after finding a lump or abnormality.
I put the cart in front of the horse. I requested a mammogram minutes before a lump was discovered at my annual exam. As a women in her late 40’s I felt it was time to have a mammogram, it having been 7 years since my first. That moment in October forever changed my life. After the exams I got into the car with my 12 year old daughter trying to keep spirits high, my mind and emotions racing - I have a lump.
I had to leave to work in LA for 10 days the next day. I thought, "how can I possibly leave my family?" I held back tears going through security at the airport, terrified my life as I knew it had changed forever.
The following four months were a blur. From ultrasounds, to additional mammograms, it became a part-time job to be a secretary for my breast, and an advocate for my health.
It was required to place a metal “chip” into my breast as an indicator/marker that the area of concern has been viewed. This was mandatory, and how I came upon my bodacious bionic boob!
- Go with your intuition! I knew before walking into the exam room, I wanted an mammogram.
- Don’t wait for the offices to call you, call the offices. Be proactive; for the early bird gets the worm, or in this case the appointment date.
- Get a second opinion. This gives reassurance that the protocol being shared is in uniform agreement.
- Read the brochure and ask questions. I skimmed the brochure. I should have studied it completely to then ask additional questions.
- Meditation or prayer is key. This was the biggest lesson for me, it kept my mind clear during the biopsy. I looked away, focused on a part of the room, and went into a meditative state.
- Looking away during the biopsy is suggested. You won’t see the needles or instruments which can increase your blood pressure.
- There will be a sound like a stapler. Do NOT be alarmed. It is the extraction process, if you stay calm you will not “react” to the noise, hence why meditation is so helpful.
- Wear a bra both during the day and at night after a biopsy. Wear it until you have your follow-up appointment. This helps with the bruising of the breast.
- If you do workout, give yourself some additional healing time. Ask your doctor for specifics. I had an amazing mammogram tech who encouraged me to wait on training the upper body, outside of brochure recommendations, for it could cause internal bleeding.
- If a lump is found, a mandatory titanium chip will be planted in your breast. You will not set off airport security! It will be followed up with a mammogram so that there is a pictorial record on file.
- Don’t listen to outside sources unless you hold respect for their position. People don’t know what to say, so they will say “my neighbor had it done and she is fine,“ OR "You’ll be just fine.“ This will make you angry. Go through the process but know those around you are doing their best, in their own way, to “help.”
- Try to stay present in your “day-to-day”, but carve as much “self-care’"time as you need. I found being alone in a calming space to journal or to walk the trails was very soothing to my mental state. I needed to go internal so that I could process what was happening.
I am fortunate that all has turned out healthy in my case. This journey has me viewing life quite differently. I am now bionic, in breast and in mindset! I tested my emotions and I got through it. I have a “metal of honor” now to symbolize this chapter of my life. I have tightened the boundaries over my time away from my family to show gratitude to the people in my life that make my life so precious.
Please use this information in good health,