PLEASE SHARE THIS POST. Knowledge is critical.
My diagnosis story is very uncharacteristic of what most expect. I've shared this with some of you, but feel compelled to share it with all, and hope you, also, will share it. My story could have gone differently had I known more.
In April of this year, I began to find my right "girl" was seeming larger than the left one. Out of nowhere. It also seemed "thicker" and denser/heavier. So I went in to have it looked at. I was told that it seemed "circulatory" and since she thought it was normal after stimulating, all felt fine to her. She recommended I go in for my routine mammogram since it'd been 1.5 years and I was opting to go with the every 2 years recommendation. So I did. She made a point to recommend to me to NOT mention any concerns I had as she didn't have any and she didn't want me to be billed for a "diagnostic mammo" over a "routine mammo". She was trying to save us money, and she legitimately had no concerns, I understood and was happy to go that route since I didn't want there to be any concerns.
At my "routine mammo" April 28, I was offered an option to upgrade my test for $40 for a 3D option. Because there was a lingering doubt, I went with it. Sadly, nothing showed up. I have fibrous breasts that don't image well I'm told, which basically means that it's more difficult to see concerns for me.
When June came and not much had changed, I began wondering about a 2nd opinion. Then I read this article on facebook,
and I knew, I had to go in for a 2nd opinion right away, a couple of those items were present in me, enlarged size, thick, dense and orange peel appearance. Tom agreed.
The PA who saw me July 5 told me she was concerned and that she was ordering a "diagnostic mammo" (which is a mammo on zoom essentially), an ultrasound and, if indicated, a biopsy. That occurred two weeks later on July 19. It was determined a mass was directly behind my nipple (sorry for graphic-ness, but again, knowledge is power) I never did feel it and was encouraged to "leave it alone" which I have done to this day. A biopsy was ordered and done in less than a week, Monday, July 25. July 26th, we were told the results were positive for malignancy in both the lymph node and the mass. And thus began our Breast Cancer.
I harbor no ill feelings toward my initial provider, I do believe she did the best she could for me at that moment, I didn't feel rushed through, I felt she cared, and really thought she was thorough. I do wish, however, I'd been given more instruction than I was, things to keep on the lookout for, when to return if things didn't improve after I'd switched out my bras (she recommended no underwire). This article would have been a great take away.
The ENTIRE point of this post is to say that we have to be educated about what to look for in our bodies, more than a lump. The list on the Good Housekeeping article had many things to look for, thankfully I saw it. Again, please share with others. Ignorance isn't bliss, knowledge saves lives.