Friday, August 30, 2013

A Mammogram Story!

Living faith is a rock with roots.

           Puzant Kevork Thomajan


We are very lucky, those of us who live in Ontario Canada, we have free Health Services provided by our Country plus our Province has a Breast Screening Program which I have now come to realize the importance of, and to take advantage of this free service. You are advised to use this service every two years. This is my story.

I am sitting in the cafe of the hospital drinking a coffee and reading over and over this letter that came in the mail on August 2, I am an hour early, I cannot believe I am here, I flip the letter over pull out my pen and start to write on the back of it, this has always calmed me down. I can feel my anxiety levels rising. That familiar tightening in my chest reminds me this is really happening and I am not at home snuggled in my bed dreaming this early Friday morning.

I knew exactly what the letter said I have reread it so many times I can quote it word for word. I now question why I had ignored two letters that came in the mail over the last three years from my doctor reminding me to book an appointment for a Mammogram under that free Breast Screening Program. I crumpled up both those letters thinking I did not have time, my life was too stressful and too busy to worry about, well…. me.

I question that reasoning now while I worry it is too late. Who do I think I am? Did I really think I was invincible and too busy to take care of myself or did I just use that as an excuse? Thinking back that was pure negligence on my part, I am ultimately the only one who could possibly take care of my own health, how dare I think any different. Oh I do hope it is not too late to finally realize that. How dare I blame the farm, the taking care of Mom, and the busy life I have created? This life which I honestly thought would fall apart if I was not the one handling and controlling …..well, everything at the exclusion of my own being. I do know I am not alone with this way of thinking there are many women thinking that way right this very moment. You know what I am talking about.

I think back to when I finally picked up that phone and made that appointment in the middle of trying to figure out what was going on, thinking something was not right. I did not find a lump I just did not feel very well and decided I should really get caught up on those free services we are so very lucky to have access to. I was booked for the Mammogram on July 24. I am not going to lie here it was painful reminding me of another reason I had not rushed to get it done. It did not help that this test was booked right in the middle of a frustrating haying time. The technician finished and I walked out proud of myself for finally taking my own health into my own hands. I truly thought that would be the end of it.

On Friday July 26 (two days after that Mammogram) I returned home after another busy day and my answering machine was beeping, I pushed the button. “Hello this is Sherry at Ontario Breast Screening Services, could you please phone us as soon as possible, thank you.” I could actually feel my heart stop for a second, I never imagined in my wildest dreams I would ever get a call back, this had never happened before. I dialed the number, Sherry answered and she explained that they had found something and they had made an appointment in a couple of weeks for an ultra sound and a “special” viewing at the hospital, a letter would arrive in the mail shortly. I hung up the phone and plunked down in the chair staring out the window watching the cows wandering around like normal.

This phone call left me with weeks of guilt, for not taking care of what I should have been taking care of. Worry, about what the diagnosis would be as I have many friends who have fought this horrible battle of breast cancer, most have won the battle and some unfortunately that have not. Guilt about leaving my girls made for sleepless nights and then the wondering what My Hero would do. I was terrified and angry at myself, thinking how about stupid and selfish I had been to ignore those notices.

This day while sitting in this cafe in the hospital I fold up the letter and put it in my purse, I head down to the appointment I never thought I would ever have to have. I put on one of the gowns and waited in the waiting room with others who had been called back and they looked as nervous as I. There were a couple of husbands waiting with their wives and I thought about how I told everyone I wanted to do this alone so there I sat thinking of what and where My Hero was. There was a lot of idle chatter among all who were waiting, I found myself feeling a bit more relaxed, after all we were all there for the very same reason and comforted each other with positive everyday normal conversations.

They called my name and I walked into the room with a Mammography machine exactly like the one I had visited almost one month ago, the technician was so nice and kept me calm and that was what I needed because I was so afraid I was ready to run. She pulled up the image on the computer to show me why I had been called back and I found myself staring at a white shadow the size of a quarter just in front of my chest wall. I had seen this image before while searching the internet on those long sleepless nights trying to figure out if I had cancer or not, I realize now that was not a good thing, but I found myself obsessed with knowing. I held back those stinging tears while all those worries, that guilt and anger ran through my mind. The questions were swirling making my head spin; why had I waited and ignored my health so long, am I going to pay for that mistake.  I did know early detection was the one thing that is always stressed, what had I done?

