Monday, June 17, 2019

Get. Your. Mammogram. Do. Not. Delay.

Some of you might have caught me referring to both Diane and I dealing with some medical stuff recently.  You know mine; unfortunately Diane was diagnosed with breast cancer in early May. 

The reason for the title of this post is Diane's emphatic plea:  do not put off getting your yearly mammogram.  And when you get it, make sure to get it in 3D.  She really wants to get that across to everyone - get it done!

You see, she was at her family doctor for her yearly physical, and as he went over everything, he mentioned that he would put in a referral for a mammogram.  Nothing was bothering her - he was just getting all of the annual stuff set up.  She wasn't actually going to make the appointment for the mammogram until fall because she was busy with end of school year stuff (she works in the counselor's office at a high school), and then she always goes away to visit her family for over a month in the summer...it wasn't a priority.  But the mammography department always calls to schedule mammograms when they get referrals, and since they called, she figured what the heck, get it over with now.

Just a few months ago, the mammography department got a new 3D machine, and the tech doing Diane's mammo said it picks up everything.  But she wasn't worried as there is zero family history of breast cancer.  She had it done, left, and figured she'd get a letter in the mail a few days later, saying all was clear and to come back in a year.  Instead, she got a phone call wanting her to return for another mammogram and possibly an ultrasound.  She was concerned, of course, but breast cancer didn't run in her family so it must have been the super sensitive 3D machine, nothing to be really worried about.

On a Friday, she went in for the mammogram.  And then they did an ultrasound.  And then they did a biopsy.  Well.  That was a little more concerning.  OK a lot more.  When they were finished she came over to my house and we sat in stunned silence for a while.  When they do all of that it's not looking good, and words were hard to come by for a bit.  Emotions were all over the place - tears, anger, laughter - as she kept saying this wasn't supposed to happen.  She was just days away from the birth of her first grandchild - she was waiting to be a grandma, not have breast cancer!

By the end of the afternoon we'd made a plan for her to become my couch buddy if need be.  Hey, I have two full-sized couches, it could work!  Except that I didn't want her to become my couch buddy for THAT reason.

On Tuesday, she got a call to come in to her doctor's office, where she was given the news that she had breast cancer.  Also on that Tuesday?  Her grandson was born!  Talk about some pretty strong lows and highs, all on the same day.  She was so excited to become a grandma.  She didn't have time for this!  Luckily, the cancer was caught very early thanks to the super sensitive 3D mammogram.  And because she didn't put off the mammogram for six months like she'd planned, the cancer was small.  It was a horribly scary diagnosis to get, of course, but her doctor was very positive about treatment with a full recovery.

She had a lumpectomy a week later and that went well - the edges were clear and the pathology showed the lymph nodes were as well.  The surgeon was very optimistic that he'd gotten everything, and all that remained for Diane to do was to recover from the surgery, have some radiation, and then she'd be done.

After the surgery Diane said "I don't have cancer - they took it all" - and she's right.  She's already more than a quarter way through her radiation treatments.  She's set to finish on July 1 and has a plane ticket purchased for July 2 to fly to visit her family for the rest of the summer.  She does not mess around.  This is the Diane that I know - she has more energy than anybody, and she's got places to go, people to see, and things to do!  After all, this is the woman who ran a marathon in May, in Texas.  She's got this.

Here's Diane holding her one-day-old grandson:
Grandma Diane and Oliver James!

And here she is holding one-month-old Oliver:
Oliver is so cute all snuggled in his grandma's arms!

Once again, get your mammogram.  Get it in 3D if possible.  Don't put it off.

29 comments:

  1. Oh my! Please tell her that she is in my thoughts and prayers! (Yup, I feel like I know her personally through you!)

    One of my dad’s last statements to me was ‘don’t cancel your mammogram for anything’. You see, he knew he was dying, and soon. He also knew that I had a mammogram scheduled. He knew that I would be distraught and want to cancel if the two events conflicted. Dad had spent the last 15 years of his life working as a chaplain at the hospital and more specifically in the cancer center (which was where his passion was since he had been cancer free for 20 years....ironic that cancer is what took his life). He would come home decimated after sitting with women his daughters age that had breast cancer that they never caught until too late. My dad’s last complete sentences to me...’get your mammogram’. Sooo very important!!!

