Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

I’m usually a pretty private person – I don’t tend to post a lot of super personal things on the internets. Last year my annual exam turned up a lump in my breast which the diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound confirmed was solid. Next followed the needle biopsy and the verification it was non-cancerous but a fibroadenoma, large enough and still growing so we decided to remove it. I talked about it with very few people and really didn’t know much about it going in. It wasn’t until afterwards that I found out how many women I know have had lumps biopsied or removed and realized how little we talk about these things that can be so terrifying but affect so many of us.

Earlier this month, I found another lump in the same breast but an entirely different location.  The mammogram and ultrasound yesterday confirmed that it too was solid.  Which lead to today’s needle biopsy and my waiting for the results to come.

I’m glad that I have a fantastic OB-GYN who actively assists the speedy initiation of this process and helps move it along.  But I do have one complaint about this desire to assist me in a quick diagnosis and that is that both last year and this year I felt distinctly railroaded into taking action quicker than I was prepared to given my level of information and the time I’d had to process the info I had.  Last year I went from a Monday annual where I was told I had a lump, to a Tuesday mammogram that confirmed it and finally a Wednesday appointment to get a needle biopsy.  This year was very similar.

By the time I’ve wrapped up the diagnostic ultrasound everyone is ready to schedule me for the biopsy with all due speed –  “We have an opening tomorrow at 9am”.  The problem with this method of rapid scheduling  is I’m still mentally processing the fact that I have a lump in my breast and the implications of that and I’m being asked to immediately jump to scheduling.  I’m being asked to choose between the radiologist doing the biopsy, or the surgeon my OB-GYN is recommending since if it has to come out later this allows me to have an already established relationship.  Last year, I wasn’t even fully clear on what a needle biopsy actually meant or what the post biopsy procedures were and how it might affect my ability to be at work.  I’m not asked if my partner is available to be there for support or if I need time to consider my options.  I felt railroaded and overwhelmed in spite of their desire to help me.

In spite of that, this year I chose the radiologist over the surgeon to do the biopsy after speaking with the nurse about how their office does the procedure.  I chose to call my partner and speak with him before scheduling.  This year I chose to give myself a bit more breathing room, and a bottle of xanax to deal with the stress and anxiety around it.  This year I chose to not try to just power through it and pretend like nothing was wrong. And I’m pleased with the choices I made.

I’m posting it here for all the women who will have their own experiences. You are not alone. Many women have gone through this and we are all here to provide sympathy, understanding and support.  You can ask for more time and more information.  You can ask for a day to consider your options before making a decision.  The medical professionals have a lot of knowledge and the good ones will not only help you but will understand if you need the time to make the right choices for you.

Thank you to all the people in my life who supported me last time and I know will do so again.  And thank you to my wonderful partner for all his love and understanding.