Sunday, September 17, 2006

Give Me a Mammogram or Give Me Death

I'm convinced I have breast cancer. I have been for about two years. There was a six month period where I changed my mind, but that ended about two weeks ago. I'm laying off the doctor kool-aid for awhile. Yeah sure, you have to be over thirty-five to get breast cancer. Then why is there an ad in every magazine I open with a twenty-seven year old chick telling me she has it? I want a mammogram, not some family doctor, to prove it!

I tried to ignore the symptoms for a long time. Telling myself it was growing pains, menstrual issues, bad diet, hypochondria etc. I exercised, cut out coffee, told myself I was crazy, but nothing has helped. I want a mammogram, and if I'm not mammogram material, I don't know who is! I have a palpable lump and I'm in pain - I pay my premiums!

I did not want to bring it to my doctor's attention; a breast is a private thing. But in fear of certain and quickly approaching death, I had to. I didn't of course, present it to her as stage four cancer, I was calm as I jokingly divulged the persistent pain and lump in my breast. But before I could point it out, she stopped me and said she would find it herself.

At this point I'm thinking she's concerned. She's not. After making a game out of it, she quickly finds the cancer lump without assistance, and goes on to laugh, telling me welcome to being a woman, it's completely normal. I'm not buying it.

I'm considering finding a new doctor. I know they say doctor shopping is a sure sign of hypchondria, but come on. I'm absolutely taken back that she wouldn't even offer me a mammogram, and okay, I understand that they "don't work as well" on younger women because the breast tissue is thicker, but with the size of my lump, I'm pretty sure it would be practical. Besides, there's an alternative to the mammogram if she insists: an ultrasound.

I don't know what to do, the thought of having breast cancer is consuming me lately. I imagine being twenty-six, bald and in a wheel chair with only months to live, because it was "too late" when they found the tumor. Living with the fact that I've been telling them about it since I was nineteen. Trying to grasp any joy of living and confronting a painful death. Oh, and I can't sue because they had no way of knowing.

There's also the part of me that realizes I won't be convinced even after a mammogram. I'll latch on to any minuscule statistic I can get my hands on, especially the ones endorsing the idea that breast cancer can't be detected in younger, white women until it's terminal. What to do?


Sharon said...

Some how, some way, it's actually comforting to be able to laugh at a fellow hypochondriac. Of course, I'm also a fellow dying-of-breast-cancer-iac too. Even WITH the negative mammogram. *sigh* Does it ever get any better

Jamie said...

Hopefully this doesn't offend you but this was the funniest thing I've read in a long time! Not because you're scared of breast cancer but because I have also had "disagreements" with my doctor. Half of me knows that I don't have a brain tumor, but the other half believes that 5-6 headaches a week is irregular and I don't want to be told 10 years from now that everything would have been alright if they had only caught it sooner. Good luck with the lump ;)

emy said...

I would insist on a mammogram and breast ultrasound. If she wont do it, go see another dr. That is so crazy. I had a lump in my breast, twice actually, turned out to be benign, but there was something there and doctor took it seriously. I think anytime a woman finds a lump in her breast it should be checked out, even though the majority of the time its nothing, I bet you are fine, but asking for an ultrasound or mammo is not crazy in the least bit. Good luck and let us know what happens!

Anonymous said...

There are actually different types of lumps they look for. I have a few lumps in my breast and they're the type that hurt. The ones that hurt aren't the ones they're really worried about.

Get a mammogram/ultrasound just for the peace of mind, but chances are its probably just a cyst.


hi there,

i'm a guy foremost. and everyone thinks i'm a hypochondriac. i know i m but lately, i found a lump near my nipple (yes, men too) and i read up on e net about everything possible. i was so freaked out! breast cancer, men!?!

now, i really don't know what to do. my bf is upset w me for springing up every couple of days, some new symptom.

i saw a GP who said to me that chances are very low. but the stuff on e internet say that anyone at any age can get it! -- i'm turning 34.

so i don't know what to do. feeling v upset now. i want to go to get more tests done. but i don't want to at the same time.

Leila V. said...

Hey, Edmund:
Nobody believes us, but hypos can get sick too. If you have the option of getting tests, I would get them, (but that's just me).

If it's any comfort, my GP told me that if the lump is painful, it's nothing to worry about. I don't entirely believe her, but that could be my inner hypo.

Good luck!

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