Two weeks ago I did my first Mammogram test. Yes, I’m not quite 40 and no one in my family has had Cancer before, but I checked with my insurance and it turned out that they do cover it even though it’s not required to take at my age.
* Always contact your insurance if you have a question as to if something is covered or not before doing a particular test or procedure. The scanning center said it wouldn’t be covered but when I called my insurance they informed me that it was.
Why did I want to get a Mammogram? To tell you the truth…it was out of fear. I’m an anxiety rattled person to begin with, but I have online friends that are going through or have gone through a variety of Cancers. I’m close enough to the recommended age, that I figured…why not? Let’s get these boobies checked and see if they are okay.
The initial scan is called a baseline test. This is important because every test after will be compared to the initial one to help the Dr identify any changes (which can be subtle).
* The official recommendation is to get a Mammogram yearly starting at age 40. Women who are considered high risk should get scans starting at age 30.
I walked into the room not knowing what to expect. I’ve never seen a video or a picture of what a Mammogram test entails. Because everyone talks about how it’s painful, I envisioned an antique torture device that is going to make my boob into a pancake. They put your boob on a platform and slowly lower a horizontal clear platform on top of your boob. My nurse lowered it slowly and really there was no pain at all. Although I was quite surprised at how high they had the entire machine.I felt like I was supposed to be on my tip toes. There is one position where you hold a bar and sort of reach over to get your side. That was awkward and a little uncomfortable when she pressed. But nothing hugely painful and I’m a wuss when it comes to this stuff.
The nurse warned me before we started that typically with first screenings you will get a call back for another scan. She also warned me that I will be freaking out internally but to try not to because it’s pretty normal.
Of course I got that call.
And I freaked.
I freaked out for two weeks (the earliest they could get me in), while I waited for the retest. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep and basically got myself sick until the scan. The nurse starts with taking the same scans as before. Maybe they squeezed a little bit more. The reason…”you have dense breasts”.
* If you have dense breasts it makes it more difficult for the images from a mammogram machine to come out clear. That is why a repeat scan or breast ultrasound is recommended at that point.
The nurse came back and confirmed they wanted to do a breast ultrasound. I’m still freaking out internally because this means they are trying to get a better look at something they might think needs to be checked out. The Ultrasound tech moves around my breast and every once in awhile does a click on the computer. I remember my OB/GYN doing that same click for measurements when I was pregnant. But I am unable to see what the technician is doing. Unfortunately no one says anything at this point. Which only adds to my anxiety. The technician leaves the room to talk to the Radiologist on staff. He then comes in for like a total of 6 minutes to tell me that everything is clear. Of course I had questions, but he didn’t seem to want to be bothered to answer them. I left the office relieved but also frustrated that he was in such a rush to move on to the next patient. All he could say is that everything looks great, I have dense breasts which make it hard to see and that I should get a yearly exam at this point.
I do have to admit there was a relief to hearing the Dr say everything is okay. I will get my report in the mail and I plan on asking my OB more questions as to what they thought they saw, or if there is something we’ll be watching going forward etc.