A woman’s chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer is about 1 in 233 when she’s in her 30s and rises to 1 in 8 by the time she’s reached 85. (source: health.com) Isn’t that insane?? I know there are tons of conflicting ideologies about getting mammograms and whether it’s a good idea or not, but on my 45th birthday, I decided to go for it, and scheduled my free annual mammogram. I’ve pretty much been living my life on a holistic method for the past 5-7 years, and most of it due to actually not being able to afford medical insurance. I had that thought that if I couldn’t AFFORD medical insurance, then it must be a scam, and I could do a preventive method of living a clean, active lifestyle with nutritionally dense choices and eliminate all of those medical necessities anyway, because, Food Is Medicine, right?
This post is in no way meant to advise you on what you should do with your health, I am merely sharing my experience and the findings when I underwent my first mammogram.
I recently was able to get medical insurance through Covered California – President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and women’s health screenings are at no (additional) costs annually. I made my appointment, did the mammogram, and was on my way out. Halfway home, I received a phone call to come back and undergo an ultrasound because there was some shadowing on my left breast. I returned, freaking out, and did the ultrasound. A week later, I was called back in and did what is called a thermograph, and confirmed that I have a mass in my left breast. I was given a couple of options from the radiologist – one was a needle biopsy, to test the mass. The other was a 6 month ‘wait-it-out’ and watch it.
To be completely honest, I really did not know what to do, so I reached out to a friend who is a breast cancer survivor and asked her opinion. She suggested I consider not doing the needle biopsy, and to get a 2nd and 3rd opinion. I went back to my imaging center, and requested a 2nd opinion and testing and it was scheduled for later on that week. All of my tests and imaging came back confirming what the initial results were. This radiologist, however, took the time to ask me some questions, such as “do you feel pain?’ to which I answered “yes, when I press on it. I can feel it, it’s been there for a long time”. With that bit of information, he suggested that I wait it out for 6 months, which gave me some mental relief. I mean, if it is bad, it would be a different suggestion right?
I opted to wait out the 6 months, and went back to get my ultrasound to re-measure and monitor my mass. It has not grown, or shown any signs of needing immediate action, so I am on a 6 month observation plan. Every October and April, I will go in for an ultrasound to make sure it’s not changing in any way.
I’m sharing this story because I wanted to point out a couple of things. I really am on the fence with our medical health industry, but I also have realized that doctors can really help us live a much more healthy life. You’ve got to reach out, share information, ask questions and take the steps to get your health in order. I’m 45 years old now – when I first posted a blog entry on this topic, I was 33 and here is the excerpt:
The website Health.com has a quick-list for you to click on your age to find out what clinical things you should do/be aware of for your breast-wellness.
At my last gyno-pap appt, my doc gave me some good ideas on how to do the touchy-boobie thing in the shower while you are lathered up, because when your skin has soap on it, you will feel any lumps or other things you should be aware of fairly easy, as opposed to laying on your back and feeling around on dry skin. So here’s to happy boobies! xoxo
Needless to say, my mentality was quite different back then, and that’s ok. It is where I was. But now I’m here. Take it for what it’s worth.
Before I sign off, I want to leave you with some low cost resources in the event you are without insurance, as I once was.