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Answers December 8, 2013

Posted by Judy in Musings.
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To all of my friends who are nurses: you are amazing and wonderful and so under-appreciated. You all do so much work to take care of your patients, and as a thank you, you get poor pay, crappy hours and terrible treatment from the doctors. So I just wanted to say thank you for being amazing and wonderful and know that your patients appreciate you!

Remember the nurse from the BCI who was very thorough and just lovely? She’s truly a model of an amazing nurse! I had a 15 minute conversation with her on the phone the other day in which she answered all of the questions that had been rolling around in my head . . . . questions that I did not have the presence of mind to ask the radiologist the day of the ultrasound and mammogram. I know not everyone wants to know all of the details of their exams and such, but I do, and she was able to provide such thorough explanations, leaving me feeling much more informed. I was actually expecting to be talking with the radiologist, and she was more than happy to leave him a message, But she also said she would do her best to answer my questions. By the end of our conversation, I didn’t really feel the need to talk with the radiologist as everything had been answered.

Many of my questions were procedural in nature: Can I have a support person with me while I sign consent forms? Can we ask a jillion questions before the procedure? Can I see the ultrasound and mammogram images and have them explained to me? Talk to me some more about how nursing post biopsy is going to work. I also wanted to know the level of experience possessed by the radiologists in the realm of breast imaging and more specifically, reading images of the nursing breast.

I saved the million dollar question for last. I needed to know how we went from “This is likely a plugged duct.” to “You need to have a biopsy.” Let’s start with the ultrasound. The u/s is able to show what is going on in the milk ducts. They can trace the ducts back up into the armpit and see if there is any “junked milk” as they call it. In my case, there was none, nor did they see anything else that would lead them to believe it was a plugged duct. This is why I then needed a mammogram. Come to find out, it wasn’t just any old mammo, it was a diagnostic mammo, which is apparently the most painful one you can get. Lucky me! So for all of you who were freaking out about mammos as a result of my last post . . .don’t. The regular screening mammo is called a “soft compression mammogram” and is just what it sounds like . . a soft compression. If they find something there, then they do a diagnostic mammo. The nurse didn’t give it a name, so I’ll call it the “smash you flat like a pancake mammo.” The reason for the extreme squishage is that they want to be sure that they get the clearest picture of the tissue, and this is best done when the breast is practically flattened. I’m pleased to know that mammos from here on out will be smooth sailing!

Anyway, so the mammo showed that I have an irregularly shaped mass with “feathering and wobbly borders”. (The nurse has such a colorful way of speaking and describing things!) So THAT is why I need a biopsy. We need to find out if the mass is benign or malignant and the biopsy is the only way to know that. While I wouldn’t consider this information to be good, I WAS happy to finally have the information. I can’t help but wonder why the radiologist didn’t share this information with me at the outset. A different radiologist will be performing the biopsy, so hopefully he’ll be more forthcoming. And if he isn’t, my previous experience has garnered me wisdom, so I’ll be ready to shoot questions from the hip. And, I still have the phone number for the wonderful nurse and I know she’ll be more than happy to spend the time answering my questions.

So now, we wait for Tuesday morning to roll around. We push aside the nagging voice that keeps reminding us that there’s a big history of breast cancer in my dad’s family. We pray that all will be well and hold on to that verse in Mark 11:24 that says: “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.”


1. Faith Still - December 9, 2013

I just said a prayer for you.

2. rlape85 - December 12, 2013

Sweetie, We believe that there is healing when we pray. The Lord is our best physician and we trust that his healing hands are upon you. Tus tias mandan su amor y te mantendran en oracion.

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