First off I will admit that I have not been good about scheduling my yearly mammograms. In fact, I have only had one done at the age of 48, well two now. I did not regularly check my breasts via self examination. Life gets busy and I just didn’t do it. On May 11, 2022 I decided to check my breasts and as I grabbed my left one I found a lump. I ran to my husband in the living room asking him to feel and make sure I was not imagining things. He felt it too. I immediately regretted not doing my regular exams and mammograms. I mean, how long had it been there?
I had finally scheduled my screening mammogram but when I arrived and they found out I had a lump I was not able to do the study. I luckily had gotten a doctor appointment for the same day my mammogram was scheduled. I saw the nurse practitioner at my doctor’s office. You cannot feel the lump by doing the light checking that they usually do in the office. You had to press into my skin to feel it. She did feel it at the 9 o’clock part of my left breast. She said she thought it was just fibrocystic breasts maybe and was not really concerned but she ordered a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound.
Having anxiety like I do my time waiting for the screening and then waiting again until my diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound seemed to go by so slow. I researched all about breast cancer. My great aunt and my cousin both had breast cancer so that was an added concern. I often felt my breast thinking that I might feel and it would be gone. I was not in the best of shape during this time. I only told a select few people. I just did not want to worry everyone and decided to keep it private. I finally shared my journey on my Facebook and TikTok so that maybe others would do their self exams and get their mammograms. If I helped one person schedule that appointment or do that exam it was all worth it.
On June 4 we attended the Kenny Chesney concert in Arlington, Texas that we had tickets for since the pandemic hit in 2020. This was a nice way to keep my mind off of that mammogram and ultrasound the following Monday on June 6. I spent that day trying my best to live in the moment and not worry about the lump or anything else that was on my mind. Kenny is my favorite and the concert definitely took me to that place. Thoughts of my lump still crept in here and there because that is just how my anxiety works but overall I was living life big! I sang every single song and danced when I wanted.
On June 6, 2022 I headed out to get my mammogram and ultrasound. I was nervous but ready to find out what was going on. My husband had to work so I had to go it alone. I had already filled out my paperwork the first time I had went so I just had to pay a down payment on the $400+ mammogram. They said they would not do the ultrasound unless they saw concerns so I did not have to pay for it yet.
I went back and put on my paper gown taking off everything up top. I locked my purse and clothes in the little lockers they had. They had a key attached to a band to keep your locker key. They had a really nice room for us to wait in until we were taken back for the study. It was a really nice facility. The technologist took me back there and I snuck a picture of the machine, which I later found out I was not suppose to do. She felt the area but again just lightly because she wanted to put a sticker in that area. I had to show her where it was because she did not want to press it. She took two views of each breast.
I was then taken back to where the doctor was sitting to read the study. He showed me the area that had the sticker where I had indicated the lump and said it was adipose tissue only because he did not see anything. You could see a faint dot there but you could not see a lump. He told me there was no need to do an ultrasound since nothing was found on the mammogram. I was relieved but still concerned. That just did not sound right to me. I obviously did not want it to be cancer or anything bad but I just felt like my gut was telling me that I needed further testing.
As the days have gone by I have researched some more and heard from others and I am very disappointed they did not do the ultrasound. I have yet to find any information online about adipose tissue in the breast. Fatty tissue is what I found the most. I also have felt that area on my left breast so much it is bruised from me pressing it. I wanted to be sure I was not imagining things because that is sometimes what my anxiety tells me. My great aunt’s cancer was not found on the mammogram. She had a biopsy six months later that showed it. Someone from my Facebook friends list said that the facility where she works always does both studies if there is a lump. I have read that only 85% of lumps show up on the diagnostic mammograms. To say that I am still concerned is quite the understatement.
I am now still worried and exploring my options on getting a second opinion and/or ultrasound at least. I have written to a breast cancer organization in my area as well as a nationwide one to get some advice on some things. I do not want to be walking around with this foreign object in my breast that I feel has still not been adequately studied.
I will end this with saying to everyone…DO YOUR SELF EXAMS AND SCHEDULE YOUR MAMMOGRAMS! Early detection is key with breast cancer. To anyone reading this and going through a similar situation I send you my prayers and thoughts. I have been there and still feel like I am and it is not a good place to be. Hopefully, in the future I can report that I had the further study and all was well.
Here is my TikTok post about this!