Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Take Care of Yourself

Remember when I said ugly tile isn't even a blip on the radar of things that can happen in your life? I thought I had a blip in my life recently. Like a good little girl I went in for my yearly checkup (only 3 months late) which included going in for a mammogram on a Wednesday. The following Monday (last Monday) the nurse from the doctor's office called to tell me I needed to go back for another one. Apparently my girls make up for their small size by being made up of dense tissue and sometimes it makes it hard to read the x-ray. So...back I went the next day for a "left special view mammogram" and didn't really think much more about it until two days later when I brought in the mail after work and had a postal slip telling me I had a certified letter from outpatient radiology I'd need to pick up the next day from the post office. Dean said, "it's all the privacy stuff now. They just had to send the results that way." But I knew there was no way a certified letter from radiology could be good news. And I had to wait until the next day to even read it.

Even though the nurse had told me the first mammogram just needed to be repeated to get a better view (I had no lumps, no family history and no reason to suspect any problems) it was amazing to me how quickly just the remote possibility that there could be a problem scared the bejeezus out of me. My brain tried to tell me everything would be fine but I couldn't get my brain to override the fear I was feeling. I'm telling myself it's nothing, don't worry til I have something to worry about, but my hands are shaking, my stomach clenches and my arms and hands feel like ice. My thoughts were all over the place. Here's a small sample:

Dang! This'll give me some blog fodder.
Hey, what about that on-line health test I took? I'm supposed to live to be 102!
I need to see Emerson get married.
I'll have them cut it off. It's small. I won't miss it.
"Lost" is starting and has 3 years left. I need to see it all.
What about the last Diana Gabaldon book? How will I know what happens to Jamie & Claire?
Man, I better show Dean where everything in the filing cabinet is and tell him how to clean the cat litter box.
I'll be in the same group with Elizabeth Edwards, Sheryl Crow and Olivia Newton John.
This is ridiculous.
Not fair.
I'm healthy. I'm not overweight. I don't smoke. I exercise.
I'm being stupid.
Quit worrying.

You get the idea. Finally Friday morning Dean picked up the certified letter for me and I was so freaked out by then I couldn't read it closely. When I called the radiology dept. they explained to me that the letter said basically what the nurse had told me. I needed to come back for a special view mammogram which I'd already done and my doctor should have the results already. I then called the doctor to get my test results but nobody called me back. I called again Tuesday and nobody called me back. I finally heard this yesterday morning that everything is fine. Phew!

Yes, I am the queen of worry and maybe I over-reacted but all the worry convinced me I was being completely stupid by not doing my own monthly breast exam. So I've turned over a new leaf and will now make that part of my life as well as eating more fruits and vegetables. I found a good site with a diagram of breast self-exam and I'm adding the link here. To all my women friends and family----if you've been like me and figured once/year at the doctor was good enough please read the info. and make a monthly self breast exam part of your life. Any guys who may read this---ask your wives and girlfriends to do the same.


Trinity said...

I am glad I am telling you this after you know you are ok, but Grandma Thompson did have breast cancer....

Cathy said...

I thought of that but everything I read on the web seemed more concerned if your mother or sisters had it so I told myself not to count hers as a risk...not that it helped a heck of a lot.