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Author Topic: Petrified of mammogram  (Read 351 times)

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Offline sevenofnine

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Petrified of mammogram
« on: March 19, 2014, 01:54:37 AM »
My GYN has been on me for the last two years to get a baseline mammogram.  She wanted it done at 36.  I'm 38 and am still postponing it and have my yearly checkup with her in May, so I can't keep putting it off or she might threaten to drop me as a patient or who knows what.

We have a place where you can get the mammo, wait for the results and then leave, so you don't have to go home and wait for the call.

The thing is I'm sure this will be a disaster.  It's not even the pain I'm worried about.  I'm told I have dense, cystic breasts (which apparently isn't all that uncommon for someone in their 30s according to the doc), so you just know they will find them loaded with cysts and since this would be my first mammo, they won't know what's normal for me.  So, this is how my brain is working right now:  I anticipate having the mammo itself, the tech finding things that require an ultrasound and then they find something that needs a biopsy and then maybe a horrible diagnosis.  My doctor ordered the tomosynthesis mammo so that it's more accurate and there's less chance of a false positive, but still...

I don't know why she has to have it now since I've heard 40 is a good age to start for a baseline and your breasts become less dense in your 40s.

I have OCD that primarily shows up in my thoughts and I find myself begging God over and over to please not let that mammo show cancer or things that need to be biopsied, yet I'm paralyzed with fear over making that appointment.

It's extreme, but I want these things off.  I have always preferred a slim body and a flat chest anyway, and if I could get my already smallish boobs reduced to a completely flat chest, I would.  They're nothing but ticking time bombs.  The same with ovaries.  I've never wanted kids so these parts are completely unnecessary. 

Has anyone felt this way? As far as I know, there isn't family history, but that means nothing.  It seems like everyone gets cancer.

Sorry to ramble on.  It keeps me up at night and my therapist quit the practice and she was just starting to help me with my fears.  Mostly my anxiety laughs in the face of my 300 mg of Lamictal and 60 mg of Prozac.  They only really help with panic. :(
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Offline Lara71

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Re: Petrified of mammogram
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2014, 06:36:57 AM »
My health anxiety recently got worse and I've been procrastinating getting my mammo which is overdue. I totally understand.

But sometimes you have to bite the bullet and just do it. I got a baseline at 36 (I'm 42 now) and it was fine. I'm hoping to get it done after my next period. I'm waiting for the weather not to suck so my mood is better.

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Online Sunlover

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Re: Petrified of mammogram
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2014, 07:21:37 AM »
Doctors have seen many, many breasts, and many common breast cysts.  They aren't going to send you for further testing unless they see something suspicious.  A doctor can't drop you because you don't want to have a test!  It's YOUR body.
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Offline 2jrts

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Re: Petrified of mammogram
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2014, 07:54:05 AM »
Sevenofnine, I could have written your post 15 years ago. I, too, have dense and cystic breasts. I felt the same way you did when I had my baseline. I still flip out every time I go for my yearly - and I'm 53 now.

It sounds as though you are going to a breast center, which is great. They see many, many dense and cystic breasts on a daily basis. They know what to look for.

I have a friend who is a radiologist at a breast center where I live. So every time I go now, she orders an ultrasound for me because I have such issues with cysts (although, after menopause, my cysts have declined dramatically). So I go, have the mammogram, wait, pray, wait, get called into the examining room, wait, pray, then she comes in and does the ultrasound. Even though it's unbelievably nerve-wracking there is nothing like the feeling of knowing that I have been thoroughly checked and am okay. I am very grateful that she takes the time to do this for me.

I also have a very close friend who is the exact same way as I am when it comes to health issues. She asked about getting a prophylactic mastectomy because her fear was just as great as mine. She found out that they don't just cut off your breasts, but also take out lymph nodes, cut through muscles etc. It's more involved than she thought.

For me, with tests like the mammogram, my anxiety and obsessiveness just builds and builds until I go ahead and get it over with. My advice is that you should just get it done. Get it behind you. Otherwise it will become an obsession. I am currently dealing with being completely focused on worrying about uterine cancer - so much so that my gyn has scheduled a painful test for me to next week so I can put my fears at rest. But this was after, literally, one complete year of worrying about it.

Best of luck to you -  let us know what you decide to do.
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Offline marc

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Re: Petrified of mammogram
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2014, 07:58:50 AM »
My wife has dense, thick and very large breasts. She was told by the Radiologist that new imaging machines can typically handle
situations such as hers with no issues.
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If you're going through hell, keep going.
Never, Never, Never, give up.

Offline famv5

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Re: Petrified of mammogram
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2014, 10:25:58 AM »
I was in your shoes last summer. 

I'm 45 years old and my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 43 so I have family history.  However, I was terrified to get a mammogram done for fear of the results.  I know that's so silly but that's just how I felt. 

