Saving the tatas

It started last week when a lump in my left breast starting hurting. If I just bent over, it hurt. It hurt while I was sitting. It hurt all the time.

I’m not one to panic or overreact, but this freaked me out. Not gonna lie.

I immediately headed to the local clinic to get a referral for a mammogram so my insurance would be sure to cover it….’cause you know how that can be….

The doc basically did a quick exam and yep, called in a referral. I went home to wait the 6 hours needed before I could call the boobie hospital and make an appointment.

Those 6 hours were TORTURE! As much as I tried not to, my mind was all over the place. I was useless. I cried. I sucked it up. I watched a movie, did everything I could to get through that time…then I called.

PHEW…I was able to get an appointment for the very next day.

I felt the worst about worrying my family. My husband was as nervous and stressed as I was and my oldest, who is 13, actually understood that a lump could be a serious thing.

I got up the next day and headed to the boobie doctor. A specialty office just for the girls.

When I checked in, they were super nice. I’m guessing they understood the stress that this kind of visit can induce.

I answered the insurance questions, date of birth yatta yatta and then “Have you been experiencing any dizziness?” the nurse asked. “Well I blacked out a few days ago…does that count? It was only that once”. With the most apologetic face that I’ve ever seen, “Oh….I’m sorry but I’m going to have to have you wear this ‘Fall Risk’ bracelet.”23158172_303972990081646_602808978_o.jpg

Oi.

It didn’t take long before I was whisked back into the changing room and given a paper shopping bag, not the cheap leaf paper bags, but this one looked like it could have easily have come from a top department store. I was instructed to put my top and bra in the bag, and slip on the hospital gown, once that was done, I was to ‘sit down’ until the nurse came back.

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My nurse Lauren was the cutest and sweetest lady…she was so helpful and kept me sane. She did explain that because I was a ‘fall risk’…oi…I would need to be seated during my mammogram. Ugh. The humiliation was continuing.

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I have to say though, after seeing what I had to go through, in hindsight, I’m so HAPPY that I was a fall risk, it would have been way more uncomfortable had I been standing.

Lauren wheeled me in and got me into position. She proceeded to direct me on where to tilt my head, where to put my arms and once I was positioned, she gathered up my right breast and proceeded to place it on the black section of the machine and started to lower the clear plate down. This process squished it to just an inch in width in order to get a good scan. Folks, as uncomfortable as it sounds, is as uncomfortable as it was….but it was only for a few seconds and then my boob was set free.

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After my right came my left, which was the reason I was there in the first place. Due to the pain, the scan was far worse this time around, but again, I held my breath, thought of my motivation for coming in (my boys and hubby) and sucked it up.

Once I was done, I was moved to a waiting area while the doctor reviewed those scans and to wait on the ultrasound tech.  You can see how much flesh they squeeze by the red marks on my chest.

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The tech came and brought me to the ultrasound room. She explained the process, told me to lay down on the bed and she’d be right back.

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It took her about 10 min to do the ultrasound. They were only focusing on the one breast so I just laid there and watched. Not really knowing what I was looking at was making things much worse. I would watch her roll over an area, then take a picture. Then roll over another area, take a picture. Then she rolled over THE area. The sore, large lump on my left breast. The whole reason I was in there. Then she took a picture. Then she mapped it out and measured it. Then another photo.

At this time I was cracking jokes, telling stories, discussing my Christmas wish list…just about anything and everything to keep my mind from focusing on what was happening.

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Once she was finished gathering her data, she left the room to get the doctor. They both return, and he introduced himself and got right down to business. The lump was a benign cyst. Sometimes when hormones flare up, the water in the cyst can fill up more and cause pain or discomfort. I found out I have several cysts in my breast, most were about the size of a pea, this one though is about the size of an almond.

He explained that this was normal, that there was no cancer looking abnormalities in the cyst. At this point, I sort of zoned out because I was starting to cry, and I didn’t want to cry in front of the doctor while he was delivering the good news. So I’m not too sure what he said after all that but I did hear I needed to come back in a year.

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This whole experience taught me one thing. Sticking my head in the sand and ignoring any signs of discomfort, pain or weirdness that happens in my body is just not ok, not at 44 years of age.

My Aunt died of a brain tumor in her late forties. My father died of cancer at 69.

I need to be more proactive in taking care of the parts of me I can’t see in the mirror every day and I need to show others that as scary as it might seem, the alternative is so much worse.

If you are unsure, if you are scared, if you need a hand to hold and someone to talk to, leave me a message below or email me traciestern@gmail.com and I’ll be there with you. I was lucky to have some great friends checking on me throughout the whole experience and as brave and tough as I am some days, that day, wasn’t one of them.

It’s not weak. It’s not being silly. It’s being proactive and taking care of you, because no one can do you better.

 

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