Mammogram Screening: Thelma’s Acting Up

There are things we must do as women. One of those things is to get a mammogram screening.

I have been getting my boobies squished once a year for the past 15 years. And every time, I get the same letter. Dense breast tissue. No issues.

Until last week.

Okay, here’s the thing, right now, as I write this, I don’t know what is going to happen. I do know that mostly, a bad screening turns out to be nothing.

But it might not be nothing. It might be something.

Waiting is upsetting and frustrating.

I won’t find out if the nothing is actually something until early next week. Although time doesn’t much count for this post. I’m not posting this until I find out if my nothing is something. As I write this, I don’t know.

I’m a worst case scenario person and this situation is a no-brainer.

You can get to worst case in just a few thoughts.

I don’t like where my head is right now. I don’t like having a constant litany of dark thoughts. I don’t like waking up in the middle of the night to pee and have my first thought be “Oh yeah, I might have breast cancer.” This is scary and I feel depression pressing against my wind pipe.

So, Randy named my boobs Thelma and Louise years ago.

Thelma is being an asshole.

Here’s to hoping my something is nothing. Here’s to hoping the next 4 days go by quickly because I am exhausted. It’s hard to be this afraid for days without a break.

I’m trying to not stay firmly entrenched in my worst case scenario, but I’m not doing too great.

Also, I feel weak and sort of pathetic for being this worried, when there is a 90% chance that my 2 adjacent masses versus one bilobed mass measuring up to 1.1 cm is nothing.

The word bilobed disturbs me. It makes the back of my throat feel thick. Sort of the way I feel about bug eggs. Bug eggs are disgusting.

So, I’m stopping for now. When I finish this post next week, I will know. I’m sure it will be fine. No matter what. It will be fine.

My appointment was set for today after 2:00. I got a call first thing this morning from the hospital and they said the doctor who would be reading my ultrasound was sick and that we had to reschedule.

I tried super hard to not lose my cool. I explained that the waiting was messing with me and I really wanted to get in as soon as possible.

So they upped my appointment to just after 10:00 am.

I am fine.

I have two cysts and one is just a normal cyst, the doctor explained that the other cyst was a little more breast examcomplex.

That made Randy mutter under his breath “of COURSE it is.” 

There is some debris in the cyst that the doctor didn’t like, but even that wasn’t too concerning. She just wants me to come back in 6 months to make sure there aren’t any changes. She says she is 98% sure there won’t be.

I like those odds.

I’m really hoping to get some sleep tonight, you guys. I need it.

Please, if you are over 40, please don’t neglect to get a mammogram screening. Please. If it has been a while, pick up the phone and make an appointment.

Do it.




Girl on bench photo courtesy of kalhh

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  • Shew! I felt the anxiety through my screen, Michelle. The waiting is thr hardest part. Given the darkness in the world now, it’s easy to believe the worst.
    And just this summer, I got my first mammo in 12 years. Because every time, they’d find some irregularity and i just didnt want to go through it. So dumb. And I was right. They called me the same day and said come back for more tests next week. Ugh!
    I go back. They do the ultra and the nurse says, I am going to get the dr. Ratchet up that anxiety 1000 times. I mean, I am writing my will and planning my funeral by the time she gets back.
    But the cysts arent cancerous, just weird. I nearly cried with joy. Like you, I have to go back every 6 mos.
    And like you, I tell everyone to get that mammogram!

    • The whole thing is terrifying and I really don’t understand most of the words they use. I’m going to try to not worry too much until February when I go back. Hahahah. That’s a lie. I’ll still worry. It’s what I do. Stupid cysts.

  • I’m so glad that Thelma is ok. I get it that mammograms are a necessary evil, but if guys had to have their testicles go through a machine they would have invented a painless method, don’t ya think?

    • Sheesh..yes. The ultrasound wasn’t painful at all. It was just an ultrasound. The 3D imaging machine they had for the mammogram tilted at an angle that made it a bit LESS painful..but there is just nothing pleasant about having your boobs flattened like pancakes

      • I read a (humorous) piece years ago that said you could practice for your mammogram by lying on the garage floor with your boob extended while your husband backed over it with the car. I think of that every time I go for my mammogram.
        I skipped them for quite a number of years after having a really terrible mammogram (and then a second one soon after) while they tried to move and flatten breast tissue from under my armpit so they could get a picture. They ended up rupturing a cyst (according to the technologist at my second mammogram) – I had yellow bruises across my breast for weeks. I told my doctor that’s why I refused to go again and she sent me to a different center. Bad memories.

  • I am glad that all is, “ok” Michelle. This message certainly resonated with me as I am out in a different province visiting and helping Mom whose results aren’t quite as stellar, and just as, “confusing”.

    I’ve never had a mammogram and don’t intend to unless I notice something weird. Too many false positives and too much fear involved in that waiting.

    I wish Thelma and Louise the best!

  • oh my goodness! I held my breath from the minute I saw the email all the way through the results! No wonder you had a couple days when leaving bed was hard! I am sooooo glad that you are on monitoring, that is so much better. I mean, not having a cyst at all would be best, but dude, this is really good.
    I hit the 6 year NED mark this summer, and my mass was found during a routine yearly mammogram. Because it was found so early, I didn’t have to have chemo, just surgery and radiation. Ladies, the boob squish is no fun, but let me tell you, it is worth it. Do it. make that appointment today.
    Michelle, all hugs, sunshines, and butterflies ( the pretty ones) for you.

    • THank you! I’m glad your experience went as well as it did. Still, that had to be scary. Yeah, that whole scene was really making it hard to deal with the depression. I’m better. Not great, but better.

