Saturday, October 18, 2008

Time to take care of the breasts!

Where does the time go? I did manage to work on my memoir some this morning, but the rest of the day filled up with running, workout, getting my hair cut, doing laundry, making dinner, and now here it is almost six o’clock! It would be great to have a maid do all this work! Enough whining for now…

Thursday was my mammogram and first ever breast MRI. I’ve been receiving mammograms since I was 30 as a precautionary measure (due to my family history), but this year I switched my OB/GYN down to Johns Hopkins since my old doctor didn’t think MRIs were necessary for me. Although I don’t have a medical degree, I’m intelligent enough to read and decipher medical news and research. I’ve known for awhile that MRIs and/or ultrasounds should be used in addition to regular mammograms for women who have dense breasts (and mine are VERY dense), so I got pretty annoyed when my old doctor wouldn’t go for it. Once I transferred to Johns Hopkins they asked, “Why wouldn’t you get an MRI?” I knew I had made the right decision in coming to them.

Both technicians I saw that day commented that my breasts were extremely dense. While it’s wonderful have firm, youthful breasts, it makes reading mammograms and MRIs a bitch (i.e. it’s difficult to make out cancer because it all blends together). The MRI was only suppose to last 30 minutes but ended up taking an hour because the technician had such a hard time getting a decent picture. The digital mammogram was cool because I could see the results right there on the computer screen. I discovered I have a calcification deposit in my left breast and based on what I have researched, it is a macrocalcification deposit (not linked to breast cancer development). The films for both the mammogram and MRI had to be sent to the main office for diagnosis and I should receive results in about a week. Tomorrow is the Komen Race for the Cure here in Baltimore and this year my sister Sharon and my niece Ellen will be going with me and Charlie. We’ll be there bright and early at 6 am!

After my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 13, I made a pact with myself to always stay on top of my health and to take all precautionary measures possible when it comes to breast health. I received genetic testing this summer (for the BRCA 1 and 2 genes) and the results came back negative. It’s good news for me, but doesn’t pull me out of the weeds completely. Since my mom and aunt were never tested for the genes (it wasn’t even heard of when both were alive), my results can either mean that neither of them carried the gene, or they may have carried the gene I just didn’t inherit it. Neither of my sisters wants to get tested because they rather not know. I personally think that is crazy, but to each her own. I’d rather know and take all measures possible to prevent it than to discover it one day and have limited options.

Here’s to a good run tomorrow!!

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