Monday, November 23, 2009

Waiting

Have you ever gone in for medical tests and been afraid to receive the results?

My Mom had breast cancer at 42, so for most of my life I have worried that I might have the same fate. I am 39 years old at this point, and have had mammograms for the last three years due to my family history.

I went in for a mammogram last week. I hate the whole mammogram thing -- it is unnerving to me both mentally and physically.

The waiting room is usually filled with unhappy looking women that are much older than me, and they tend to tell me that I look way too young to be getting a mammogram. And then I tell them that my Mom had breast cancer at 42. After they hear that bit of info they tend to clam up and look at the floor. It isn't comforting.

Physically the process isn't THAT bad, but it is uncomfortable. And awkward. And a bit embarrassing, especially when you catch the technician checking out your tits on the sly. But that stuff really doesn't matter much. And if anyone is facing their first mammogram, I would recommend NOT going the week before your period as a mammogram becomes even more uncomfortable and even more painful if your breasts are already hurting before they are put in that fucking panini press mammogram machine. (Side note: SOMEBODY NEEDS TO MAKE BETTER EQUIPMENT FOR MAMMOGRAMS ALREADY. IT IS A FUCKING BULLSHIT DESIGN AND THERE MUST BE A BETTER WAY. IF GUYS HAD TO FACE PUTTING THEIR BALLS IN A VICE, I AM PRETTY SURE AN ALTERNATIVE WOULD BE DEVELOPED QUICKLY).

If all goes well after getting a mammogram, they send you a letter within about 10 days giving you the all clear. I was hoping to get my letter before Thanksgiving so that I could enjoy the holiday. Instead I got a call at work today, and the technician told me they might have found a problem with my left breast. I have to go back on Wednesday for more tests. I am hoping for the best but fearing the worst.

Maybe some of you can relate to this? Maybe? I am trying not to panic. What will be will be, but it is a hell of a mind fuck. TBC. So here I sit waiting, dreading, fretting. UGH.

67 comments:

anotherfishinthesea said...

I can't relate personally, but my coteacher who I am in the room with 10 hours a day had surgery last week. Her mammogram came back clean but luckily she caught the lump herself. It's scary but she is going to be ok and I am sure you will be too. Hopefully, the worry now will be for nothing, but I'll be thinking about you and I am sure tons of other people will be too.

Alicia (The Red Deer) said...

So sorry to hear this - thinking of you and hoping that it turns out to be nothing.

K.Line said...

OK, no doubt incredibly unpleasant - but let's not panic. You are not your mother. And lots of false results are had by mammograms - that absurd technology which you so accurately described as being something men don't have to submit to. Will prob kill your holiday, but also prob nothing serious. You must keep us posted.

bananas. said...

oh noooooo! lady i just got really nervous. i absolutely hate cancer! i mean it literally has me tearing up right now because of my distaste for it. i've lost far too many people in my life...but no one to breast cancer.

i hope and pray that that little "problem" is nothing. keeping you in my thoughts.

Katie said...

I'm on waiting list to go into Hospital to get tested WAIT WAIT WAIT. It's been 3 months.. I guess that means they don't think I'm urgent *shrugs*. Good luck darlin' that does sound very scary I'll be thinking of you

xo

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

It could just be that your breast is hard to read and they want to examine it further. Don't think about the worst until you have too. It's hard, I know, but you have to be positive. Thinking about you!

Liz said...

:( I am hoping everything turns out okay. That's bullshit they are making you wait so long I HATE THAT. Good luck & keep us posted. <333

internet therapy said...

Waiting sucks ass, no doubt about it. I had a similar call on one ohsofun girly visit. They said they found something "irregular" and I needed a biopsy. In the end it turned out to be nothing so hopefully that will be the same for you. I did learn, however, that there is no use in worrying until you actually know something concrete. Deal with it when it happens, not before.

I'll be sending good mojo your way regardless!

Waxy said...

Waiting for test results sucks! Hopefully everything turns out okay for you!!! Wishing you the best! Try to think about happy pandas!

Trixie said...

I am so sorry to hear this. I really hope it's just an issue with them reading it and that nothing is wrong with you. I will think positive thoughts for you. Hopefully it'll just be a little cyst or something.

I completely relate. I have had to wait on results to see if I had cervical cancer and to see if my baby had down syndrome and those were the two worst times of my life ever.

The only advice I have is just to keep positive and focus on things that'll keep your mind off waiting.

