I was talking with the doctor I’m trying to get to know here in Ottawa, and we were discussing my recent heart palpitations (stress?), and he starting asking me some general questions about my health history.
He listened to me talk about the strange spasms I’ve been having in my left chest area, and somehow that lead to him asking when was the last time I’ve had a breast exam.
In that moment, I realized it had been a very, very long time. I’m not sexually active right now, and I haven’t even felt my own breasts in years.
Needless to say, Dr. Ch did a breast examine and found this spot in my left breast, that hurts like a *bitch*. The pain was so bad, it shot through my whole body. It was like a burning, shooting sensation, right in this one spot.
So I got a prescription for a mammogram and pelvic ultrasound (he wants me to do a uterine ultrasound, because of my bad history with gyn problems).
When I called the imagining location (there’s a bunch in Ottawa), this is where it got interesting:
Me: I’m calling to make an appointment to come in for a pelvic ultrasound and a mammogram.
Secretary: Is this your first mammogram?
Me: Um, no. I had one about 8 years ago.
Secretary: Okay, we’ll see what we have available. (Sounding totally causal, like this was a routine mammogram).
Me: Well, the thing is, I have this weird pain in my left breast.
Secretary: Really…(she thinks for a moment)…what does your prescription say?
Then I read out the prescription–at least, I read it the best I could decider his handwriting. “Lobstar mass at Q o’clock”, and she instantly jumped–
Secretary: (total tone change) Okay, this is the thing we like to do with a prescription like this: we like to do your mammogram, and then we like give you a breast MRI *immediately* right after the mammogram in the same session. So what I’ll do, is schedule your ultrasound, mammogram, and MRI all on the same day.
She pauses for a second.
Secretary: How does Thursday, November 20th work for you?
And that was that–I had my imaging tests scheduled, no co-pays, no deductibles, no 30 minute approval process with the insurance company. I’m not even sure if I could get even a breast MRI on the same day as a mammogram in the U.S., without paying cash for it. It might not even be possible.
Now, of course, worse case scenario and it is breast cancer(I’m really hoping it’s just a cyst), I’m not sure where I want to do the treatment…mostly likely, I would need to do the treatment in Los Angeles, because that’s where my support system is. I’m going to need a lot of help to get through it, and I just don’t have any friends here. I guess I could live in a 3 bedroom place and find someone to live with me in exchange for helping, but I’m not sure if that would be possible.
Anyhow…I’m not really thinking about this very much. I have enough real problems to think about ‘maybe’ problems…
I think what surprised me the most, was that in my quest of dealing with all of my strange medical problems, I completely forget about a simple and very common problem women can face–breast cancer. It just never dawned on me. Ovarian, cervical, uterine cancer, yes, because I’ve already been close to those cancers, but breast? Never even crossed my mind.
(At the end of the appointment, I also got my ECG on the spot and 48 hour holter monitor for my heart (which were the reasons I went to see him in the first place), though it’s probably just stress…)