It’s been a great week. We held a party for our daughter’s 18th birthday party and no one puked over the cake, got arrested or punched. We were also lucky enough to be invited by Swisse Vitamins to the Welcome Ellen DeGeneres to Melbourne’ party, which was fantastic.
But my biggest reason to pop the champagne was MY BREASTS being given the all clear after some serious testing procedures.
I wrote about the process back on March 6th. How I decided to have a full-on health check, which led to a mammogram, which led to an appointment with a breast specialist. At the time, after the mammogram looked fairly clear, I was a tad peeved with my local GP for then referring me on to a breast specialist. If the ultra-sound and mammogram looked clear, why was that necessary? Surely that was just a waste of time and money? Did I really need MORE people groping my breasts? My cynical journalist brain started imagining it was all part a medical fraternity plan to refer patients on for extra tests, purely to line their pockets.
Not so. The breast specialist I saw, a delightful and thoroughly professional man, Dr Peter Gregory, explained how in fact, mammograms fail to detect cancer in ONE IN FOUR patients. ONE IN FOUR. I was staggered hearing that. I’d imagined mammograms to be foolproof. Then it made sense why my local doctor had sought a second opinion.
Dr Gregory put my mammogram results on a light board and explained what was going on and why he’d like to take a sample for further testing. That’s when the sense of fear returned.
It’s never fun, lying on a bed, knowing a doctor is about to plunge a needle in to your breast to remove some tissue for testing, but I did very much appreciate the serene pictures of Italian coastline plastered to Dr Gregory’s ceiling to distract me and give cause for planning an imaginary holiday in Portofino. More doctors should copy that idea.
But then you have to wait for the results from the lab. Unfortunately I seem to always have tests done just BEFORE the weekend, which only serves to extend the agonising waiting process. I’d advise anyone undergoing medical tests to TRY to have them done on Monday or Tuesday – if possible.
So the GOOD NEWS is that last week, I was given the all clear. However, Dr Gregory gave me a pamphlet to explain further how breast detection works and what to look out for with any changes. He also said I’ll need a mammogram again in six months and six months after that, just to be sure.
Which is TOTALLY fine. I know this is not the most fascinating blog, but I’m putting it out there to encourage others to get to the doctor and have health checks. We all know early detection is the best weapon in the fight against cancer.
I’m so glad I went to Federation Square back in February to see actor Sam Johnson start his epic uni-cycle ride around Australia. Sam took on the challenge after his sister, Connie, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Together, they’ve launched the ‘Love Your Sister’ campaign, to raise money for research and to raise awareness about the importance of getting your breasts checked. Sam and Connie – your message is getting through. THANK YOU.