MidLife and Mammograms

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The Twins are Pissed But They Got Lovely Parting Gifts

by Ritz of Time For Ritz


About two months ago, while showering I found a lump on my left breast. I ran my fingers across it as I was taught to do. Yes, it is there, it’s not my imagination. I also found another smaller one on the same one. Then, I did the other breast. Okay, there’s definitely something there, because the right one is lump-free. I’m quietly freaking out in the shower trying to calm myself down by telling myself that I’ve always felt something. In my 20’s every month I was convinced I had breast cancer. I felt all kinds of lumps. My doctor told me I had fibrocystic disease. Basically, I’m lumpy. So at some point in my 30’s I stopped going to see my gyne. I know, I know, I’m stupid. I’ve scoured the internet to make sure that I did the self breast exam properly. Everywhere I looked, I read the same thing…. From the Mayo clinic on women’s health:

“The best time to perform a breast self-exam is about a week after the start of your period. That’s when your breasts are least likely to be tender or swollen. Your breast tissue undergoes changes each month during your menstrual cycle. Changes in hormone levels associated with menstruation cause your breasts to swell. Once your period starts, the swelling subsides and your breasts return to normal.”

So what happens when Mable stops her monthly visit? Or in my case, comes whenever she feels like, stays as long as she feels like and brings more chaos? When is the right time? Does it make a difference when I do it? Does this mean that since I missed yet another period, the timing for self breast examination is up for grabs?

Last month I made an appointment with a new gyne. Why? Because it had been so long since I’ve gone, that my old gyne died. New gyne is great, she has wrinkles around her eyes and mouth. She is around my age. She understands everything I’m complaining about, not because she learned this from some medical book but because she is going through the same shit. Yea….I can bitch and complain and she’ll get it!!!

She asked me when I had my last period. Mabel? Oh that bitch hasn’t come to visit since I think December, or was that November? Hmmm, somewhere around there. But then last month I don’t think it was really her, it might have been have evil sister Bertha. The one who drops in for a day, is a lightweight and just makes enough of a mess. I’m sure all of you have met her at one time or another. She tells me I have to count her too. I’m told to diligently keep track of my period. Really? I haven’t done that since I decided to do my part and stop contributing to the world population by having a tubal ligation. In order to be menopausal, Mabel and Bertha stop coming around completely for a full year. Time to start tracking again. I’m perimenopausal… a prelude to the big M. So everything I’m feeling can get worse?? Greaaaaaaaaat.

Yesterday, I had my mammogram. The technician was sweet and helpful. She showed me how the new machine is now digital. Well that’s cool but does it still squish the boob? That’s all I cared about. Yes, it still does. I wasn’t too pleased that after I was contorted into an uncomfortable position (and humiliated when she had to push my belly fat out of the way) I had to go through a redo, because I didn’t relax and muscle obscured the image. Relax??? Are you *&($#@# kidding me?

Well, I got through it. I will get my results next week. Unlike my husband, I’m not too worried. I had my freak out, now I’ll deal with whatever comes my way. My advise now is to follow the rules. Have a yearly checkup, mammogram and pap smear. Early detection is crucial.

The highlight for me? They now give you pasties. Well, the technician called them something else and what they were for. Please……whatever, they are pasties in my book. I couldn’t wait to get home and flash my husband. Yes, of course I left them on. And of course I had to take a picture. Okay, maybe not of me actually wearing them, (cause besides my husband, who would really wants to see natural 49 year old boobs that breastfed three times?) but close enough.

  • http://timeforritz.blogspot.com/ Ritz

    I forgot to let everyone know…..

    The test results are in…

    Normal

    I’ll never neglect myself again.

  • http://timeforritz.blogspot.com/ Ritz

    Duchess,

    I had to laugh at your confusion. One tends to forget that our slang doesn’t always make sense to others. We also take for granted what we have available to us. My problem was neglect not because I didn’t have a doctor available to me. It is also the reason I ended up with a heart attack at 46. I have had excellent care once I looked for it. It scares me to think what would have happened if I didn’t.

    I believe that healthcare should be available to all. It’s a shame that in this day and age that it isn’t.

  • http://www.duchessomnium.com Duchess

    Oh, I was really confused by this post.

    I thought they gave you a Cornish Pastry when you were all done… because that is what a pasty is in the UK.

    I get really mad whenever I read this stuff from the US. I don’t have a gyne to fire. I don’t get an annual pap smear or mammogram.

    In fact, I haven’t seen any doctor for four or five years (I cannot remember exactly). And that one was a locum (meaning a stand in, because my doctor was unavailable). I don’t think I have seen my (real) doctor for at least 7 years.

    Since I have seen my, or any doctor, I have had menopause.

    Just take that in. No doctor.

  • http://timeforritz.blogspot.com/ Ritz

    Sad but true.

  • Susan

    BERTHA counts TOO?? towards the one year??

    dammit dammit dammit!

    Even when you’re 55???

    DAMMIT!!!

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