Once again my breast was squeezed into the machine and I was so frightened this time I did not even notice the discomfort. We finished and the technician took the results outside to have someone look at them. I sat in this room my head spinning in an ugly gown with that scary letter in my purse staring at that machine and praying.

The technician walked into the room, she said I have good news and then she asked what I was doing before I went for that first Mammogram, I replied baling hay and I added I had a terrible kink in my neck. “Well the spot we were concerned about is no longer there, we think it had something to do with the muscle. It is gone, you are fine” “Promise me you will not have a Mammogram during haying season again” Oh you can bet on that I replied. Thank you, thank you. I hugged her left the room and went to change noticing that the waiting room was now empty, and hoping all who I had sat with had the same good news. I do understand what they were going through.

I walked out those hospital doors pulled out my cell phone to tell My Hero the good news. He was relieved and asked if we could meet for coffee, I knew he was working far from where the hospital was located and mentioned that to him. He replied “I am right around the corner” tears ran down my face, he was waiting and ready to be there if I needed him, he is truly My Hero. Sure I will be there in five minutes I replied. I really did not need the coffee but I certainly did need the hugs.

I guess why I decided to publish this post was to hopefully get people to understand how important it is to have a Mammogram and to not put it off because you think you are invincible and do not have time or are afraid of what they may find. MAKE THE TIME it is too important. Early detection is the key. You owe it to your family and more importantly to yourself to take care of your own health.



To those of you who are fighting this battle right now we are with you and please know we are all in this together. Our hearts are with you. To all the families that have lost the ones they love our hearts are also with you. We owe it to their memory to keep getting the word out.

Please Support Breast Cancer Research and please take advantage of Breast Cancer Screening.

During this stressful time I had tremendous support from my family and friends and for that I am truly grateful. “Thank you” does not seem like enough and I could never express how much that support truly meant to me. I learned a few very valuable life lessons during this process. Thank you for listening. Pick up that phone if you have been putting this off.

Later


48 comments:

  1. Oh, I am sorry you had such a scare! ;(
    Take Care!

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  2. A scare with a happy ending. Thank God.

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  3. Oh Buttons thank you so much for sharing this. I can't imagine how worried you must have been. Thank goodness for happy endings :)

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  4. Thanks for the reminder to take time to care for ourselves no matter what/who else needs us.

    PS God bless your Hero. That's the part that brought tears to my eyes. I'm sure your Hero didn't care about the coffee either!

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  5. Thank you for sharing - encouraging how important this is -

    BUT - My favorite part is learning your Hero was right around the corner . . . in case . . .

    He deserves his title.

    -g-

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  6. I'm so glad you are OJ, Buttons! What an awful scare!

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  7. What a awesome out come. You are one of the lucky ones. Hugs M xox

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  8. So glad you had a clear follow up screening. I too had a rescreen once, and it was stressful. I understand totally.

    I will add a plea to all your readers, Buttons, both male and female--PLEASE folks, DO go get your colonoscopy screenings. It is not nearly as bad as you think it is. And colon cancer is one of those that is easily and readily treatable with early detection. I will lose a good dear friend sooner than I would like, because he did not get screened in time. Now the cancer is in his liver and his lungs. It will kill him, it's just a matter of time.

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  9. May the news always be good.

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  10. I'm so glad you got good news, Buttons...you had me scared there for a bit! It's time for me to make my follow up breast MRI appt (today!) and I'm dreading it, like I'm sure you can imagine!

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  11. I am so glad your test turned out ok. I have a mammogram scheduled for 23 Sep.

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  12. Good for you for getting it done and horray for good news! I have two more years before I have to get one.

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  13. wonderfully written( as per usual!)We don't often get the full impact of just how fragile we are- when we come face to face with it , well it alters us. So very VERY glad you had just a "warning" .Hugs to you!

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  14. I'm glad your news was good. I get a scare about every three years when they call me back for second screenings. I think they like to be super extra cautious, and that is a good thing.

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  15. Good news B! I always wait for the results when I go for a screening and 2 times ago they called me back 3 times. I know the feeling and was so relieved when everything was ok.