Easier said than done I know. Just don't get worked up before you know anything.

Melanie's Randomness said...

Hey girl. I can relate partially to what your going through. Last year my gyno told me that I had a lumps in my right breast. I knew they were there & finally got the courage & told my doctor. The not knowing of whether or not I had breast cancer or if it was just fibroids was excruiating. Your head is running around all these thoughts & it's scary. I didn't have any history of breast cancer in my family but fibroids I did. I went to the sonogram, saw the lumps on the lil TV, but luckily for me it was just fibroids. They are either going to tell you, you might have cysts or fibroids. Cysts can be cancerous. Depending where it is in your breast they'll do a biopsy. Unfortunately those hurt. The waiting to know everything is hard. I completely understand that. I had the surgery last year to remove them & have no regrowth.

Stay positive girl, there can be a lot of things that it could be that are not cancerous and they might tell you we'll just watch it for a lil while.

Please let us know how everything is. I didn't mean to write ya a book here but I've been there when I was 23. Best wishes. *hugs*

Ela said...

J, I know it's hard but try to stay positive until you hear the final results. My grandmother had a mastectomy and my aunt had a scare but she was OK, she got got the cist removed.
Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Hang in there, hon. xx

Char said...

i had exactly the same thing and had to go back in and get a second one with smaller paddles. so, i went back and made an appointment with a surgeon - turns out it was all clear and just what they called "dense breast tissue"

Jenni said...

This post actually made me cry. I am crying as I type. I will pray for you that everything will be okay. And it will be. Cancer is so scary and it's so sad that everyone has actually experienced it in one way or anything.

Although this is hard to do, try to just enjoy your holiday and not think about what is to come. You have done all you can do and now it is up to the man above. My love, thoughts and prayers are with you <3

Felicia said...

First of all, we should probably require all men to put their balls in a vice. You know, just because.

And yes I totally know how you feel. I had a skin cancer scare a few years ago and I cried for seven days straight waiting for the results. And my mom is a breast cancer survivor, so that was another scary time.

Not that I'm certified to give any advice whatsoever, but try to do things to take your mind off of it. Not that I would take my own advice because I'm a neurotic freak.

Phoenix said...

Gah, this sucks, big time. I'll keep you in my thoughts and try to send some positivity your way. I wish I could offer you some sort of comfort or tell you a really funny story about when something similar happened to me, but I got nothing but hope and support for you, girl.

Breathe deep and don't let this ruin your Thanksgiving. Tons of mistakes are made on those machines, and it seems like whatever they want to talk to you about isn't clear (so it isn't terrible or great news) yet so you can't drive yourself crazy, k?

::Hugs:: you WILL get through this, you ass-kicker, you.

creative kerfuffle said...

the waiting is the worst because your mind does fuck w/ you every way it can. please keep us posted. i'll be thinking of you!!! and yes, if guys had to put their balls in that panini press there would be a much more comfortable way to do it. sheesh.

Raina Cox said...

Hugs and inappropriate groping,

Raina

TERI REES WANG said...

Darling Drollgirl,

I keep telling you to fill your dance card. Replace one addiction (those bad thoughts swimming in your head)... with another more pleasurable, less destructive other new addiction...like walking, talking, eating, skipping, juggling, jumping, biking, skating, flirting, spinning, stitching, sewing, reading, so there is no room for fear.

You are perfectly fine.
And next time, you can show up for a thermal gram instead; search it.

Be well.

Diane said...

i'm waiting myself so i do know how you feel. i was supposed to have the follow up from my tests on the 30th and just now found out i have to go to court that day, so i had to reschedule! argghhh! :(

this is what i'm doing - not worrying about it for now. cuz it's just wasted worry!! when/if it's time to worry, do it then.
{{hugs}}

Gabby said...

Oh lady. The waiting part is SUCH a mind fuck, I know. I actually had to get a mammogram a few years ago for a suspicious lump. It turned out to be nothing to worry about (guess I'm just a lumpy lady!). I'm sorry you have to deal with this stress right now and I'm sending you all the positive, happy thoughts in the world.

Kitten said...

My sister found a lump when she was 21 years old and a senior in college. It was one thing to have the lump, but another thing to be five hours away from home and get a mammogram done.

She came home three days before Christmas. It was a Sunday afternoon, and they weren't going to have her test results for another two days. She called the minute the doctor's office opened, and was told to call back in a few hours. Long story short, it turned out to be benign.

