I’m seriously beginning to wonder if a portion of my life isn’t a version of The Truman Show. I keep looking around for cameras or repeating background scenes. If it appears my life/blog has become one endless conversation on health, testing, etc…well…it’s because it seemingly has. You would think if I was some reality based television show that I would at least see an increase in the checking account….right? I mean…if I am going to be the newest red pin cushion for the world to watch….show me the money!
It seems with all the attention that my lungs have been receiving lately, that “my girls” have become jealous and have decided that they want countless pictures made of them as well. Attention “girls”, this chick is annoyed. Sure, some of their activity is out of their control…dense girls…no, not that type of dense! (Although, I am beginning to think it might fit.) A little known factoid regarding a high breast density-Women with dense breasts have been shown to have a four- to six-fold increased risk of developing breast cancer; only age and BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations increase risk more. (Yes, you read that correctly…a higher risk factor than a first degree relative!) I’m dense. Again, not that type of dense. My son may well disagree with that statement, but I’m clinging to my “not that type of dense” statement!
So, back to the girls. I was very fortunate to be part of a breast clinic in Northwest Arkansas that took breast density seriously and made sure those “dense girls” were treated accordingly. I had regular mammograms, a yearly Automated All Breast Ultrasound (ABUS)-they used Sono-Cine, and I kept those follow-up appointments without fail. For a couple of years, the girls were active. It was as if they wanted to see just how many “what’s that” they could toss out in screenings. Four biopsies over the course of six years..fun times. They settled down, grew stable and I was a mere three months from graduating from my “see you in six months” routine when we moved to Chicagoland! Maybe it was the bitter cold that made them angry…maybe it was all the attention the lungs beside them were getting….maybe it was just their narcissistic personality of wanting attention…whatever their excuse, the girls are awake and having a party.
July I had my 3D mammogram in Chicagoland. 3D mammogram? Are you asking what in the world? Breast tomosynthesis is the fancy word for it. A little factoid regarding 3D mammograms-Researchers found that 3D mammography, used along with standard digital mammograms, bumped up breast cancer detection rates by more than 40 percent. (From WebMD) Given my girls and their “dense” nature, this is my preferred mammogram method. Still not perfect for their high maintenance attitude, but it’s a start. Normally, I would have that and then the yearly schedule of my all-breast….but until this week, I had struggled to find a local provider. Back to the girls and their drama.
Increased calcifications. Yep. The girls were awake. No mention of anything else on the report. BIRAD 4. Well, isn’t that nice. If you know anything about breast and biopsies, you know calcification biopsy is the least enjoyable of them all. Not that any of them are enjoyable, but just put this in your head….biopsy gun for core samples while your girls are being smashed like a hot potato! (I am looking around for the camera right now.) True story-I laughed when Dr. Radiology came in to “break the news.” I mean, at some point, doesn’t all of the testing and such just become a comedy? I think I replied something along the lines of, “Of course you saw something.” Biopsy day came, a little Ativan to settle the nerves, smash/smoosh/squish…..passed out Kimmie coming to as the doctor and nurses are hovering over her with comments such as, “her pulse is stronger.” Yep..stereo ain’t for the weak. 50/50 odds…give us two-three business days. Thankful for a B9 report with some things to watch….but I can do that…it’s B9. Take that girls! See the machines in six months…..now, if you know me, you know that nothing is every that simple with me….I should have just brought snacks and a cot…..
Ok…so we remember…that’s ALL the fancy 3D mammogram showed…right? Fast forward to that visit to Mayo. Well, wouldn’t ya know it….the left girl got jealous of the right girl and decided to get all sparkly during the contrast phase. Seriously???? You played hide and seek three weeks prior during the mammo and you decide to show up to the party a tad late and excite all the medical folks? Drama queen! So, back to the girl clinic this week…..ultrasound…oh yep…there it is….oh wait…what’s this? (Insert my rolling of eyes…) Tech puts that obligatory hand on my shoulder as she tells me she will be back with the Doctor. In walks the Doc and a solemn faced tech. (Ok..I get it…women freak out about these things…but have you seen my file? I’m five biopsies in….you would have to come in with tears and the chaplain to really create a response here.) So….blah blah…biopsy..blah blah…schedule..blah blah….ok. Soon thereafter, the call from the Breast Surgeon office comes and I’m being passed off….the girls have made everyone nervous and it’s time for the big-guns to handle it from this point. Next day? Five PM? Drama. The girls have me so annoyed at this point. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful and thankful we have medical care now that saves lives…and I’m thankful for the proactive approach…but I can be annoyed.
Dense breasts……I’ve been told they will calm down as I enter the 50’s…but they don’t know these girls. They have a serious Napoleon complex (yes, they are size challenged). Like a star pupil, the girls and me (or is it “I” or “myself”??? PS-don’t answer.), well, we kept that next doctor appointment and we are still scheduled for what should be a very fun morning next week…..see…everyone is so excited now, that well, it’s two spots (one of which has been there, but “since we are in the area, let’s go ahead and take some of it too) plus two cysts aspirations. Is this where I need to start searching for a negative cup size sling for the girls?
So, back to the whole Truman show idea….is this where I look into the sky and talk to the people in the control room? Somewhere far away, are two ladies with one-hundred cats sitting and telling all their friends over bridge about this gal in Chicagoland that is becoming one of the better claimants for BCBS? Wait…I think I would be a bad claimant if I am actually filing claims..right? Anyways….to my girls…party is over….after next week, y’all are in time-out until, well, the end of time.
Now for a bit of seriousness….ladies….next time you have that mammo-ask for your density. I suppose I first need to say-get those mammograms! If you do have dense breasts, request a yearly ultrasound screening or MRI. It could save your life! Our girls tend to be drama queens…and like that friend who kept your drama queen friend in check in junior high..it’s our job to keep them in line…well…at least try. Not one time have any of my solid issues been visible on mammogram. Only calcifications…and even then, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. Know thy density!
Now off to dream for biopsy #6 and #7…fun times….smile for the camera! Or wand…whichever it is this time!