My friend Carrie had a lumpectomy today, and I just received word that everything went smoothly. How fitting that her day for surgery coincided with my annual mammogram and ultrasound. When she told me she was having her lump removed on December 8, there was no way I was cancelling my appointment for the same day!
Carrie found her lump because she followed her doctor’s instructions to have another mammogram in six months. They’d seen something earlier this year, but it didn’t look serious enough for a biopsy at that point. For the past month, however, she’s been congratulated by every new doctor she meets because she followed up. It turns out that not every patient does.
Our family knows this from experience. My husband’s sister found a lump this past spring, and the doctor wanted to operate immediately. She refused. Instead, she started drinking “green drinks” (kale, spinach, etc.). Supposedly, the lump has disappeared. If I were in her shoes, I’d be pounding down the door for an ultrasound every month!
You’ll notice I said ultrasound. That’s because, as I discovered and shared with you last year, mammograms are almost useless for women with dense breasts. Today’s appointment confirmed this. My mammogram showed nothing. My ultrasound, on the other hand, showed a few almond-shaped places that they’re going to compare against last year’s ultrasound. After the comparison, they’ll either tell me to come in for a biopsy, suggest I return in six months, or tell me there’s nothing to be concerned about. If they tell me to return in six months, you can bet I’ll be there!
Our health is nothing to fool around with, ladies, and as I prepared for today’s post, I found an important reminder in this post that I published five years ago. I highly recommend reading it again for the inspiring lesson to trust your instincts and appreciate your value.
As an aside, here’s something interesting that I learned about breast density at this morning’s appointment. Since my breasts are a lot less full on top after losing weight, I wondered if my tissue was less dense. Not so. I still have dense breasts. Evidently weight doesn’t have a lot to do with breast tissue density. Also, it turns out that although women’s breasts become less dense with age, the change is usually only slight rather than dramatic.
Thank you so much for posting about this issue, Darlene. Most of my information about mammograms and potential breast problems comes from you, so thank you for the education! I think these posts are valuable for all your readers.
Thanks for your feedback! I’m sharing what I learn as I go along–I figure if I didn’t know these things, chances are some of my readers didn’t either. Also, Contrary Kiwi, I never thanked you for your AMAZING comment about how to stand out. It deserved to be its own post. In fact, I wouldn’t mind reading it on YOUR blog.
I think sharing as we go along is a fantastic way to do things. If we wait until we are experts on a subject we’ll probably never talk about them at all.
Oh, thanks! Maybe I will elaborate on it and turn it into a blog post. I certainly have the experience for it. 🙂
Very interesting and educative Darlene! I do have to have both, mammogram and ultrasound every year and didn’t understand much about it at the beginning so I have to ask doctors why. Thanks for taking the time to explain and share this subject.