The Mammogram

The exam is over and I am waiting in an open-front gown for the radiologist to read the mammogram.   I wonder why they make me wear that gown. Blue, butt ugly print…1000 people have probably worn it.

My arms don’t fit in it right. There are snaps on the shoulders. It is misshapen and it seems like there is always a boob trying to escape. No protection. All of my nerves exposed. No room for modesty. I sit in the exam room reading Redbook. The magazine is three years old but there is an article on the front about how to lose 10lbs by walking 30 minutes a day. I have to read it; it could possibly contain the magic formula for weight loss. I wait. I wait. And I wait. It always feels like an eternity when you are waiting in a dimly lit exam room, in a bad gown, reading an old magazine about weight loss. The Radiologist doesn’t have the balls to come tell me himself. He sends the radiology technician in to tell me. She walks in slowly. She doesn’t have a purposeful gait anymore. She doesn’t hurry in to send me on my way. She looks sad. She carries pity in her eyes. I hate the look of pity. I watch as she processes what she is going to say and how she is going to say it. I wonder if they have a booklet for healthcare professionals called, “how to give bad news 101 different ways”. I don’t make it easy for her. I am still holding onto hope. Hope that maybe she looks worried because she is running late or needs a diet coke. Surely she is worried about something else, something that has nothing to do with me. I sit. I wait. Then she says it. We saw a mass; it might be nothing but we need to schedule you for a biopsy.

Fear.

Stress.

Anxiety.

My kid’s faces.

Nothing.

I am sitting in my car in the parking lot of the hospital. I don’t remember walking through the lobby. I have the card with the date and time on it in my hand. I don’t remember scheduling the biopsy. I remember sitting in the car and going nowhere. I remember my head hurting. I remember not being able to breathe in enough air. I remember needing my Mom.

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12 thoughts on “The Mammogram

  1. Well written. Do you think you should add dates and possibly your age at the time? Would that help other women to understand better.

    BG (Ret) Gary G. harber Sent from my iPhone

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  2. This is well written and I think it is something that will help a lot of people in the future and not necessarily just women but men is they go through similar experiences with prostrate cancer and other cancers.

    BG (Ret) Gary G. harber Sent from my iPhone

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  3. I had a similar experience when I was 34 and found a breast lump. That was in 1975 and mammograms were new. I had to wait a day to find out results. My closest friend had just had a double mastectomy. All was well, but I know the anxiety. My best friend is still alive to this day and doing very well. It was scary and it still scares her regularly. Tough. Thanks for the telling.

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  4. The first time I was told I had a mass was at CMC. I was sitting in a cold, dark room wearing the hospital naked gown, all alone. The radiologist came in an was even colder than the room. He said, “You have a 50/50 chance of having cancer.” With that said he turned and left. All I could think about was my children. They had a 50/50 chance of not having a mother. It took about six weeks before the nightmare ended with a benign result.

    There has to be a better way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am sorry you had that experience Vicky. The way you were told was harsh. I don’t know if there is A good way to get that kind of result. I’m glad to hear that your mass ended up being benign.

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      1. The second time I was told I had a mass was handled most personable and professional. This time I was in the VA health system. I have dodged two bullets. For that I am grateful. I am also grateful that you are a survivor.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Keep writing. It does make and will make a difference in someone’s life. We have to remember that while we write, we are flooded with emotions that help keep us keenly focused. What we experience in the process of our healing is a gift that is unique to each person, yet can be shared with others who may be on a similar journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I hope to help others that are going through challenges. It is hard when you are the person dealing with the illness but it is also hard for the caregivers. My daughter was my primary caregiver and her struggles were overlooked because of the struggle I was going through with breast cancer. It is hard for the people that love you too. Thank you for thd encouragement.

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  6. Oh so true and gut wrenching! Even as a Mom there are times when all we want is our own Mom! It really saddens me to hear the way people are told bad news! Being told you have a certain percentage, blah, blah, blah…Everyone is a person, not a statistic in a medical book!

    Feel free to check out my personal story as well at http://www.carepages.com

    The name of my carepage is 100percentcurerate

    Hmmmm…wonder why I chose that name and why hearing you have 50/50 chance, etc gets me so riled up?
    Thank you for sharing Cat! Love all your smiling face posts and poses on FB! You look SO happy and completely in YOUR element now!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is well written and a great help to ease my fears. I am 47 and have not had a mammogram in 3 years. I went 2 weeks ago for a screening mammogram and received a letter that they needed to do a diagnostic mammogram of my left side. I went to have that test done and was told to wait for the radiologist to review it. The technician came out to tell me I know needed an ultrasound. I started to get scared especially sitting there for hours with women who were in different ages and stages of breast cancer. After the sonogram the radiologist came in to tell me I needed to schedule a biopsy because she sees a cyst that is most likely benign, but there is debris in the cyst. So now I am waiting for my next appointment. It does change how you view life.
    Thank you for this blog 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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