No joke, according to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure site, it is estimated that there will be 230,480 new cases of women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and 39,520 women will die from breast cancer this year in the United States! Incredibly frightening statistics. We can reduce those numbers dramatically through early detection – self-examination and regular mammograms. And by the way, although rare, men do get breast cancer as well.
I’ll admit it is not the most comfortable exam in the world; I’m amazed each time I’m not bruised. But peace of mind is worth a little discomfort, no?
I thought I’d share the story of my first mammogram with you all because it was a heck of an experience and frankly it’s important to talk about. Several years ago when I turned 40 I knew I needed to schedule an appointment. My Gynecologist gave me a list of places that her office recommends, which I took home and promptly shoved into a drawer. There’s no history of breast cancer in my family, thankfully, so I kept putting it off.
Well, every year my employer brings a mammography truck to the office and now it was in my face. If I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity I was a fool. Okay fine, I may be a lot of things but a fool is NOT one of them. I signed up and had the test done. Admittedly it was a weird thing to do in a truck, in the parking lot outside my office, but at least I finally did it. Results were to be read and sent to my doctor who would contact me in a few weeks and unless they saw something I wouldn’t hear back from them…I heard back.
Not what I expected.
Okay, so after a bunch of phone calls to them and my doctor I got the films and made another appointment with my Gynecologist. She explained they saw a shadow and just as a “precaution” I should have the test redone: she ordered a mammogram and an ultrasound.
Just a little aside here: I am extraordinarily ticklish, so doing an ultrasound was going to be absolutely torturous because they also go into the armpit to test the lymph nodes. It took all my strength not to bounce off the table as I giggled…no control at all.
Anyway, a week or so past and I had my tests. This took the better part of the day because I was squeezed (no pun intended) in and the two tests were not back-to-back.
Now I wait. I didn’t hear back soon enough for my taste so I called them…useless. Had to wait for their doctor to read the test and then send the results back to my doctor and I would get a letter in the mail. REALLY?!
The letter came and they wanted to do another test.
At this point my nerves are absolutely fried. I’m cranky, snappy, withdrawn and not wanting to knit, cook, or do anything really. I didn’t even tell anyone in my family about this. They knew something was up but I made excuses. I guess I was just too frightened to talk about it. I was having a really hard time dealing and I was shutting down. Thankfully my husband was a rock. He got the brunt of it but understood; I got lots of hugs. I love my husband.
Now I was having an MRI done. I have to admit this was a weird test. Basically you lay on the table, on your stomach with your breast hanging through a hole. Yup, interesting picture, isn’t it?
More waiting. While this was going on my doctor gave me the name of a breast surgeon to read all of the tests, from the initial one to the latest; which he did.
The end result was it’s a benign cyst. Thank goodness!!!
All told this entire ordeal took about 2 months from start to finish. I swear I sprouted a few grey hairs over this one. The surgeon gave me the name of a really top-notch place to have all future testing done and recommended I continue to have both a mammogram and an ultrasound done annually to make sure that nothing has changed.
I go there every year to get squished and tickled.
The point of this is it could have been something else and I wouldn’t have known had I not gone and gotten tested. And if it wasn’t a benign cyst I could have been part of one of those statistics I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
Don’t be a statistic ladies; get ‘em squished!
About the scarf at the top of this page: When I received an email from Classic Elite Yarns with this patten in it, I knew it was destined for my needles. And when I realized it uses a ribbon yarn called Katydid and that it comes in the perfect pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I was sold. The pattern is called Katydid Drop Everything Scarf and was designed by Rachel Henry, aka Remilyknits. It was a really quick and fun knit. I seriously think I will make several more in other colors. Oh, the colorway is called Chintz Pink. The pattern is free and available for download on Ravelry.