Flashback: The Mammogram and Ultrasound

I had the mammogram and the first ultrasound done during the same appointment, so I’ll talk about them together. They actually took place the morning of the biopsy, even though I already posted about the biopsy. So I’m a little out of order, but we’re almost up to date so it’s all good!

When I arrived for the mammogram, I filled out the paperwork and somewhere along the way was told that mammograms weren’t as bad as they used to be and as their made out to be. I thought, “OK, cool. I wasn’t really looking forward to my boobs being smashed like a panini.”

Ha.

It was TOTALLY like a panini press.

I have to give the tech credit, because she handled it—me, ha—like a pro. I don’t know that I could do that…manipulate someone else’s boobs into assorted contraptions. She was really great.

The left side wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t comfortable, but it wasn’t terrible. The right side, where JP resides, eh. Remember I mentioned the tenderness? Well, as much as JP didn’t like me being all grabby-grabby with him, he liked the panini boob press even less. He was irritated, which meant I was irritated.

So the mammogram was a lot of awkward positioning, hands, and squishing.

After that, I went for the ultrasound. Less awkward positioning, more hands, and some gel. At least it was warm.

On a different note, the facility was nice. It’s called The Breast Care Center and it was all about the ta-tas, which, I think, made it a more relaxing experience. Something about being around a bunch of female patients when having boob stuff done was better than when I had to get the MRI in a mixed gender environment.

Girl power.

Flashback: The Specialist, Another Ultrasound, and The Biopsy

Caution: Image at bottom of post. Kind of gnarly looking. No nudity, I have some modesty. (Not much left though!)

Ouch.

But let me back up.

“Concerning” is the term that was used to describe the images from the mammogram and ultrasound when I went to see my original doctor after the mammogram. I was immediately referred out to a specialist, a breast surgeon, who my doc/NP (Nurse J, I will call her going forward) highly recommended. I was able to be seen right away, which was amazing in and of itself considering it was a Friday and it’s damn near impossible to do anything on a Friday around Charleston.

Dr. JB (not to be confused with JP) is as fantastic as I was made to believe, and for that I am so incredibly grateful, and her office staff is wonderful. She’s so positive and she makes me feel positive, too, even though I am still not sure I truly know how I’m supposed to feel about all this.

So she did an ultrasound, and for the first time, I met JP. Stupid little black shadow that he is. He is sort of shaped like a boomerang, though not as slim, more like an elongated kidney shape? Maybe? I don’t freaking know. He’s there, let’s leave it at that.

Next up…biopsy…it seriously all happened that quickly. I was numbed up and biopsied. It only hurt a little bit, that’s the honest truth…a pinch when they injected the numbing agent…it was more the vibrations of what I knew was going on that was unnerving. Also some loud little snaps as they snatched up pieces of JP — I assume that’s what the snapping sound was. I didn’t ask. I was trying not to freak out at the needle in my boob.

So the biopsy was complete and I left Dr. JB’s with a slightly bleeding boob and lots of words of encouragement. She’s a wonderful person. She said all the right things and really didn’t give me the opportunity to feel discouraged. She told me I was going to get through this, that there was lots of support out there for me, and everything would be all right.

I believed her, still do. It’s hard not to.

 

 

 

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This is a couple days after the biopsy. Lots of bruising and tenderness. You can see the small slash from where they went in.

Flashback: The Lump, a.k.a. Jean-Paul, a.k.a. JP

During a (not-at-all-routine) self-examination, I found a lump. This was in July. It felt about the size of a pin ball, was hard, seemed round, definitely out of place in the otherwise soft tissue. I went to the internet, as I often do when I want to learn more, and searched for breast lumps. I found a list of possibilities: cancer, cysts, etc. I read that sometimes lumps came and went with your cycle, and I was approaching mine, so I decided to wait and see if it went away after my period.

No such luck, so I called my doctor.

I had to wait a little bit for an appointment, mostly because I didn’t want to take off work and I had a day off coming up. I worried about the stupid lump a little bit here and there. I knew it was possible it was bad news, but I was damn proud I’d found it.

So I went to the doctor (I see a nurse practitioner at the practice who is wonderful, Nurse J) and she did the exam and said, “Yep, that’s definitely something.” She referred me for a mammogram and ultrasound, which I schedule for the following Friday, and that was that.

Insert me feeling pretty bummed right about here. I guess I had naively thought that she’d feel it and have something more definitive to say. Totally unrealistic, I know. She’s not Superman, she doesn’t have x-ray vision – though I’d argue that Nurse J is some kind of superhero.

At this point, only two people knew about JP: my husband, Brad (who even left work to be with me at this appointment that I was in and out of before he even arrived at the practice) and my boss (I felt I needed to tell her just in case it was bad news and I needed to go off the grid), but that’s it, because why worry people over something that could be nothing? So Brad is still worried and I’m still all chill about it because I still don’t feel like I have enough of a reason to be anxious.

Meanwhile, I haven’t stopped feeling myself up since I found the lump to see if it has shrunk, changed shape, etc. Which of course I couldn’t tell. The only thing I managed to do was irritate JP and make him sore. Not like a steady pain or anything, just a tenderness when touched. So don’t touch it, right? Wrong? When you have a lump, you’re going to touch it. Over and over and over again…to make sure it’s real, see if it’s magically disappeared, moved, etc.

So next up on the agenda was the mammogram (I can’t even with this scan…it deserves its own post), ultrasound, and possibly a biopsy, which I’ll cover in another flashback post.