The proverbial “they” say that you’re supposed to have your first mammogram at 40 unless you have a history of breast cancer in your family (I don’t). So if you’re under 40 I’m guessing that you’re not planning to have one done until the very last minute. At least that’s what I did.
Turns out I can make a full day out of feeling completely humiliated at the doctor’s office by combining my first mammogram with my annual gynecologist appointment. Nobody enjoys this appointment so I figured why not just get it over with all in one day at one location. Awesome (she says completely sarcastically).
Conducting the mammogram was a technician who was very nice and made the experience as emotionally painless as possible. She explained to me that it’s not uncommon for first-timers (something I haven’t been referred to in quite some time) to get called in for a follow up. And that’s exactly what happened to me.
Surprise… you have to go to somewhere else to have said follow-up mammogram done. So now I’m running all over the freakin’ city during a work day because heaven forbid any of these places is conveniently open on a Saturday for the billions of women who actually work outside of the home for a living. Fine, whatever… appointment made for lunch time.
I had my follow up mammogram which is the most physically uncomfortable thing you can imagine happening to your breasts. In fact, it might have been easier to just stand on my head while they continued to contort my body in directions that it doesn’t naturally go.
Done? Not so fast… come back in 6 months for another follow up. Really?
Went back in for my cirque du soleil mammogram follow up to my follow up and now, I have to have an ultra sound. Fortunately, I can have it right then and there, no rescheduling, no more time off, but more humiliation… at this point I’m immune – heap it on. And now… I have to have a biopsy. Freaking out? Just a little bit… sitting in my car in the parking lot of the mammo-center crying.
The stress does not end here… in fact, THIS is where the train jumps the tracks. Apparently I can’t be trusted to call “the surgeon” to make my own appointment. So here I am waiting for the mammo-center to call my doctor who will then make an appointment FOR me. Really? I get it (sort of), there are people who just wouldn’t follow through with the biopsy, but I’m now 41-freakin’ years old… I can make my own appointment! But then the staff at my doctor’s office would miss out on the tremendous opportunity to make a VERY stressful situation even MORE stressful.
Here’s how it went down:
Got a call on Monday morning from doctor’s office (DO)…
DO: I’m going to be calling the surgeon to schedule your biopsy. Is there a day that will absolutely not work for you?
DO: Would you prefer something after 1:00?
DO: Okay, we’ll schedule it and let you know when your appointment is.
Clearly they’ve collected enough detailed information to schedule an appointment for me. I’m still unsure why I’m not able to schedule my own appointment, but apparently, this is how it’s done.
I got a call back about an hour later…
DO: You’re consultation is tomorrow and if you have to have a biopsy it will be Thursday.
ME: Wait, now you’re telling me that I have to take time off of work twice?
DO: Well, you said you preferred an appointment after 1:00.
ME: Correct me if I’m wrong, but you didn’t say anything about the possibility that this wouldn’t all be taken care of in one appointment.
DO: I guess I can call them back and reschedule and get back to you.
ME: Thank you.
And I’m certain she can hear the seething anger in my voice.
One hour later…
DO (different person): You have an appointment Friday 15th at 12:30 with Dr. xxxxxx (gives the address), and if you have to have a biopsy, it will be at 2:00.
ME: Fine. Thank you.
Two hours later…
DO: I was just calling to confirm the date of your appointment; I think I told you Friday the 15th.
ME: You did.
DO: I’m sorry, it’s actually Friday the 13th. I just wanted to confirm that with you.
ME: I assumed that, but thanks for calling to be sure.
DO: Oh, also, you need to take your CD with you.
ME: My what?
DO: Your CD from the mammo-center.
ME: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
DO: You need to go to the mammo-center before your appointment and pick up the CD of your images.
ME: Well, that’s kind of important information. Was someone going to tell me that before Friday?
DO: I thought someone already had.
ME: Umm, no… they did not. And furthermore, the appointment was originally scheduled for tomorrow. What would have happened if I didn’t have the CD?
And at this point, I’m hopeful she can hear the seething anger in my voice.
Now I have to wait until Friday (did I mention it’s Friday the 13th?) afternoon to have my consultation / biopsy (if necessary) and then three business days to hear the results. So yeah… it’s likely to be a stress free, feel-good weekend. Anyone want to hang out? I’m sure I’ll be great company. You can find me at home, on the sofa, under a blanket with my dog.