Probably more than anyone wanted to know but I'm posting just in case the journey to getting my baseline mammogram might take some of the fear and mystery out of it for another woman.
I had my first mammogram last month. Again, typically not done at my age but I now have a "family history" so I start early.
I received a letter in the mail from the Breast Center stating that the radiologist would like to get some additional images. This wasn't scary, I had been told that in about 10% of mammograms (and more so in baseline images and in younger women who have dense breasts) they ask for additional images to check things out.
See all that white... it hides images of tumors. (FYI not my boob)
I went in for my follow up yesterday. They told me it was only the right side and I asked so the tech showed me what my images looked like and the area that was in question. My breast tissue is asymmetrical, I have more dense and glandular tissue in the right side and there were areas of interest that they wanted to flatten out more and see if they could image all the way thru to make sure it wasn't hiding anything. Cool. I understand that. Better safe than sorry. These spot images placed a little more pressure on da boobie than the first mammogram did. Still nothing I would call painful.
Different than the first time, they take the images into the radiologist while you wait to make sure they have all the images they want. So I wait. I'm cold sitting in my little hospital cape thing. I'm also wondering why there are two women sitting there in nice plush robes and I only got a cape.... boy, they must have some mighty fine insurance!
I get called in for some MORE images. This time they want to "roll" the breast and get some different angles and the tech says "Dr. S indicated that she will most likely also send you for an ultrasound" Hmmmm. This is turning out to be more testing than I thought. What does she see that she wants to hit it with an ultra sound? Is the tech just being polite in assuring me this is all fairly standard with masses of dense tissue like I'm sporting in my right boobie.
Off I go to ultrasound. That was downright pleasant... low lighting, lying on a comfy bed, the soft hummmmm of the machine. Oh, wait, now there is a strange woman massaging warm gel all over my breast. Eh, whatever.
When the tech leaves to go take the images to the radiologist I look over at the screen. WTF is that big black void in the middle of the image and why did she take so many pictures of it? Don't get worked up, she say with a smile on her face, "Well that was a lot of work for nothing".
See the cyst? (again, not mine)
The radiologist comes in to explain everything to me. That big black void (or more correctly it was two different black holes) are fluid filled cysts. Those are totally inconsequential. Everything looked OK. They didn't see anything that looked like a tumor hiding in all that dense tissues HOWEVER the protocol is that I now get mammograms every freakin 6 months for the next two years. Looks benign, acts benign, will be considered benign and that's what they do to establish my "normal".
Basically, I feel like I literally won the Boobie Prize for the day.
No worries and if that's what I have to do to establish a good baseline image then so be it but I can't say the longer it went on and the more tests I had to do that I wasn't praying in between.
So I'll still shout from the rooftops...when the time comes... LADIES GO GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS!