Thursday, May 22, 2008

All Clear!

I had my mammogram and ultrasound this morning. Tom and I got up and ready early and I DID put on deodorant after my shower, which is apparently NOT what you're supposed to do. Aw well. (Note to anyone going to a mammogram before work, bring your deodorant with you so you can apply it after you're finished.)

We made it to the place right on time and didn't have to wait too long, probably 15 minutes or so. Then I had to go in alone. Poor Tom had to stay in the waiting room with a very busy 2 year old for almost an hour. But there was just no room in the dressing room where I spent most of my time. The ultrasound room would have accommodated them, but that was at the very end of the visit and so I didn't make a fuss about it.

What follows is my step by step experience. I figure it might come in handy if anyone is going in for one of these themselves.

They took me back to the dressing room that had two doors opposite each other with instructions to get nekkid from the waist up and put on this paper gown open to the front. Because I'd made the cardinal sin of Putting On Deodorant that morning, I was given a wet wipe to try to remove as much of it as possible. There was a chair in there, a huge full length mirror, and a magazine rack. I left my stuff on the chair and sat down to read a magazine. Oddly enough it had TONS of articles about cancer in it. Great fun reading.

I had come in through one door that led off of a hallway. The door opposite opened up into the mammogram room itself. After a few minutes of hearing someone else in there getting their squishings done they knocked to see if I was ready.

I went into the darkened mammo room and faced this machine. The nice lady (who seemed very young) said that I was old enough that they would be doing both breasts. (My paperwork had indicated they'd only be doing the left side where I felt the lump.) She said they'd be doing a lot more images than I'd get normally for two reasons, one was that I'd felt a lump, so they wanted to be really thorough. Two was because their large breast machine was broken, so they'd have to do my breasts in several sections. Great.

It actually wasn't as bad as I expected. It was a little weird to have someone else handling the girls, but after all not too strange after what I had to go thru with my pregnancy two years ago. First they put them on a flat table kind of thingy and squished them flat like a pancake, well actually not that flat. It really didn't hurt at all. The hard part was holding my breath so I'd stay still. Not easy to do as an asthmatic. I can hold my breath for a few seconds, but not long at all.

They did at least three shots of each breast this way, moving them around between shots to be sure to get the whole thing. Then they tilted the table and squished them more vertically. Not really all the way vertical, maybe at a 45 degree angle or so. That hurt a little because they had to squish them more to keep the boob from sliding right off the table since it was so tilted. Three shots of each breast for this position too.

That was it for the squishings though. Then I went back into the little dressing room to wait. I read more stuff, this time about Nancy Grace and her twins and about some women who lost lots of weight walking. Mostly I just skimmed and looked at photos though. And thought about getting a treadmill.

Then there was a knock on the first door that led to the hallway. They had the doctor to talk with me. At first I was nervous just because I would expect to be in a private room to hear the results, so maybe the results were so bad they couldn't wait for a room to open up. But no, he said everything looked perfectly clear and that we'd go do the ultrasound next. La. Well so far so good. I waited a while longer till they came to get me to go to the ultrasound room.

The ultrasound room was much bigger than the ones I'd been in at this place to check my ovaries. (Oh yes, did I mention I'd been to this same office several times before? I'd been in to have my ovaries checked here at least twice and to have all my joints x-rayed last fall when we were checking me for arthritis.) I was put up on the table and angled around. Then a LOT of ultrasound gel was gooped on me. We only were doing the left breast for this. Thankfully the gel was nice and warm at least. But she used a metric ton on me. I swear they used a lot more for this than they ever used for the ultrasounds when I was pregnant.

Lots of poking with the wand, then she went to get the doctor. He looked at the photos she took and compared them to the mammogram photos. Then he came in to watch her do the ultrasound live. I feel like they were very thorough and he said everything looked very clear and good. No cysts at all. I asked if a clogged duct would show on the ultrasound and he said it probably would.

So I was left to clean up with some of these paper towels and get dressed. Heck I used the whole darn gown in addition to the towels, that was a LOT of goop! Then when I came out they had a paper ready for me that stated I was all clear. The ultrasound tech was nice and said that with this clean starting point it was a good time to start doing those regular exams so I could be familiar with all the lumps and "gristle" in my own breasts and therefore be aware of any changes that might pop up later. I agree, and will be good about doing exams regularly! As funny as it sounds I actually liked her term "gristle" as the kind of stringy hard parts in there. I'm sure it has a much more scientific name, like fibrous bundles or something, but gristle is what it feels like to me too.

After that I was all done and went to collect Nicky and Tom. They'd been in the waiting room for an hour and were really ready to go. Tom was very relieved I think to hear it was all fine. He'd been saying he was sure it was nothing since the start of all this, but the confirmation of that I'm sure made him feel a lot better.

He tried talking me into taking off the whole day, but it was just about 9:30 and if I could just go straight to work I could work late to make up the time and not have to take sick time off. So we stopped at the store on the way home to buy me some lunch and deodorant. Tom stayed in the car while Nicky and I went into the store. We had a nice little run around in the store and I got some very nice Nicky-kisses from him. (He's getting to be a very good kisser, with a pucker and smack included!) I picked up a sandwich and the deodorant (I was running low at home anyway) and had them drop me off at work. I made it in by 10, so by having a working lunch and leaving at 6pm tonight I'll have made up the time missed this morning.

And with that, I've been declared ALL CLEAR!

What a relief.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Wondeful news! Good for you :)

Anonymous said...

WOO HOO! I am glad to hear it!

ANd OH yeah- I got laid off today... Fun!

Love you,

Angela said...

Oh crap Gayle! Call me or something!

Jennic said...

So relieved for you!

There's actually a machine that's dedicated to "large breasts"? Hehee. I'd be using the other one.

LindseyinWA said...

Hi Angela - Love the adorable picture.
Thanks for this post.

Since you are blogging about your mammogram I wanted to let you know about a new site that is helping to fund free mammograms for women who would not otherwise be able to afford one.

Here is the link:

Would you consider posting a link on your page for your family and friends? If you like I can also send you a "button" for the link.

Thanks, Lindsey