  • I had a similar scare a few years ago–the waiting was horrible, as was the only mammogram I’ve ever had. I know I should get another one, so thanks for the encouragement!

  • Ultra sound for dense breasts is the norm these days and a very helpful and like you said easy test to double check any curious results. I am glad you came out OK! The monitoring in 6 months may be to adjust to a new base line for you and then back you go if no changes to yearly screening. I too think the 3 D is less painful but I still dose with some Advil prior for good measure. I am a breast cancer survivor detected just 17 months after by prior yearly scan, yes I was 5 months late, and a mammogram unpleasantness is nothing compared to surgery, chemo and late effects. Early detection is key and breast cancer is not a death sentence as I am a 16 year example of that!

  • Oh yes; I’ve been there. The little mass started as a cyst and was a little painful. After a few years, it hardened and didn’t hurt anymore, at which point they got excited. Needle biopsy, showed nothinng interesting, but oh, those days between.
    Mercifully I was still engaged in child-raising and working, so I was too busy to make myself too nuts, but I really thought this was it. Horrible.

  • I had BC at 39 that could not be seen on the mammo due to the density of my perky young boobs. I am a 16 yr survivor and STILL get an ultrasound once a year for peace of mind. So worth it for me. I know most lumps and bumps are normal, especially as we age, but it is a terrifying experience and the waiting is the worst. Kudos to your hospital for getting you in as quickly as possible. Being freaked out is the worst thing for our health. Stay positive and happy as best you can!! You are stronger than you know. Hugs

  • I had a suspicious lump once and it scared me more than I ever thought it would. It can feel overwhelming. Sounds like everything really is okay. I am seriously relieved for you!

  • Glad everything looks good 🙂 . I can’t imagine how scary it must have been. I have a friend that went through having a lump removed quite a few years ago and doing all the kemo etc that went with only to have it come back. I believe it was the brca gene that she had so she took the brave move and had a double mastectomy . She’s one of the bravest women i know.
    And on the note of mamograms, that reminds me, i must book my yearly exam. Take care Michelle! Happy to hear everything is OK 🙂

  • My sister is a breast cancer survivor, and I found that out in 2008, so she’s been good for a number of years now.
    I’m glad things turned out better than worst case scenario for you, and may they continue that way.
    In fact, may they begin a long-term migration toward best case scenario that lasts for years and causes a fairly excessive amount of giggling…

  • I wonder why so many women have dense breasts. What produces that? I keep thinking about all the X-rays I’ve had and the Lung CT biopsy that went through my boob (called Moe, Larry & (ahem) Curly – named by my husband as I can’t stand the Three Stooges) and wonder about how many of these tests are causing more problems than if I didn’t have them at all. But I am very good at doing all the right things. What worries me now is that doctors are telling older women to not “bother” having Mammograms and Pap smears, etc. anymore. This makes no sense as older women are more prone to cervical/breast/ovarian, etc., etc. cancers. I used to have the cysts in my breasts drained (OMG have you ever seen what comes out of them?), but quit as there was never a problem. With all the other crap going on, I’m grateful that it shouldn’t be a concern.
    But I’m SO happy that you are good. (I’d insist on another test on Thelma sooner than 6 months though – but as you may have gathered, I’m a tad obsessed with stuff like this).

      • Sometimes it’s a clear green liquid. Sometimes it a murky green/brown liquid. No matter how horrifying it is, my doctor always said not to worry, that it was ‘normal’ looking. Although it never prevented him from sending them out for testing. And I never slept well until the results came back O.K. (One time there was blood in it and I didn’t even bother trying to go to sleep. So yeah, the waiting is a bitch.

  • I go for mine tomorrow and I always dread it. I end up with giant painful bruises all over my girls. My Dr. told me I have “lumpy” breasts, I always imagine the inside of them like badly made cream of wheat. Sexy right? Because of this I have a really hard time doing a self check and often have to get redo mammograms. But the girls are always alright in the end, something I am always grateful for. I am so glad Thelma was just giving you a little attitude. The not knowing is just an empty space we can fill with our own fears.

  • Sheesh, my anxiety kicked up reading this, so glad she’s thinks you’re fine. For me, it was Thelma who tipped me off that something was wrong with Louise. Long story…any hoo… thermography is a better diagnostic tool. Mammograms push radiation into the soft tissue and what does radiation do? It causes cancer. I’m thankful you’re fine, really, and thanks for your post about being married a few times. I’m still trying to figure out if I’ll ever get it right or if I’m doomed to spend the rest of my life alone. Blessings and peace to you.

    • I am glad your situation turned out okay! That is some scary shit.

      And you’re fine, the past is the past and the future isn’t here yet..who knows what will happen?

  • Catching up on posts that I missed on vacation – so glad this turned out OK. My second year getting a mammogram I was called back and petrified of a bad outcome. I needed to consult surgeons, radiologists and had a biopsy. My kids were in grade school then and I was scared sh*tless. Turned out OK but I know the dark places a mind can go while waiting for results. Love the names Thelma & Louise! XOXO

  • I got the girls squished this year at a free screening hosted by my union, at the health fair (mobile screening unit, yo)… no issues. The last time I’d had one, the technician forgot to look at my chart for the word “implants” and I had to stop her mid-squish because it was causing me PAIN (and my tolerance is HIGH)… so I’d been putting off my annual screening for that reason (and also having no insurance coverage).

    Ennyhoo, glad Thelma’s doing okay, and that you’ll be seen again in February!

By Michelle


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