that’s pretty suckful

Last night I’d had a pretty rotten sleep (mostly due to SML-filled dreams) and woke pretty early this morning with a head full of SML-filled thoughts.

I’m still not back to cycling to work and decided to catch the train in because Don wanted to leave at a less ungodly hour. On my way out the front gate, I checked the mailbox and discovered a letter addressed to me. “Oh!”, I thought. “This must be the confirmation that my mammogram was all good!”.

Except it wasn’t.

It was a letter from BreastScreen NSW, but …

“We would like you to return to have further tests to complete your screening. An assessment appointment has been made for you on [mid-Jan date | hospital location]”. And lots of further information included about what tests they’d likely perform and what I could expect generally. And liberal use of bold, CAPS and highlighter. And stats, like 5% of women who have a mammogram need further tests and of those only 10% will have breast cancer**. They advised that the appointment will take between 2-4 hours, but that I should set aside the whole day.

Well, fuck.

I called up to confirm and managed to snag an earlier appointment because of a cancellation – but still have to wait until early January.

This is so NOT what I was expecting (no family history, no observed issues) that I’m still quite dazed by it all. And to be honest just a little nervous | frightened. The upside is that my SML-filled thoughts have rather faded into the background.


** which is like, what!? that’s 1/200 – way more than I’d assumed!

7 thoughts on “that’s pretty suckful

  1. OK, I have been down this road before, so this is where I hope that as an imaginary internet friend I can possibly be helpful.
    Don’t panic. This happens A LOT.
    I have had several callbacks over the years, and 2 years ago I had to have an ultrasound and a breast biopsy (which came out clean). The experiences are scary, but part of the deal these days is that breast imaging is SO detailed, the scans pick up every little variation, which means they have to follow up and make sure these variations are normal.
    My callbacks for rescans (I think I’ve had three) were because of cloudiness on the initial mammogram…in all those cases were resolved by a mammogram redo. So I was pretty much in shock two years ago when after a re-scan I had to have an ultrasound, a breast biopsy, and two more mammograms. First thing I did after I got the biopsy appointment was call my friends (I have several in this situation) who had been through the same thing, All are fine. The biopsy itself was no big deal (though a bit like having a pizza cutter run back and forth over my boob), and the radiologist was very kind and thorough and explained lots of stuff along the way.
    Our boys were 17 and 19 and we were waiting to tell them until we knew if it was a done deal or if further treatment was required. When we told them about it, the older one said, “Bet you’re relieved to get THAT off your chest”.
    Dealing with the anxiety surrounding the experience is another issue, worthy of a separate comment.

  2. So seriously, I am not worried for you about the outcome of your follow up, you will be fine. I don’t envy you dealing with anxiety/stress for the next couple of weeks because I know how much that sucks! I had about ten days of stress pre-biopsy two years ago, and for some reason I was really able to compartmentalize it. I remember being proud of myself for not letting it get the better of me. (Full disclosure, some low-level anti-anxiety medications helped.). A friend who had been through similar said, “I just kept telling myself that I was in good health and I could handle anything that came my way”, and the “I can cope with this” mentality was what kept me going.
    One more thought, is that there is a lot of early stage breast cancer diagnosed these days. So an actual breast cancer diagnosis is NOT a dire situation. If it turns out you are in that situation (again, highly unlikely), you will be just fine.

    • Thanks Katy for your very, very excellent comments and for sharing your experience. I don’t know anyone who has been in this situation before, so your words are immensely encouraging!

      It’s definitely made for a LOT of introspection, but otherwise I’m trying to keep keeping on as usual (although not getting dragged into the SML dramas, so – bonus!)

  3. This must be tremendously stressful for you but I would bear in mind anything really scary would be a “come in immediately as we need to see you”. I’ve had one call back as the breast tissue can be dense (and this has nothing to do with the size of your boobs). Sending best wishes for a speedy resolution!

    • Thank you! This is very good to know – I didn’t know anyone who had a call-back, so this kind of thing is very reassuring.

      I’m hopeful is nothing – and the person I spoke to said it is more likely to be nothing because it’s my first and they have no baseline for me to compare results to.

      Not much I can do anyway, so trying not to focus on it too much – but have developed very little tolerance for any bullshit around me (looking at you SML peeps).

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