She was incredibly relieved when she got her results, but the waiting period left her a nervous wreck.

Hang in there. I'll be thinking of you.

LENORENEVERMORE said...

I feel you J!
They should give the result faster no?! 2 days max!! Better still an hour!
Hope everything will be simply great!
xo* your way-----}

Phoenix said...

Anytime, girl. And you know where to find me if you ever need to talk (or have someone just shut up and listen.)

<3 (<---- that's supposed to be a heart, but it just looks like a Less Than Three sign. Hey, it's the thought that counts, right?) :)

Elizabeth Marie said...

Oh no, I DO not like this, just because I don't want you to be worried. Of course you are though. Damn it! I am sending you hugs and love and wine. You are going to be just fine J.

Blue Satin Sashes said...

Sending lots of good boob energy your way... xoxo

sherri said...

I have only had one mammogram (last year) & distinctly remember them telling me that if they call me back in for another one, DO NOT panic. That this happens a lot. I know w/your family history that that is hard not to do. I am sending you healthy booby thoughts.

Keith said...

Good luck. I wish you the best. I'll be sure to keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Take care.

Kaz said...

I guess there is nothing for me to say that hasn't been said by other readers.

It's natural to fear the worst. It's what I'd do too.

But there are times when results aren't clear, when they need to be done again. It happened to me once with a pap result.

I haven't had a mammogram yet. I have to admit that I'm not looking forward to having one, but I know it's something I have to do.

Love to you xx

Grammatically Delicious Designs said...

I am just like you!!! I freak every time they even look cross-eyed at one of my moles (my family has malignant melanoma). I also badger the hell out of every single person involved and make them tell me their opinion whether they want to or not. I hate waiting. Hate it. But I do eventually revel in the fact that we are proactive women, in charge of our lives, and making sure that we take care of ourselves from minute one. I am sending every good wave I can create to you. God bless. Let us know.

Danielle

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

I hope that the blip in the mammogram is nothing! You have my thoughts and prayers with you, droll.
I've never even had a mammogram because I haven't had insurance since I got divorced.

Iva said...

all I know is that everything will be ok. no matter what. know are not alone in any of this, and although these next two days will be a complete torture waiting and waiting, everything will be ok. I am so sorry you even have to be going through something like this. The waiting, the not knowing, the stress...it can feel like a ton of weight just laying on you. just try as hard as you possibly can for now, not to keep your mind on it. You are such an amazing person. Your outlook on things is remarkable.The way you put things together, the way you see art, the way you just are YOU...is something truly special. To be honest, I really can't find the 'right' words here..there are none. I wish I could take that phone call away. Everything will be ok. I am thinking of you. Right now...and always. Please sleep well...as well as you can.

...love Maegan said...

ugh, I'm so sad you have to deal with this for even a second. like. ugh.

You know my fingers are crossed in hopes that it was just like a fly that got trapped in that mammo machine wanting to feel you up ...like that technician did eying you like that. ew.

I'm sorry :(

...on a side note, that new rocking panda to the left is blowing my mind up.

so Spiffy said...

I'm sending you all the best vibes and thoughts as much as I can. I had a scare..it turned out to be one of those pimples I get (34 G cup) so my boobs tend to sweat when I work out... gross I know.. I get them sometimes (deep pimple.. kinda like a blood blister).

I pop them.. know I shouldn't damage my skin..but it went away.

It does not run in the family so I have not had one yet I'm in my early-mid 30's... but it makes me nervous anyway.

In Japan they use some type of sonogram....but what you described is what I went through when I was 15, I kept getting pains in my chest... and to think they are still using that machine that squishes you.... oh my.

It turned out to be growing pains... OMG.. sounds silly...

The waiting.. and the waiting. We are here for you, just come talk to us.

E.K. said...

Tough wait. You'll be fine and then you'll have to do a healthy breast themed post...ha ha ha, I couldn't help it.

Clorivak said...

Ok...with ALL THIS TECHNOLOGY, there HAS to be a better way to do this. For the stupid machine and the results part.
Don't Stress! Stress alone is so damaging mentally..I feel for ya hardcore. Never been through this but if I was I would want to throttle and claw things...shite sorry, I can only imagine though.
Just Remain Calm...Laugh often and don't let your mind get carried away.
My mom had a scare and it turned out to be an error on their part.

