Experiencing Anxiety When You Need a Follow-up Mammogram
I'm very good about scheduling regular physicals, gynecological exams, and mammograms. I've gone through issues with my pap smear, which I've written about elsewhere.
I've always had this mass in one of my breast that hasn't changed in over 20 years. This year I get the call that there was a change and I need to come back for a diagnostic exam. I was told that the exam could take a couple of hours depending on whether a biopsy, ultrasound, or MRI is needed.
The nurse also said that since this is diagnostic, it will not be billed as routine and my insurance company may process it differently. As I mentioned before, I've always had this mass but I've never gotten this call or had to go in for further testing. When I called to make the appointment, the next appointment at my facility was an entire two weeks away. Two weeks!
Waiting, Waiting and More Waiting
Waiting two weeks to find out what's wrong with you is a lifetime! I am so grateful that I have faith in God. Praying and repeating God's promises helped me tremendously. Of course, I had my bouts of OMG-I don't want to go through chemo and lose my hair--what if I have to have my breast removed?
But my thought process would always go back the goodness of God. I kept speaking His promises. He said He would never leave me or forsake me. He said His desire was for me to prosper and be in good health. No matter what the diagnosis, God is with me. I kept confessing healing and good health. The Bible says the power of life and death is in the tongue.Two weeks finally passed by and the day arrived.
When I arrived back to the hospital, several more views were taken of my right breast. It hurt. I hated it. This time they actually put the pictures up on the X-ray viewing board and I could see for myself the little spots. I prayed. I was told to take a seat back in the waiting room while a radiologist viewed them and determined if something else needs to be done.
I only waiting about 15 minutes and my name was called. The nurse took me to the doctor's office. She told me it was good news but the doctor needed to tell me himself. When she left me in the office waiting, I thanked and praised God.
Basically, I have calcium deposits formed in my breast. He said it was pretty common and probably benign. However, they want to watch it and I must come back in 6 months for another mammogram.
These types of deposits are called microcalcifications. They appear in clusters and I saw them myself. The "probably benign" diagnosis has a less than 2% risk of being cancer. They have to be monitored, thus I have to return in six months.
A Sigh of Relief and a Thanksgiving of Praise
With the holidays upon us, my heart goes out to all the women whose diagnosis was not as good as mine... whose diagnois was "suspicious" or definitely cancer. I can't imagine how I would feel as I type this Hub if that was my diagnosis. Somehow I would have to dig deeper into my faith and cry out to God.
I will truly be thankful this Thanksgiving and Christmas. One thing I will do is to pray continuosly for those whose holidays will take a turn for the worse with the news. My prayer is that in the midst of whatever they are going through, they will still find something to be thankful for, to trust God no matter what and be at peace.
The Six-Month Follow-Up Diagnostic Exam- May, 2013
Six months had passed since my initial diagnostic exam. My health care provider was very adamant about my coming back for the six-month follow up. Not only did they leave messages on my phone, they called my gynecologist and alerted the staff to contact me to get back in there.
The six-month follow-up was needed to ensure there were no changes since the last exam and that the diagnosis remained Probable Benign. I returned to the exam site and went through the squeezing, pulling, and tugging pains. This exam was only for the one breast that was questionable last time.
After the pictures, I was directed back to the lobby while the technician showed my pictures to the Radiologist to determine if further screening was needed. I literally sat for 3-5 minutes before I was called into the radiologist office. I'm thinking to myself, this is either really good or really bad.
Praise God! There were no changes and I'm clear for another six months, when they will examine both breasts again. Another relief blessing was given to me and I am truly thankful.
The Second Six-Month Follow-Up Exam- November, 2013
Today I had my second six-month diagnostic follow-up exam. Today the place was packed and the wait times were longer. The tugging and pulling was brutal for some reason. This view, that view, point your feet here, raise your head, hold on here, don't breathe, stand still . . . blah, blah, blah. I hate it!
The end result was outstanding... no changes. And what is even better, I'm good for a year. Hallelua!
As I left, my mind was on one woman I met in the waiting room. She normally has exams every six months. This time they called her back for more views. She had to wait a week until today to come in for the additional views. She was clearly nervous as we waited for our results. She couldn't keep still. She was called in before I was and was told they had to perform an ultrasound immediately. I got my results before she came back. I said a prayer for her as I left. I ask you to pray for her as well.