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    1. Wow, your dad really got it...he cared so much about you and that is just one more way he showed it.

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  2. I've been down the biopsy road once and it was enough for me! I found the lump they biopsied, tho. It was not seen on the mammogram and when I went for the ultrasound, I had to guide the technician to find it. That's why breast self exam is still very important. As my doctor says, get to know your lumps. Especially for those of us who have dense, lumpy breasts. (sounds so sexy, doesn't it?)

    My best to Diane.

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    1. If men only knew about dense, lumpy breasts... ;)

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  3. I get my mammogram done yearly and it comes up right around time for my sons birthday. Thank Diane for sharing her story, and my best to her as well.

    I couldn't help but see those baby feet Shelley they need some knitted booties! How fun when your feeling better you can knit some stuff for your friends grand son.

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    1. Glad to hear you get your's yearly! Also, I've never knitted booties - they just seem so small!

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  4. This is a timely post for me. I just scheduled my yearly 3D mammogram last week for two weeks from now. I've been down that road of mammo, then the ultrasound, then the biopsy. Fortunately for me all was well but it scared me into never missing a yearly mammogram and being vigilant with the self exams. Best wishes for Diane.

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    1. Glad you are able to get the 3D mammogram, Jill.

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  5. This is so important. I know it was very hard for me to go through the biopsy and lumpectomy last year.

    I'll be keeping her in my thoughts. Oliver is adorable and a good distraction.

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    1. Thanks, Sarah, and I hope everything is OK with you.

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  6. Wow, Diane sounds like me--I say the same thing, no breast cancer in my family. I'm so glad they caught it soon. And Congrats Diane, on your new grand baby!!

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    1. I say it too - but now I know that doesn't mean you're safe.

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  7. Whoa. I'm so happy to hear Diane caught this early and I hope that the cancer really is gone for good. Congrats to the new Grandma! :)

    Incidentally, my Grandma went through that same exact thing - breast cancer diagnosis with NO family history, lumpectomy and radiation, and kicked cancer to the curb. And all of this right after she turned 80 (and she ended up living another 13 years, totally cancer-free).

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    1. Wow, so glad your Grandma kicked cancer like that! And I'm betting that you are pretty diligent about getting your yearly mammograms, right?

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    2. Yeah that just reinforced my view that my Grandma was a complete badass, just as I'm sure little Oliver will think about Diane kicking this to the curb :)

      Since I'm under 40 and have no family history (my Grandma's case was basically considered a fluke because she was 80) no one has recommended I get one yet, but I also know way too many women my age and younger who have been diagnosed with it over the past few years so it's definitely something I want to revisit with my doctor at my next appointment.

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  8. Oh Diane! Thank heavens you went in and got the 3D scan and caught it so early. How scary. What an emotional high and low, like you said, with that going on, and the birth of her grandchild. I bet you really helped her feel better when she was going through all that. You're a great friend :)

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  9. Praying for Diane, so glad she had the exam. I've been putting off my annual physical which includes a mammogram. I was due in March. Calling right now to make the appointment. Thank you!

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    1. Oh Grace, this makes me so happy - and this is exactly why Diane wanted me to write this post.

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  10. I am so glad she went and got a 3D mammogram. Praying for a complete recovery. She looks wonderful holding her new grandson.

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    1. She does look great holding Oliver - you can see her happiness radiating out!

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  11. Oh man...I am so sorry to hear about your friend's diagnosis, but I am glad that it was a "best case scenario" here! What a whirlwind of emotions with a diagnosis and a grandbaby all in the same day!

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    1. Yes it was, but she's doing well, thankfully.

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    2. Somehow, I just saw your comment about radiation tips for your friend! What's your email address? I'll send a few to you! :)

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  12. YES! Get that mammogram….and your Pap Smears.

    Dancing with NED (no evidence of disease) is the best! The only thing better is GRANDBABIES!!

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  13. OMG, how scary for Diane. Glad they got it all!

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  14. I'm so glad for Diane that they caught it early! The new technology is amazing and it can catch the smallest of irregularities. I just had one of those new MRI ones in April and the tech told me not to worry if I had to come back for more pictures because it was so sensitive that they have been doing call backs on any difference between previous mammos, no matter how small, and they are almost always fine.

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