Thanks for the Mammaries

Tomorrow I will be spending most of my day at the Wesley Breast Clinic having my annual mammogram and ultrasound.

Every year I go along and every year I feel the same range of emotions. So far, fingers crossed, I have been given the all clear and sent home, but that doesn’t stop me getting anxious. I start off feeling ok and actually looking forward to a morning of reading my book – forced reading I call it and I love it! As the day wears on these emotions change to worry and anxiety, followed by relief when I am finally allowed to go home.   Cancer free.

Sadly not everyone gets to do that.  I currently have a lovely friend who is battling secondary cancers after being treated for breast cancer some years ago.  The lovely @SeraphimSP from Ah The Possibilities also blogged about her dear friend yesterday.  Chances are every one of you reading this blog will have been touched by Breast Cancer, whether it is you, a relative or a friend.

Going to the Wesley Breast Clinic is exactly the same every year.  When I arrive, I walk into the waiting room and I cannot believe how many women are sitting there – fifty at least. I quickly scan the room for a familiar face, don’t find one, so I sit and start reading.

First call, in to see the doctor, easy quick chat and back to the waiting room.

Second call, in for the mammogram – what an antiquated ordeal that is. Boobs squashed flat between a piece of perspex and some xray thingy. I don’t think boobs were made to be squashed like pancakes!  Last year I was pre menstrual – OMG the pain. This time I am good.  But, someone has got to come up with a better invention, and soon.  It is horrendous.  As an aside, I asked the lady do they ever hire male radiographers for this job and she said no.  I’m glad of this because there is a lot of boob handling to get those puppies in between that perspex.

Back to the waiting room – still feeling good – no anxiety or worry.  Back to the book.  I am usually feeling a little peckish by now. 

Third call, in for the ultrasound scan.  This is the point where I start to worry. Each time I have the same thoughts, what if the lump is bigger? What if there is another one? I didn’t finish off the dishes at home? Who will pick up the dog? Every time she hovers around one particular spot I worry that it is a lump.   Really worry.  I almost have a panic attack.  Every single time.

Back to the waiting room – feeling quite worried now and unable to focus on my book. I start looking around wondering which of the ladies has had cancer, which have been sent here because of a lump or which ones are just here for their check up?   There is a story with each and every one of those ladies.  Unfortunately, for more of them than I care to think about, the ending is isn’t happy.  Not at all.

Fourth call, back into the doctors office – stomach churning. Get the good news, delivered in a couple of short sentences. We will see you in 12 months time. I leave feeling like I have just been given a new life. I leave feeling relieved, but also feeling sad for the women who didn’t get good news like I did.

For a brief time I got to imagine what it would be like if I was to have cancer and what I would do … I play out a scenario in my head yet I know it wouldn’t be anything like the reality.

Tomorrow I get to go through all those feelings again.  I wonder if I will feel exactly the same, or have I possibly become more complacent about it all?

I am incredibly grateful for my health and so thankful I don’t have cancer or any other insidious disease.

An old italian aunt always says, “if you have good health, you have everything”. We only have one body and it is so important that we take very good care of it. Be kind to your body … it is everything – without it we are nothing.

Don’t put off having your mammogram.  Are you over 40 yeas of age?  Have you ever had a mammogram?  Why not?   Make an appointment now!!  Please.

If you are under 40 please, as Sarah pleaded with you yesterday, give yourself regular breast examinations.  You really must.

Did you do something kind for your body today?


About Annieb25

A mum to 2 teenage boys, would be writer, thirsty for knowledge, Radio Solution solver on Radio 1116 4BC and so much more!!
This entry was posted in Family, Healthy Living and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Thanks for the Mammaries

  1. Bern Morley says:

    Can relate, felt like I was there with you.

    Last year, when Mum was sick, I had a burning in my right breast and more of a mass than a lump. I put it off and off because to be quite frank I just couldn’t deal with it. What if I was sick? I could only look after so many people and I didn’t have time to drop myself into that equation.

    So after she passed away, I finally got up the courage to go and see a doctor. My boobs are too small for a mammogram so I had the ultrasound. The doc thought it was only a fibroidenoma, but she couldn’t get a handle of the consistency via ultrasound, so to be sure, she suggested a biopsy.

    MY freakin God it hurt. Apparently they shouldn’t, but damn my did. Needle into a mass in your breast = pain.

    I then had a weeks wait, basically shitting my pants and quite sure I wouldn’t be able to handle bad news at that time. My husband seemed to the least supportive I have ever seen him. And don’t get me wrong, he’s a great guy but geez he just wasn’t there for me. We later discussed it and I found out that it was his way of coping. He too had seen enough of the inside of a hospital and seen death too close and he was freaking out.

    But I got the all clear. Well all clear with check ups 6 monthly. And this dear Annie, is my catalyst to book myself in for that 6 monthly checkup and stop thinking about it.
    Thanks lovely, great post.

    BTW, the doctor who did the biopsy told me (I think he could read my terror) that most women over 30 don’t have enough Vitamin B6 which alleviates the breast pain and Vitamin E. And it he was right.

    • Annieb25 says:

      I’m glad that this post has caused you to make that appointment. The first mammogram I had resulted in the Needle Biopsy also. It didn’t hurt, but the pain in waiting for the results was terrible. It is funny how men deal with these things, and I guess given what you had all been through with your mum, he needed to shut down. Glad everything is ok, like me, it’s ok, but there is something there that needs ongoing monitoring. I might look into the Vitamin B6. Thanks xx

  2. mommemau2 says:

    After all the years I have taken care of my body, I am still shocked by the diagnosis. Here is my testimony –
    Thanks fo reading if you get a chance!