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  16. That was written so beautifully, and you may just save someone's life by taking the time to share your experience. Love from Michigan.

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  17. That scare must have been a rough one. Thank you Buttons for sharing I am one that drags my feet on this and it had prompted me to consider it more important .

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  18. so glad to hear it was nothing. i've been called back in to be rechecked so i can relate to your nervousness. your hero waiting for you brought a tear to my eye. such a dear...
    <3

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  19. Oh Buttons, I'm sorry you had to go through this scare, but am so glad it turned out with good results. I had a similar situation a few years ago. After having an ultra sound and a biopsy they discovered it was just some fatty tissue. I always schedule my mammogram when I have my annual physical now.

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  20. YiKeS b, what a scare!! my grandmother died from breast cancer, before i was born. i go faithfully, every, single, year!!

    i must be honest and tell you that i jumped all around this entry. as i started to read, i HAD to know the outcome, before i could really read. so i jumped to the end, then back to the beginning!!

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  21. Thank the Lord for happy endings, B! I wish I could hug you, but a cyber hug will have to do. (((HUGS)))

    Please do not beat up on yourself. We all have lessons to learn. I went 5 years without a mammogram for many of the same reasons you didn't go in--I didn't have time, it wouldn't happen to me, etc. And my mother had breast cancer, so I know it can happen. I finally went this summer and it was OK. Thank you for reminding all of us to take care of ourselves.

    And your Hero? He is awesome.

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  22. This is such an important message for us to hear. While I am past the age that my insurance will pay for one every year, I still go every year and just pay out of my own pocket the year the insurance won't pay. There have been too many incidences of breast cancer being discovered in women in my age group recently, so I don't want to wait two years.

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  23. Your hero is very special and so are you. Glad it turned out good!

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  24. Bravo! Had tears when I read where your Hero was. So very glad all has turned out well for you, my friend~

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  25. I am glad you are all right!
    Blessings!

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  26. Hello! Very nice and interesting post.
    Great and friendly atmosphere on the blog.
    Greetings. :)

    Patricia & Daniel


    • LINK •
    ˘ LINK ˘

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  27. I had the same experience this summer and it scared me to death -- even though, like you, they couldn't find the spot on the repeat mammo and ultrasound. I'm glad you are okay too. You and I are making a pact not to put this off in the future even though it is very inconvenient and kind of painful.

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  28. Oh my - what a scare! I can completely relate to your story, I'm much the same way - putting off the tests I know I should have. I am soooooo happy that all is well!

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  29. I go every two years to have it done . I am so glad you are ok . I had a similar thing happen to me a few years ago but all was good ! Papa always comes with me for the support regardless , we both have Hero's . Thanks for sharing . Have a good weekend !

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  30. This must have had a lot of impact on you all.
    Take care ok?

    Greetings from the Netherlands,
    dzjiedzjee.blogspot.com

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  31. Phew, I'm so glad all is well. I can't imagine how scary a close call like that must have been. Thank you for stressing the importance of mammograms. It's something that is always in the back of my mind since my mother passed away from breast cancer at a very young age.

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  32. Buttons, your post made me teary. I sure wish I had a Hero to wait around the corner for me...
    I PROMISE to phone the first of the week and make my appointment.

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  33. Another great Love story. Not just about you and your Hero, but of you and yourself...and us.

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  34. When its going good, its great ;)

    So glad that you will be around for us to laugh with... and at...

    *feral wipes her eyes as she walks away, "darn dust" she mutters*

    xoxoxo

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  35. I think I got some of Feral's dust in my eyes too! I'm so glad everything is okay and thank you for the reminder that we need to take care of ourselves too. I can't remember how long it's been since I went and got my 'tit in a wringer!' ;)

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  36. Glad to see that all is well with you. I have had that scare a few times, same thing, and getting an ultrasound as well. I fully understand the nervousness of whole waiting thing. Have a great weekend!

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  37. Great that you got good news, after such a scare. Yes, one of the good things about the health care system in Ontario is this screening program - my wife goes every two years.

    Now you can enjoy the long weekend.

