Category: Kaiser Visits

I think I can write this now

I had my first mammogram on the 16th of last month.  My doctor had recommended that I get a baseline at 35.  An appointment was made and I went in on a Saturday morning.  I wore my gown, stood still and held my breath when directed to.

Six days later on a Friday I received a phone call.  A nurse told me that I needed to come back since things were not clear.  It was 4 o’clock when they called me and radiology is shut at 4 and doesn’t open until 8 on a Monday.  I spent the weekend trying not to panic.

When Monday finally came I dialed Radiology as soon as the clock struck 8.  I gave the woman my information, such as m name and medical record number.  She instantly said, “Oh yes, right breast.  You’ll need an ultrasound and mammogram.”

The nurse who had called me prior had no mention that there was something found on my right breast.  As always, the information is with the servants.  The first available appointment they could get me was Thursday at 1:35.

My mother and father had planned a cruise, they had never ever been on one.  The tickets came a week after she was diagnosed with cancer and they had to send them back. Anonymous and I are planning a family trip.  I was thinking of this, of how the past echoes in the present.

The department was backed up so I didn’t get called back until 2:10.  I walked into a ultrasound room and saw the mammogram of my right breast with a circle around an area.  As I was going towards the bed my phone rang I looked at the caller ID, it was my Dad.  I quickly rejected the call and silenced my phone.  The sonographer began the exam, moving the transducer and clicking away on the keyboard.  She then stood up and announced she needed the doctor and scurried out of the room.  Call it cliche but that is never a good sign.

The doctor then came in and told me they had found a 1cm mass.  It had been visible on the first mammogram and it had been found with the ultrasound.  Now the question was, what was it?  I was told that I needed a diagnostic mammogram.  It would be done today and the results given to me immediately.  I went back to the waiting/holding area where other women were either sighing heavily in anticipation of their exams or grimacing because they had just endured a biopsy.

I was called back to another exam room.  I was warned that the diagnostic mammogram would hurt more and it did.  Nonetheless, I wanted it done.

Then I was sent back to the waiting/holding area.  I compare the waiting/holding area to purgatory.  There was nothing I could do until I had an answer.  If it was cancer then we can go forward with treatment.  It if was benign we can go forward with more surveillance.  However, I had no clue as to what I had so I couldn’t move forward with any plans.

The answer finally came, Fibroadenoma, non-cancerous.  I will go back in six-months for another ultrasound and diagnostic mammogram to see if the mass has grown.  If it has, then it will be removed.  If it stays the same I will go back in another six-months for another round of scans.  Then it will be a year.

I know I will have surveillance for the rest of my life and I’m fine with that.  What I am not ok with is the smiley face ingratiating way breast cancer awareness is portrayed.  I hate the facebook shit of posting some god-awful enigmatic status update as cancer awareness.  Whenever I get the invitation to participate in this cryptic nonsense I always post, “Get a mammogram”. People are aware of cancer, awareness is one of these hijacked words.  Smokers are aware that smoking causes cancer.  What should be posted is almost a polite bullying.  You need your friends and loved ones to make you go.  Nobody really wants to go to the doctor.  Yet no one really wants to die either.

 

 

 

Annual

Since the age of 30 I have been seeing my GP for six month screenings for breast cancer.  Today was another one of those screenings.  My GP feels that due to our diligence that we can now do the screenings annually instead of biannually.  It feels strange, I had gotten used to having these screenings and it felt almost comforting to be checked.  I think it will take a little adjustment to see the annual exam more positively than I do at the moment.  I alternate between feeling great that we don’t have to watch so closely but at the same time I feel hesitant that something will be missed.  My GP spent half an hour talking with me about my history and other things.  He showed me my chart and I have lost ten pounds in a year, he reviewed my gallbladder surgery and even told me how to use laundry detergent bottles as free-weights to help facilitate exercise.

What was also interesting about this visit was that while I was at Kaiser Fontana the rest of the household was Kaiser Redlands.  Two weeks ago Sean had pinkeye which Anonymous and I were pretty sure Evelyn caught.  The doctor confirmed it this morning.  So once again we get to ride the Kaiser merry-go-round with illness.  However, each time we go and the kids are diagnosed with some that CAN be treated easily we win the brass ring.

