Ahhh, you are all probably so sick of hearing about the concussion, but indulge me once again. I promise: I will stop blogging about concussions soon!
When you have a concussion — especially if you are dizzy — it’s all you think about. When you stop being miserable, you start thinking about other things. That’s exactly what happened to me. One of the things I realized was that I needed to start doing regular, routine maintenance of my body. I knew I was due for a yearly gynecologist appointment. And I was probably due for a mammogram, I thought. I called the radiology place first. After all, it can take a while to get a mammo slot. The woman on the phone asked me my date of birth and all that junk. Then she asked me if I had been anyplace else for my 2014 mammo. No, I said. “Well, you haven’t been here since February 2013.” I couldn’t believe it. I was so busy worrying about being dizzy, I forgot to take care of my female parts. Sigh.
I scheduled the mammo for last Friday. I went in, donned the gown and did my thing. Mammo and sono. Ugh. And blech. But I figured at least it was done for another year. Except then this happened:
They took me back into the room and did another sono. Then the radiologist came to talk to me. I had a 9 mm oval-shaped mass with slightly bumpy outside. The shape was good, she said, but the bumpy borders meant it was suspicious, she said. In fact, in her opinion it had a 50/50 chance of being malignant. They needed to do a biopsy right away.
I was scheduled for the core needle biopsy on Monday. I did it. Without anesthesia, I may add. I was the first person in the doctor’s 20 year career who did it that way. I swear it didn’t hurt. The doctor nicked my skin with a scalpel, put the needle inside, hit the plunger to activate the vacuum and then did that four more times. In between swearing it didn’t hurt, I asked her if she agreed with the first doctor’s assessment of my chances. She did.
I won’t bore you with the stuff that went through my mind. Well, maybe I will. What would I do if it was malignant? Would I lose my hair? Would I need a lumpectomy or a total mastectomy? Why was this happening to me? Wasn’t dizzy enough?
Cut to the chase: They called yesterday with my results. It was benign. A fibroadenoma. A condition that most often occurs in younger women. So why did I get it? I have no idea. I will ask my doctor when I go to follow up.
The point of this long, drawn out saga: Write down on your calendar and in your phone and on your computer when you are due for a mammo. And — I don’t care if the world is rocking, you’ve got the flu, or you win $1 million — make sure you get it. My story had a decent ending. It could have been a very different one. Very.
So…when was the last time you had a mammogram? Never had one? Are you over 35 with cancer in your family? Over 40? Go get one. Most insurance companies will cover one in full. Can’t afford it? There are foundations out there that will provide free or low-cost mammograms. (And here’s another.) They may suck. They may not be comfortable, but they are worth the time to prevent a bigger problem.
As for me, I will be following up with a doctor and doing a repeat sono in six months. I already put it on my calendar.