If you missed Part 1 Click Here to read!
As I was sitting in the room waiting to get my mammogram a thought occurred to me, “What if they find something bad in my breast tissue. How will I write Part 2 of this post or would I write it?”. It was a real moment of What If?
I feel that thought of “What If something is wrong” may have people more freaked out about getting their mammogram. Sometimes the unknown is better but it really isn’t better when it comes to breast cancer. Wouldn’t it be better to know so you could start fighting this terrible disease versus playing catch up? I say lets fight!
Well the good news is that I currently have healthy breasts, phew. So lets get to the nitty gritty on how this went down. Surprisingly, I was only in the waiting room for 5 minutes before they came back to get me. They took me directly to the room and there stood this giant machine with the boob squisher.
I was asked if I was doing the 3D or the 2D mammogram. 3D has better imaging and before we know it, it will become the standard of care. So if you have an option, choose 3D. The 3D mammogram version improves cancer detection and has fewer false positives.
Next, was getting the girls into the squisher. The tech was very respectful as she was moving and molding them around like play dough. After they were positioned, the compression came down. It didn’t hurt, it was more awkward than anything. It was a lot of pressure, but it is extremely quick.
While looking at the images, the tech told me that I had extremely dense breast tissue. That means it is harder to detect breast cancer in dense breast tissue. She recommended to always do the 3D. So ladies if the tissue is dense, get the 3D!
Before I knew, it the exam was over. It only took 10-15 minutes. I feel like we can all find time in our schedules to make that happen on a regular basis, am I right?
I am so blessed to know my breast radiologist. She was very sweet and brought me back to the reading room to show me the images. She confirmed the extremely dense breast tissue. She said with that, she recommends additional screening to take a different look at the breast. Those are an abbreviated ultrasound or an abbreviated MRI. If you know you have dense breast you can get the additional test the same day you get your mammogram. Since this was my first, I will be adding on the testing this month.
All in all it was a good experience. I’d get a mammo over a pap smear any day of the week! I didn’t write this to tell you what to do or make a decision for you, but to experience it with me and maybe get you to thinking about it if you aren’t already. Here are just a few tips that may be helpful. There are a few resources at the bottom if you want to learn more. Here’s to healthy breasts!
Helpful tips for your first mammogram
1. First things first, do your research before making an appointment. There are a lot of places that do mammograms, but you want to go to a center that does this as their specialty. I believe it is very important to have a fellowship trained breast radiologist reading your mammogram. This is all they do day in and out. They find early-stage breast cancer at double the national standard. They are the experts!
2. Take a shower in the morning. Do not apply lotion in the area or put on deodorant. With that said, I would try to make a morning appointment. Going through an entire day without deodorant could be brutal for you and the people around you. Don’t forget to bring the deodorant with you for after your appointment and if you are me, don’t forget to apply it….whoops.
3. Tell your mammographer that this is your first one. I was surprised that two people said, “You know the drill”. I had to correct and say nope, this is my first time (Geez I just turned 40 and they are already aging me). Once they knew, they did a great job of telling me what they were doing and making me feel comfortable.
4. Don’t wear a dress. Sounds obvious, but I almost did since I’d be headed to work after. They only make you undress at the top. So could be a little awkward walking around in your underwear…kidding I’m sure they’d give you scrub bottoms.
5. Don’t be nervous and good luck. It’s a journey all of us ladies have to take at some point. You got this!