Much better

On the eighth of April I had my sixth surgery in which my gallbladder was removed.  My beloved brother took me so Anonymous could watch the kids and take Sean to school.  The procedure was done quick!  It took longer for my brother to pick up my painkillers from the pharmacy.  Its now been a week!Image

second most painful

So yesterday I was puttering around with Sean and Evelyn.  I made a late breakfast ate it then thought nothing of it.  Later I got the worst stomach ache.  Right above my navel then it started to move towards the right. I gobbled some tums but that made it worse.  I took tylenol still no relief. My two friends both have had their appendix out so I thought that it was now my turn.  I called Anonymous but I couldn’t get through, I called the front desk and a search party went out to find him.  My stomach hurt so bad that I called Ahouseholdkate thinking that she could come over and I could drive myself.  Ahouseholdkate was en-route when Anonymous called. He came home and took me to the hospital.

By the time I got there I felt a bit better so the voice of my Mother starting yapping at me.  “It’s only wind!”  The triage nurse had me sit down she placed her fingers below my ribcage and pushed.  I yelped, then she simply stated “Gallbladder.”

Anonymous took the kids to Ahouseholdkate’s house while I had tests run.  My ER nurse was betting on appendicitis.  I had an ultrasound then the results came in–Gallstones.  In my minds eye I could see my mother mouthing “sorry”.  So in the future I will most likely become a member of the parts missing club.

I must say this episode was the second most painful experience I’ve had.  The first being the broken leg and the third being childbirthImage

Another Circle

In January of 2012 Evie had croup.  For the past week she has been battling a cold, she developed a cough and while it did remind me a bit of croup there was no stridor.  That nasty high pitched wheeze that tickles along your spine and makes your brain itch.  Nonetheless, I booked her in today with another pediatrician (I had an appt. for monday with her regular GP) I didn’t want to wait any longer.  Turns out she has croup again, tis the season for it.  Also I learned that it is possible and common for croup to not be accompanied by a stridor in its more milder forms.  So another round of steroids for my poorly lass and hopefully she’ll be feeling better soon.  Today was an interesting mix since Anonymous had to go to Kaiser for his own needs however, it was Kaiser Fontana. I picked Sean up from School and we all went to Kaiser Redlands for the pediatrician.  All in all it was pretty painless and I have peace of mind for a little while longer.

Vitamin T

I had a reset yesterday.  I had a headache which started on Tuesday. I took my medication but it never got better.  In fact it got worse a lot worse.  I couldn’t pull my hair back into a ponytail due to the pain and I found myself snapping at Sean and Evie.  Anonymous came home and said, “You’re pulling your hair.  Want to go to the doc?”  I’m pretty good about the doctor but it is generally planned.  I make an appointment Anonymous stays home to watch the kids so he doesn’t get sick from being at Kaiser.  This would be an unplanned trip and I didn’t want to go.  My husband just packed up the kids and told me to get in the car.  He drove us to urgent care where I was promptly seen.  The nurses and doctors were kind and listened. They were impressed that I kept a record and  they asked if I had a medication in mind and I asked and was given an injection of Toradol.  I love that stuff, it got rid of my headache and I actually slept.  Today I have felt the best I have felt in a while.  Looking at my log I’ve been having a string of headaches since August began! My GP believes that I have cluster/stress headaches and not migraines due to a lack of aura.  My audiologist believes I have migraines and the doctor last night said it was most likely a migraine. Apparently there are differing opinions on whether or not auras are needed for a classic migraine.

This reminded me of when Anonymous and I were newly married (28th of June).  Before being carried over the threshold we went to the CSUSB HR department where Anonymous presented the staff with our Marriage certificate and that day I was enrolled into the insurance plan. On the 21st of July my back became inflamed and looked weird.  I didn’t even have a Kaiser card yet but I did have a number which a kind woman wrote on a neon green sticky-note.  The doctor diagnosed me with Shingles.  I asked, “Can I get shingles again?” The doctor sighed and said, “Half of doctors say yes and others say no.”

 

 

 

 

Result –

Three weeks ago on recommendations from my primary physician I saw a genetic counselor.  They took my family history and I opted to be tested for the BRCA 1 & 2 genes.  My mother died at 46 having been diagnosed at 45 with terminal breast cancer.  There are few women in the family with many being only children.  My mothers first cousin had breast issues (she’s an only child as well).  Since I have a daughter I felt an obligation to be tested.  For the past three weeks I haven’t really thought about it but last night my mind was mulling over what if I test positive or negative?  My husband (he doesn’t over think things while I go far off into the future with my thoughts) told me, “If you test positive you’ll have surveillance and if you test negative you’ll still have surveillance so stop thinking and go to sleep.”  It worked, I went to sleep and this morning I got my results, I’m negative for mutations in those two genes.  And my husband was right I will have high surveillance, screenings 6 months apart by a clinician and mammograms starting at 35.