  3. thank-you so very much for sharing this account of the feelings and thoughts that go through this process. i shall def share with all my female friends. thanks again.

    • Annieb25 says:

      Thank you for reading Dave. It is a really important message. Be thankful you don’t have to have anything squished by that perspex. Not good!

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  5. Seraphim says:

    Oh Annie, just read this. Thinking of you for tomorrow. Hate this. I hate that it is such a terrifying unknown. Breasts are a bit of an oxymoron aren’t they with the whole pleasure/pain thing. xxx

  6. I booked in for my first mammogram after reading Sarah’s post. Have a little while to wait. Trying not to think about it. I hope all goes well for you tomorrow.

  7. LadyBanana says:

    Had mine a few weeks ago, been having every year for ages as my little sis passed away with this devastating disease.

    You account there is exactly how I feel, great post and I hope it inspires others to get “squashed”

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  9. Hi,
    I agree it’s a horrendous thing. I have only had to endure one mammogram and ultrasound so far … and I agree, it’s a nerve-wracking thing, and something that is soon to become more regular as I age. I also get breast pain and lumps, but so far, it’s all good, and is mainly related to my arthritis (because my chest bones have fused a bit and it’s referred pain, and the lumps are hormonal and my body attacking itself). But I have really lovely, dear friends, who haven’t been so lucky, so whatever I go through, having boobs squashed and poked and prodded is nothing to what they go through. You are right though, I do know men get breast cancer (my ex-husband did, had to have a mastectomy and everything), but as far as they know they don’t need their bits squashed and pummelled like we do. I often wonder why we can’t come up with an easier way to diagnose?
    Anyway good for you, good for anyone who braves these yucky tests. I put them up their with pap smears and colonoscopies. Horrid but possibly life-saving.
    And Bern? I’ve heard that before re men. They can’t ‘fix it’ which is what they are programmed to do, so they can’t deal with it either. Luckily you guys were able to talk your way through it though, hey?

  10. Girl Clumsy says:

    I have something called “Benign Breast Disease”. Mmm, sounds charming, hey?

    Basically it just means some of my breast tissue is thicker in parts. It isn’t cancerous, but it means if you DO get a lump, it may be harder to spot. As I’m still (reasonably) young, mammagrams don’t pick it up, so for two years I had ultrasounds to check it out. After the second one, the doctor said I could drop back to every two years.

    So now that one’s now due, and I really should book my appointment! Thanks for the reminder Annie. 🙂

    A friend of mine is currently undergoing chemo for breast cancer. I feel so bad for her, and wish there was more I could do, beyond the odd email/tweet of support. It’s a strange thing of wanting to be more helpful, but also not wanting to intrude. Everyone deals with their illness differently.

    But yes, it’s a scourge, a horrible thing. While I whinge and complain about my boobs – how they get in my way and I can’t run without giving myself black eyes – I can’t imagine them not being there.

    Next step for me are the old colonoscopies – my mother had bowel cancer, as did three of her siblings. Yeah… good history there! Luckily my Mum got hers early, and didn’t need chemo, just surgery. She’s all clear, five years later. But now she’s very upfront about how I need to go for one, even though I’m still probably a bit too young!

  11. Fabulous post!
    My Great Grandmother, Grandmother, Mother passed away from breast caner, I’m 53 and have been having yearly check ups since my early 30’s.

    It never does get any easier, although I don’t seem to mind, so much anymore the discomfort from the pressing, squeezing…”Pupetry of the Boobs” seems like a good description!!
    I seem to be obsessed before my appointment, I clean the house, stock the pantry, leave notes, just in case!! Not sure why though, because if something is found they’re not likely to whip you in that very day! Crazy me

    I just found you through Katrina Chambers, I’ve enjoyed my visit

  12. Naomi says:

    Annie, thank you (and Sarah) for the reminder to check my breasts. I watched a Mother from work battle this insidious disease last year, with two very young children… and that’s just one story of many I know of.
    I understand the feelings of the check up process, although with another form of cancer, the same that my Mum had, and loathe the wait for results, which after an initial scare have been all clear, thankfully.
    So, as you go tomorrow, know that you will be in my thoughts. xxx

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  14. Hi Annie

    I read Sarah’s post last night, which prompted me to call my Drs today and make an appt, as I was slightly overdue for a pap smear, which is when I have a full health check, including a breast exam. I just don’t trust myself to find a lump for some reason! I have a go, but convinced I’ll miss something. I think all this is heightened once kids come in to the mix.

    Hope it goes well for you tmw, hon. Will be thinking of you. xx

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  17. Annieb25 says:

    Thank you everyone for your comments. Just the fact that my post and Sarah’s post have made you go and make your own appointment is the best thing ever.

    All went well for me. It was exactly as I described above. No changes so all good and all booked in for next year. If you haven’t made your appointment yet … what are you waiting for?


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  19. Jade says:

    A fantastic post – thank you for sharing.

    I am only twenty-seven but have recently had family members on both sides go through Breast Cancer treatment. I am calling my doctor as soon as I finish typing this comment for a breast check.

  20. mommemau2 says:

    I saw you stopped by. I am glad to be in remission and dreading that this is the month that I need to go get a mammogram for my 1 remaining breast. Thanks for stopping by and the post.

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