My family moved over the summer last year and I settled in with a new doctor.  She's fantastic and gave me the courage to have a baseline mammogram done.  Something finally clicked in me and I got the courage to go.  I kept thinking about my kids and just the "not knowing".   I had been having pains in one breast for over a year with pain under my arm and discharge from that same breast.  You can imagine how scared I was.

I had my husband go with me which helped greatly!  When I went into the exam room, I broke down in tears.  I was SO scared!  The technician was patient and very understanding.  Even though they are not supposed to say anything to you about what they see, she told me that she saw nothing that looked concerning to her just to help calm me.  She did say, however, that the doctors reviewing the mammogram have the final say AND that many times with a first time mammogram, they may call you back in for an u/s.  She assured me, though, not to get upset if they do call me back.  It's completely routine.  When they do not have anything to compare your mammogram screening to, meaning a prior years mammogram, they may call you back in to double check anything they see.  Many times, too, the mammogram simply may not be clear.  She also said that there were four patients that had baseline mammograms on the day I did and one of us would definitely be called back in. 

I got my results back about 10 days later and everything was normal.  I was absolutely shocked!  I had convinced myself that I had breast cancer since I had pain, discharge and my mom had been diagnosed. 

So, encourage yourself and think positive thoughts.  You CAN do this!  You will feel so much better after having it done and knowing the results.  Do it for you!
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"Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths" - Charles H. Spurgeon

Online mominpanic

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Re: Petrified of mammogram
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2014, 10:50:39 AM »
I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.  I turn 40 in May and have been dreading getting a mammogram for years, so the fact that it is so close now is just making it worse.  A good friend of mine who is a GYN nurse practitioner, very trim and healthy, turned 40 a couple months ago, had her mammogram, and got called back in for a biopsy of a lump.  Luckily it turned out to be nothing, but still enough to freak me out even more.  I have been told in the past I have fibrocystic breasts and have also lost a significant amount of weight in the last few years, having my breasts decrease from a DDD to a C/D, and I have read that when your breasts shrink it can cause changes that show up as something on a mammogram.  So between my lumpy breasts, this, and the fact that my paternal grandmother had breast cancer twice, I am already anticipating a callback.  I know I need to get it done and in my weird mind thinking I keep thinking that May will be a good time to get it done because if I do in fact have breast cancer I will have all my surgeries and treatments done hopefully by the holidays.  Enough about me though, I just wanted to let you know you're not alone.  The fact that you can wait for your results is awesome!!  I think waiting is the hardest part.  I never do well with that!
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A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones - Proverbs 17:22

Offline Ryze

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Re: Petrified of mammogram
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2014, 12:28:47 PM »
Even if they send you for further testing, it doesn't necessarily mean breast cancer. My mother had hers done and had to be retested three times because they saw "something" but weren't sure what it was. Don't remember what it was exactly but it turned out to be nothing.
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Offline confunded

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Re: Petrified of mammogram
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2014, 12:55:11 PM »
I can totally relate to the fear! However whether you get the test or decide not to, it won't change what is going on in your body. Best to be safe and go so they have a reference for your future and get the all clear! Then you won't have to think about it anymore!! :)
Best of luck xx
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Offline sevenofnine

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Re: Petrified of mammogram
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2014, 09:11:38 PM »
I'm sorry I didn't reply sooner.  Something popped up with the family.

Thanks to every one of you who took the time to share your experiences and advice.  I'm going to just have to bite the bullet.  The thing that scared me most was seeing Amy Robach from GMA get that mammogram and those horrid results.  And I saw my mother-in-law go through stage III b/c and treatment and it shook me to my core.  I don't know if it was a coincidence since I was also weaning off Lexapro, but the year after her diagnosis, my panic attacks returned with such strength that I'm sure it shaved five years off my life.   B-;

Plus it seems as if every time I look at any news or celebrity site I see an article about someone who has been diagnosed with cancer.  I just wonder if people die from anything else anymore.  You never seem to hear about X celebrity having hardened arteries.  Why is it always the same disease?

Thanks for letting me vent this out.  I'm missing my therapist and it's tough to find a good one.

PS - Does anyone struggle with a chronic sense of doom? I've always been a pessimist but lately when I read about someone with breast cancer, I think it's a sign from "up there" that something is terribly wrong.  It's like waiting for a piano to fall on my head.

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Offline baytownuser321

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Re: Petrified of mammogram
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2014, 10:54:26 PM »
TOTALLY understand....I will say that it sounds like you have a GREAT place to get one done!  Most places will call you later and let you know!  You are VERY lucky to be able to find out in the same day.....

I have a hard time with that....just remember....this too shall pass and think how good you will feel when everything is fine.  The new technology is SUPER at reading whether it is just dense tissue or something to be worried about.

GO DO IT!    :)
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