You will be just fine Janelle!! :)
xoxoxoxoox

Cheryl said...

I had a scare like this a few years ago that traumatized me so much I haven't been able to do my own monthly breast exams since. It was soon after I had just recovered from the chicken pox and I'd been feeling this pinching pain in my right breast every now and then. One night I finally checked it out and when I felt something weird I literally jumped out of bed crying. It was agony waiting to go to the doctors, but when I did, she said it was just a cyst which would go away on its own. Which it did. Shew, thank God oh holy mighty!!!!

And my mother knows someone who's had a lump in her breast for the last ten years and has never done anything about it. Apparently, my mother says (she used to be a research scientist) most lumps never develop into anything and aren't worth worrying about.

I'm thinking, in your case, that they just used an unfortunate turn of phrase. Doctor speech, esp. that of western doctors, seems designed to scare the bejeezuz out of their patients whenever possible.

Try also a reiki practitioner if you can, esp. a spiritually intuitive one who can give you a different take on what's going on.

Oh, and treat yourself to a massage, a 90 minute one if you can ,and the sooner the better!!

Hoping all will be well, xoxo

Jyun said...

Oh no, the mammogram sounded really uncomfortable and now the long wait of the looming doubt.. My mom had breast cancer and she only found out at the very late stage...she did not go mammograms. The only consolation I can give you is that early detection is really better than late ones. Look on the bright side, don't worry too much and you'll be fine :)

alissa said...

there is a right thing to say here - and i dont know what it is.
i can say dont worry, because ive had friends that have had 'abnormal tests' come back and they go in and they worry and worry... and then its nothing.
but when i am worried and people tell me not to worry i want to tell them to shut the fuck up.

im thinking of you:)

Jessica said...

My best to you hun. Keep your chin up it'll all be ok. Hugs to you and we'll all grope the girls if it'll make you feel better. :)

Caroline said...

Oh my gosh...not fun for you...:( So here's the thing... You will be OK...no matter what. These comments are so amazing and what a wonderful support system you have. Don't let this freak you out (I know easier said than done). But enjoy the holiday...focus on the good. Be well and I will send you some good energy :)

ASSHOLE BOYFRIEND said...

Don't worry babe.

Andhari said...

That does sound uncomfortable dear. I wish you a good result and I hope there's nothing wrong :( I know how nerve wrecking it can be.

miriam said...

we have cancer in the family too, so i know how you feel about the waiting, dreading and fretting. but i really hope that you're ok.

Asylum Dolly said...

Oh shit man, that cannot be fun :S I really truly hope you find out soon, and that when you do it's just something benign!!! You poor thing.... I am NOT looking forward to mammograms O.o, but I guess it's worth getting done if they can nip something in the bud (ewww, sorry about the unintentional pun :S ) if need be!
Jeez. My thought are with you girl!

Namine said...

Hugs.

KLaw said...

Jesus. How scary! I'm so sorry. I'll be thinking positive thoughts. keep us posted.

The Haute-Shopper said...

This really sucks... the waiting really is the worst part. I've not had a mammogram yet, but I get the usual gyno check every six months. This includes more manual chest exams and looking down under (incl. test swabs etc.). Two years ago, beginning Dec., I suddenly get a call from my gyno saying they found abnormal cell growth and I should come in her office. When I did, she told me I needed minor surgery, which freaked me out. It was a 30 min operation (general anaestesia yay) and not that bad on a scale of things. When they retested a month later, she told me the cells were dormant but bad cells by nature which could have lead to actual cancer, so I'm glad they caught it. Basically, if you've been getting these exams for a while, even if they catch anything, it should be very early stages. I'm positive you'll be fine, but regardless, I think you're in good hands and have nothing to worry about.

Marjorie said...

I'm so sorry you're going through this, and especially during the holidays. It's such a scary thing, but it's good that you're trying to stay positive. A friend of mine found a lump a few months ago and they decided to operate just to be safe, but it turned out to be nothing. So maybe it will be the same for you. I will keep you in my prayers and send lots of happy thoughts your way!

Tom Tuttle from Tacoma said...

i'm such a numbskull. i just read this entry. of course this screws up the head. i just wish i wouldn't screw up by saying anything more. you'll be in my thoughts.

Pretty Little World said...

