Monday, April 6, 2009

Guess What I Did Today?

I went to the clinic today as Ive been putting off something that needed doing for awhile now. In case your not aware from the pictures I went to have my breast examined.

Im reluctant to admit that the last time I had them checked was probably at least 4 years ago. I realize Im "only" 40 but there is a history of breast cancer in my family and so I should be a hell of a lot more diligent about keeping my check ups up to date.

Its just one of those things I keep promising myself to do next week and never do. So many other seemingly more "important" things that got in the way of my scheduling a check up. However, recently I realized I couldnt put it off any longer as certain symptoms have popped up that need investigating pronto. So off I went...

Now I dont know about other women but the one mammogram I have had was extremely painful. I am about a 40c and having that squished into a pancake that you could slide easily under a door is not without considerable pain. Doesnt seem fair when men basically just have to turn their head and cough (or so most comedy shows would have us believe). Would be nice if they had to have something or other squished to pancake size...then see how happy they are to have

Anyhow, I went to a clinic that has several different offices with doctors practicing different specialties all under one roof. I informed the receptionist that I wanted to see a gyno doc and she filled my paperwork and I waited my turn.

When I walked into his office he immediately tried to put me at ease with small talk and a bit of charm. I dont mind small talk and charm at all...but as I looked around his office I didnt notice much in the way of advertisement for his field of practice. No gyno charts or pictures of how to perform a breast exam etc....nothing. After getting the small talk out of the way I asked him what his specialty was...he stopped smiling and just looked at me. I added that I couldnt tell just from looking at the walls..and wanted to make sure I was in the right office (happened to me before).

When he didnt answer as fast as I would have liked I asked him again..."what sort of doctor are you?" He answered, "a human doctor"...well ok then...breathing easier now. I laughed just to set him at ease as I felt he was somewhat offended...and explained that I just wanted to make sure I was in the right some embarrassment. He relaxed and we got on with the exam.

Now the reason I asked him was because way back in the day when I first arrived in Bahrain at the tender age of 18...newly married...newly pregnant...and newly culture shocked into near silence...I visited a clinic for an earache. The doctor had charts all over his office indicating his specialty was for ENT...but for some reason when I informed him I was pregnant so any medications he prescribed should keep that in mind...he immediately had me lay on the exam table and did a full breast exam (nothing at all like this doctor did today) and took his time about it as well. Of course my newbie status in a foreign newbie status as a pregnant woman and the sort of exams that go with that etc...and my ongoing lifelong status of not questioning the things that happened to me whether I agreed with them or not...kept me quiet throughout...even though I was extremely uneasy and was almost sure something wasnt kosher here.

After he declared me "cancer free" I left...went home...informed husband of the free breast exam I was just given by an ENT doctor...which caused husband to drive back to the clinic and chase Gyno impostor down the corridors and out into the parking lot where he taught him how to take an ass kicking...even though he wasnt really a boxer. I wanted to make sure there was no mix-up and that the doc was who or what he was supposed to be...fool me once shame on me as ...they say.

I had a regular breast exam today and will get the mammogram tomorrow...ugh!...but I realized that Im just being lazy and stupid by delaying this exam. There is a history of breast cancer in my family and Im a single parent to young children that depend on me and my good (decent) health for as long as they need me.

*btw I encourage all women to get their breasts examined on a regular basis. Breast cancer has a high cure rate if its caught early.


Chiara said...

That ENT guy gives Drs a bad name.

If it is any comfort men seem to really dislike, and should have, rectal exams of the prostate.

You are right about regular breast exams (and regular self-exams), especially if there is a family history, and that early detection gives the best prognosis.

Amazing pancake maker that mammogram machine!

Yasemin said...

I've been blurking here for some time CoolRed.

Mashallah, this is a very nice post, and I for one will now be getting examined at 30 because of it. You are brave to face the mammogram and I'm proud of you. Just want to say thank you, you are proof that being a single mom is a huge inspiration. (I'm headed towards that fate with my Syrian husband.)

The Queen said...

I hope all is well with your exam.

coolred38 said...

Chiara...I think married couples should make it a couples day out and go have both exams done on the same day...just to encourage each other and keep up to date etc.

Lisa...Im glad it inspired you to think about your health...we all should take care of ourselves alot more then we generally do. to. thank you

Suroor said...

Thanks for this reminder, Cool. I had a pap smear 10 years ago! *Don't look at me like that* :D

coolred38 said...

Suroor...tsk tsk...of course its been about 4 years since my last one...but on the other hand I havent had a whole lot of (read...almost none...divorced over 2 years...fighting like cats and dogs for nearly 2 years before you do he math)...ermmmm..."fun" in the past 3 maybe Im exempt?

ok ok...will schedule mine while going for my mammogram...but you too ok

Angry In Oman said...

Good for you CoolRed! Breast exams are so important! I have had one every year since I was 16. Better safe then sorry. Not a mammogram mind you but I think I would rather that then a stranger's finger up the duff!

marianna68 said...

I had my first mammo this year to get back in the National Guard (women 40 and over have to) and it HURT! I mean HURT...I am a 36B so there isn't much to squish but GOD it hurt! But it has to be done. They found a cyst but wasn't cancer when they did the follow up. When I got the letter in the mail saying a "mass" was found man did I cry...but mom told me these types of cysts run in the family and when I went in to get the follow up I saw a fluid filled sac on the monitor. Now, if it had been gray...different outcome would have resulted.

Glad your ex (though he was a cad) kicked that imposter's ass.....I would have kicked his ass for sure also if I found out the doc was doing something nefarious.

Glad everything turned out well! :^)

coolred38 said...

Hey Sabra..definitely prefer exams to potential "duff" probes...but I hear women gotta do those two oh man dont look forward to that little gem of a time.

Marianne...ah 36B...reminds me of my military days...back when I still had a body that didnt resemble the Pillsbury Doughboy...sigh!!! Yes...he did kick ass for me when I needed it...but kicked mine as it sort of negated his "good" deeds...argh!

Chiara said...

Coolred--a good suggestion to make it a couple's health day out. Could also follow it by a nice social night out.

Paps--do them yearly no matter what else is or is not going on down there!

Mammograms--somehow no matter what you've got up top, making a pancake out of it is painful, and horrifying to look at (I thought one technician was going to try to incorporate lung tissue she was so determined to make a large crepe out of my too meagre provisions)--better than a mastectomy though!

Naseem said...

lucky doctor ;)

lol jkkkkkkkk. that's a great thing to do though. the arab genes didn't go to my chest so i've been cursed with a small rack. so i always think i can examine myself but maybe i should go to the doctor just to be safe.

have a fun time with the mammy! lol

coolred38 said...

Just a note to say I had it wasnt nearly as bad as I remembered...but still hurt quite a lot. I have a "small" problem at the moment that needs some attention so will keep track of that...but I hope nothing too serious.

Chiara...your right about the on my "to do" list should examine yourself at least once a month...this allows you to get use to the way your breasts feel and look...that way if something abnormal ever shows up you will realize its abnormal and be alerted to it.

Chiara said...

Breast self exams should be done once a month at the same time each month. That enables you to report anything unusual to the doctor before your routine medical exam/mammogram.

Excellent how to site from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation:

coolred38 said...

Thanks for the info Chiara.

Chiara said...

You're welcome.