In a rush to find out if I have breast cancer or not.

After my Mammogram/ultra sound/biopsy visit I was told my results would be sent to the doctor in 3 to 5 days. So I made my doctors appointment for the following week. I sat there waiting for an hour and a half before they told me the test results were not back yet and I would need to come back. Great!!!

The assistant then scheduled me for the following Thursday at 9am. I am not good at waiting. The week past and I went in for my appointment and found the place void of patience in the waiting area. This was very unusual for the family clinic and when I went up to the counter to sign in they explained that there are no appointments today until 1pm because all the doctors are in a meeting this morning. Nice!! No one told me or called to change my appointment. I talked to the on duty nurse and explained I just want to find out the results of my biopsy. I would like to know whether I have cancer or not. She then fit me in for an appointment for yesterday Monday the 23 of July.

If you are under any kind of stress on a normal basis these appointment issues can really make you crazy. I know this didn’t happen to just me. There are probably thousands of people dealing with this type of thing everyday.

There is definitely something wrong with our medical field of service in this country. Everything is hurry up and Wait, Wait, Wait…

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My Mammogram and Ultrasound Experience

Well, today was the day and I can tell you I did not sleep well last night. I tossed and turned and woke up many times. I got ready and was off to my appointment to either put an end to this possible threat to my life or to start a fight with something I can not see.

I got there and filled out the usual repetitious paperwork and waited. Once called back I had to put on the clothe top that opens in the front. I have had mammograms before and it is usually 2 or 3 slides on each breast. Well this was different because I had 5 slides for each breast. It is an intense experience and very uncomfortable. Once there are examined by the tech I was then called in for the Ultrasound. This procedure is very painless and the woman doing it was new but the licensed technician was there guiding her. They started with my left breast, I knew they were finding things as they were scanning the wand and then entering in data, I overheard her say CM which I believe is for Cyst Mass. She then did the same procedure on my right breast. A moment later the licensed tech took the wand and examined my left breast making additional notes and using more pressure to get deeper, closer to my ribs. I knew there was something there. After they were finished they had me wait there while the results were being examined. Moments later a Doctor comes in and explains to me that they found a tiny nodual inside one of my milk ducts and they want to biopsy it. She wanted to do it today at 10:30am, I told her I had to be to work at 11am and could not unless I could leave here by 10:30am. She made some adjustments to their schedule and fit me in. So the next thing I know I am signing papers to authorize the biopsy.

They took me to another room where I then received another ultrasound concentrating on the area where the biopsy was going to be done. I was then told what they were about to do. She asked me if I was told about the chip. I said “chip?” no. I asked if I could see one and they got one and showed me. It is a very tiny triangle. The doctor came in and she started the process. Cleaning the area, putting some of the gel into a rubber tube to then put onto the ultrasound wand. The tech turned the monitor toward the doctor which I could see. I watched the entire thing on the monitor. The injection of Lido-cane to numb the area. Then the needle was injected to get the sample. Well after the biopsy was taken they insert a titanium chip. Which is used to locate the area for future observation or for removal.  This process took only 15 minutes to complete. I then was bandaged up and given my ice pack to help reduce the swelling. I was impressed with their efficiency and speed. They got me out of there at 10:35am. Not to bad and it saved me about 3 weeks of additional waiting time if I were to make an later appointment for the biopsy. It will take 3 to 4 days to get the results to my doctor. So I will keep you posted on this next step.

One thing the Doctor did say, was that when she took a sample of the area and it got smaller that usually signifies it is a benign cyst. I will feel better once I get confirmation from the test results when I see the doctor.

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Still waiting for my mammogram appointment

Well, today is Thursday and I am still waiting for my appointment for the mammogram and the ultrasound. The appointment is Tuesday July 3rd 2012 and that will make it 3 weeks from the time I called them and set this appointment. I have called them almost everyday at different times of the day hoping I could get in sooner. This has not happened yet, but I will keep trying. It is frustrating when they say “call us back to see if there are any cancellations to get you in earlier.” and then be told no every day you call.

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My Experience at the Family Clinic

On June 12th 2012 at 8:30am I entered my local Family clinic for the first time. I have gone to an urgent care one time over the past 6 years and that was for an ear infection in 2011.

So I can say I was uncomfortable. I checked in and was given my stack of pages to fill out my life history. I was pretty uneasy when I got to the documents pertaining to cancer and cancer history. This was a first for me to fill these out and I can tell you I didn’t like it. Once I finished and handed back my paperwork I waited and knitted and waited and knitted. I was then called up to the counter and was then handed a card which said Cancer Detection Programs: Every Woman Counts. The assistant explained this was a program that pays for my testing. OMG what a relief… I was then called back and had my blood pressure taken which was 133/77. This is very high for me because during my entire life my blood pressure has always been 100/60. I was then asked to disrobe from the waste up and put on this horrible paper robe moments later the doctor came in for the exam. She was very friendly asked me the standard questions and started the breast exam.

She located the lump I had mentioned and proceeded to find a couple of smaller ones in my right breast. Which she commented on and then moved to the left breast and found several more small ones. This was a huge shock and frightened me quit a bit, because now I don’t have just one lump, which is a big deal, I have many. Now I am told I need to relax, this is easier said then done. She tells me to take up yoga, go to the park and remove caffeine from my diet. I get dressed and I’m told to wait in the rest area for some papers to schedule the mammogram and ultrasound and to come back in two weeks for a follow up. The paper I was given had a section that bothered me. It is the one with the drawings of the breasts. Which states to mark locations of Palpable Concern must be noted on referral. And then there are all of her marks and circles showing locations of each. Well the soonest I can get in for the testing the better. What! the soonest is July 3rd 2012. That is a three week wait. So now I call them every business day to see if they have a cancellation.

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What next?

Of course the next day I contact our local family clinic in town.

 I am one of many American citizens who are without medical insurance. I also was unemployed and had my federal extension terminated on May 12th 2012, along with approximately 500,000 other California residents. So great, here I am with a health issue and no money and no insurance. What am I suppose to do? This will be expensive and add to my stress. Well I can’t ignore it and hope it will go away. That is foolish and could make things worse in the long run. So I schedule my appointment for the soonest available time which was the following Tuesday June 12th 2012. No fast results here, just hurry and wait.

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So the fear begins

On June 4th 2012, I was lying on my bed late in the evening watching tv. When I noticed a lump on my right breast. Now keep in mind that this to me felt very large. It seemed to be the diameter of the size of a nickel, but was probably more like the size of a garbanzo bean. Which still feels large to a woman who believes she will never get such a thing as breast cancer. Because I did all the right things in my life. Only used oral contraceptives for a couple of years, breast fed my children and used homeopathic medicines whenever possible. I limited the use of prescription drugs to a very few, since the side effects in many cases were worse then the health ailment the medication was treating.

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