me. I got put on call. So I called the charge nurse and asked her if a doc came in for a delivery to have them call me. Labor and delivery was a ghost town that night and no docs came in that night. So I waited until 9am the next morning to call my doctor's office. I thought I would just see if he could call me and explain the results. If that wasn't an option, I'd make an appointment to come in and discuss the results. The phone call left me angry and tearful.

"Dr. P 's office"

"Hi, this is Misha. I was asleep when you gave me my mammogram results yesterday over the phone and I have a few questions. I was wondering if Dr. P could call me and go over the results? I really just need about 5 minutes of his time."

"Uh, yeah. He doesn't do phone calls."

"Oh, well then, can I make an appointment to meet with him and discuss the results?"

"Sure. But we don't have any appointments open for two weeks."

"Could you call me if you get a cancellation?"

"No. You can call each morning to see if we have any cancellations and try and get a same day appointment."

"Could you at least mail me a copy of the radiology report?"

"No. I can make a copy and you can come by the office and pick it up."

"Alright. I'll be by this afternoon."

I understand the doctor is busy. I understand his time is valuable. I also know how I treat my patients. I would never treat my patients this way. When a patient has questions about their health, I find a way to get the answers for them in a timely manner. I'm not changing doctors. He probably doesn't even know that this happened. I will tell him what happened and how upset I was. I will let him know how rude his assistant was. I will stand up for myself.

Anywho, Tuesday night I went to work and lo and behold- there were babies to be birthed and doctors there to catch said babies! Fortunately, the doc that was there that night likes me, is Unabomber smart and willing to sit down with me for 5 minutes (Yes, Dr. P's assistant, it only took 5 minutes, so you can bite me.) and talk me through the report.

So this is what my report said:

There are multiple sub-5mm smooth low density nodular opacities present. These are probably benign, have smooth outer margins and are well demarcated. In view of the absence of previous films for comparison, suggest six-month follow up mammogram.

There is no dominant mass, skin thickening, nipple retraction or malignant appearing calcification.

CONCLUSION: Multiple probably benign small nodular densities for which six-moth follow up mammograms are recommended
FOLLOW UP: 6 month

So, what that means I have a bunch of little lumps with a diameter smaller than one number on a credit card. Because mine are smooth and they don't have common characteristics of cancerous tumor, I was given a BI-RAD score of 3. That means that probably nothing is wrong, but there is a 2% chance of cancer.

I asked the baby catchin' doc if this was his mom's, his wife's, his daughter's, his sister's mammogram report what would he do. He said he would tell them get checked again in 6 months. Unless it was going to make them freak out for the next 6 months, then he'd refer them to our local breast surgeon for a consult. I don't need a consult with the boob slicer. Not knowing what the report meant was keeping me up. Now that it has been explained to me- I'm sleeping just fine.

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