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  38. Glad you are ok and had a hero by your side ! This past year I had 4 call backs, so fully understand your stress. It sure is a scary time. My "hero's" way of coping is pretending it's not happening. So I went through it alone. Fortunately for me I got the clear for 2 years. I'm glad in Ontario we have such a great screening program.

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  39. Hugs, dear B! I'm so sorry you had to go through that, but I am thankful you are ok!! :)

    I wanted to tell you what I've been telling my other dearest blog friends-I apologize for not keeping up with all of your posts-but as I get Amy ready for her senior year I find that I am feeling extremely depressed. I think once she gets into the swing of classes and I get back into a regular routine I will cheer up:) You are never far from my thoughts though! xx

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  40. I'm so glad to hear that it wasn't what you feared it was. And thank you for getting the word out about this. It's a scary thing to face, and it's admittedly much easier to ignore the letters, or put it off, don't.

    My Mom was diagnosed last year with Breast Cancer, I took her to a routine mammogram, and afterwards when our Dr. called her in, and broke the news, it felt like a kick in the gut. Scary, over whelming, terrifying, and you wonder if it's going to be OK in the end...and it wasn't even me that was going through it.

    They caught it very early, the lump was removed, and she had a new type of radiation seed implanted..she is now one year later feeling well. And her diagnosis is good. But there is always the wondering, the watching, and the worry...

    She didn't get her mammogram in late winter when they sent her the letter, she was busy, it was cold, my Dad wasn't well, she did go later that spring. If she had put it off for another year, who knows how advanced it might have been.

    It's never easy to go to those appointments, we all have excuses, and reasons why we don't but we need to go, it's easier to catch earlier on, then later.

    Your husband is a wonderful person to be there outside of the hospital waiting to support you. And again, I am so glad that there wasn't any thing further to deal with.

    Hugs to you.

    Jen

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  41. Sobering post. Thanks for sharing. There's always a chance it will nudge someone to take charge of their health.

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  42. How wonderful to have a suspenseful story with a happy ending and a delight to have your Hero there to share the good news with you.
    We have free breast screening here in Western Australia and they send you a reminder every 2 years until you are 70. My doctor has told me not to bother now I have turned 80.
    My ex-sister-in-law with whom I am still in touch had breast cancer back in about 1960. A radical mastectomy plus ovaries removed. Verna survived and is now 90 so a very fortunate lady to have an excellent specialist in London way back then. I lost a dear friend to breast cancer several years ago. A medical mistake when she had been told she had muscle problems as she and her hubby had been building a mud brick house. No, it was cancer but by the time it was diagnosed it was too late
    I think you are fantastic telling your story and I hope it has stirred other women into taking positive action.

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  43. Thank God ... I make sure I have an ultra sound every two years. Sue

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  44. That was a terrifying experience. I have to make that apt this week, to have my first mammogram. I have 2 sisters who survived breast cancer. A good read, and now I WILL make that call this week.

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  45. Hi B...Just catching up here. I am so glad you took the time to nurture your valuable self by prioritzing your health! Just say, "Yes, ma'am." Been there. Got the letter. Nauseated. Scared. "I can do this by myself."Just like you. And, just like you, all was well and I was SO happy. Blessings and prayers to all who didn't get the good news. Good share. Helps people. May we never get another letter! Sandra

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  46. In an effort to get caught up I have read your posts out of order. Hun, I am so sorry you had to go through this! On one hand I am so angry that our Canadian system make woman wait such an agonizing length of time for those call back appointments, but as you said, I am grateful those services are available to us. Mostly I am just happy to hear is all is well, and will now wipe my tears as I re-read that your Hero Hubby was right there, waiting around the corner for you...

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  47. Oh Buttons *hugs* I'm so very sorry to hear that you had such a scare! I am glad the spot turned out to be nothing. This post is an excellent reminder to the rest of us who say "I'll call just after I finish... [enter the never-ending to-do list here]" because we all do it. I am guilty of this too.

    Your Hero is truly a hero, to know exactly when you will need his support and be there waiting (without adding to your worry by telling you ahead of time). Give him an extra hug from me for just being so darn awesome.

    Take care of yourself, so you can stay awesome too. *hugs*
    Mandi

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The mind grows by what it feeds on. J.G. Holland

Thank you so much for your comments, they mean more to me then I could ever express. Hug B

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