I am HUGE worrier. I'm incapable of not worrying, especially about health things. I've had test results come back wonky before, and to let me know the doctor left a vague message on my machine right before the weekend! I called people until someone gave me the doctor's home phone number, I kid you not. There was no way in hell that I was waiting all weekend!!

In the end everything turned out fine, but just the idea that something might be wrong is terrifying.

Here's the best advice I've got: if something's wrong (which I doubt it is, I'm sure you're fine!!), it's already wrong and you can't change that, so the worry doesn't do you any good.

You'll have LOTS of people thinking of you and wishing you well over the next few days!!!

XOXO

Vivienne said...

It could be fibroid cyst. It could be the tech took a bad image since your boobs caused a distraction. It could be any one of any little things that add up to nothing. If it turns out that it is a little something, you've been vigilant and it will be something that is caught early.
I will keep you in prayer.

Down and Out Chic said...

oh my goodness, let's think positively for a second. chances are it's nothing and they're being extra careful b/c of your history...
i haven't started getting mammograms, however, my mom had breast cancer at roughly the same age as yours so i imagine i'll have too eventually. i can imagine how scared you are, but you're not alone. i'm thinking about you and sending positive thoughts and prayers your way.

Kirsty said...

Don't worry, and don't let it spoil your holiday. Spend Thanksgiving being thankful that medicine now means that any tiny problem can be caught so so early. It's most likely nothing, but you're being really proactive and safe by getting tested every few years. Chin up! Thinking of you x

Kellie said...

Ugh! I know how you feel. I had a mole removed last month. They told me that they would send a letter if it was clear and call if it wasn't. When I got that call my heart dropped. My mole came back as dysplastic meaning it would most likely turn into melanoma had we not caught it. I have to go back in Jan for another screening and probably every 6 months after that forever. Unnerving to say the least.

I'll be hoping for the best possible outcome for you.

xoxo

Sam said...

Aw hell! Fingers crossed it's nothing and they're just covering themselves and being super efficient which is usually the case I think. Beaming positives vibes to you all way from Sydney, Australia.

Hanako66 said...

oh no, i'm so sorry that you have that burden on your shoulders right now. my mother had a similar call and had to have a lump removed from her breast...so has my grandma, and cousin. i'm basically knowing that this will happen to me. it was not cancerous. or it could just be a shadow or something funky that needs to be re-done...no big deal:)

i'm crossing my fingers, toes, and legs (what?!!) and sending the most positive of vibes your way:)

hope505 said...

I h*o*p*e for you that this is nothing!

I'm probably the only woman alive looking forward to menopause, but I keep asking my doctor, "Am I there yet?" *haha!* Anyway, about a year ago I asked her when I ought to start having mammograms...I will be 44 next month...and she advised me that women in their 30's and 40's who go in for them have a higher chance of "finding something" but then they go through the biopsies and the cyst/lump/irregularity is not malignant.

It sucks that you have this in your family, still...it doesn't mean you have to get it too.
I will be sending you good thoughts...

Diana said...

Cancer runs in my family like water in our bodies, so the first time I got tested was as early as 19.
I'm sending prayers (yes, i know you are not a fan, but sending them anyways :)) and hoping for a great news!

BTW, this is sooo true about the whole design thing- what a joke.

Brooke said...

Sending good thoughts your way. I really hope it turns out to be nothing, but I can only imagine how torturous this wait must be!

Jen said...

I can relate to the waiting room misery. I found a lump when I was 28. Everyone was staring and saying I was too young for a mammogram. When I said "unless you find a lump" they got very quiet. Mine was nothing. I'm betting yours is, too.

Chessa! said...

I'm thinking about you. xoxo

Conversation Pieces said...

Hugest of hugs. Waiting for results is always horrible (and I hate doc tests like this). Even though you suspect everything will be fine, there's part of your brain that won't let it be. So huge hug again and try not to stress too much xx

ticklishfromadistance said...

Sucks every time. Breathe. Squeezing your hand from far away. xoxoxoxox g.

kys said...

We are the same age and my mom had breast cancer in her early 40's as well. I was supposed to start my mammograms a few years ago but kept putting it off till this year. Mine was ok but I understand the added aprehension when you have the family history, too. I hope everything is ok. I think that it's pretty common to go back if they couldn't get a good read the first time.

Kristin said...

I had a similar experience with an abnormal pap. It turned out to be a false alarm. My prayer is that it will be the same for you. Hang in there!

Renee said...

It is the mindfuck of mindfucks.

love Renee xoxo