Saturday, September 13, 2008

Not the Doctor, again!

Wednesday I had my first unilateral mammogram! There isn't anything really new here, except that at Maimonides Breast Center they use the new digital imaging mammogram which is supposed to be better somehow. It's still stand, squeeze, ouch, hold your breath, and, hurry up and wait. No getting around that. But the "good" news is that now that I have plastic on the right side, I only have to have a mammogram on the left side. When I asked, "Well, what test do we use to see if cancer returns to the right?"--the technician looked at me with a blank stare and said "Oh we don't do anything."; like duh, it can't return. Not. Well, god willing and the creek don't rise, not. And, I do have faith, but I almost always like to err on the side of caution....

On further conversation, it looks like an MRI will be unavoidable for me in my future. Maybe you like having them, for me, it is the most humiliating of experiences. Naked, on my stomach, my breasts hanging through some kind of template, with my arms over my head, resting on a pad, so that I look like superwoman flying through the air, my face looking at the floor, my body shoved in a cylinder, in a cold room with a loud machine, again having to be very still for what seems like forever while strangers who won't remember my face, let alone my name, chew gum and take pictures! The MRI biopsy was the least fun....but I digress...and really in the scheme of life there are worse things..........

I was only at Maimonides Breast Center for about two and a half hours the other day-and that is very good. Arriving at 9:10 (I am always early it seems) for a 9:30 appointment, I was ushered into the radiology changing room at 10 am. This is one of the ways they make you feel like you are being serviced-move you from room to room! The good part of this, though, is that I got to meet some other women who have had breast cancer and it is interesting listening to their experiences. And then there are the women there for their routine mammograms and I want to assure them that everything will be fine and they are in good hands. There is much anxiety and fear flying in the room, so a little humor goes a long way............

Anyway, after having the mammogram and not finding anything in my very fibrocystic breast, the diagnostic-radiology doctor, Dr. Ilona H. Hertz, decided that being a "high" risk person, I should have a sonogram too. And, so I did--two of them. Why? Because they couldn't find one of the small nodes at the 3:00 position that was in last years sonogram. Well, could it be the chemotherapy that shrunk it? If it did, it probably was cancer, right? And if the node is still there hiding among the fibers, the technician couldn't find it. Well, this is the problem with women who have fibrous breasts. And there are new tests that could be used. But, the doctor tells me tests are just that-tests. They are only tools and tools do not always predict the future. But, apparently she can, and she assures me that she has only ever lost one patient to cancer in the 30 some years she has been doing this.............

Very assuring, indeed..............