I have to confess that until recently I had been surprisingly naive about Breast Cancer awareness. I have always been conscious of self checks each month and having the doctor check every 2 years ... you know, when the dreaded Pap Smear comes due and between us had not found anything.
Well this year I got a letter from BreastScreen letting me know that now I'm 50, mammograms are free and that I should have one every 2 years. So of course I made my booking and had them done in July. They said that I should get the results in a letter from them in about 2 weeks. No letter came. More weeks went by and still no letter. Then came the phone call - they had found a lump and that I needed to come in ASAP for more mammograms and ultrasounds. Unfortunately my call came on a Friday evening and my appointment wasn't until the following Tuesday - needless to say it seemed like forever until I was in the Breast Screen waiting room at their Screening & Assessment Service in the East Bentleigh Monash Medical Centre. The room was filled with ladies going through the same process as me and there wasn't much in the way of idle chit-chat. I was advised by one of the nurses of what would happen during my visit, starting with more mammograms, then some ultrasounds and if needed, biopsies. Unfortunately, although the extra scans confirmed a large lump, the surgeon was not available for the biopsies that day, so we had to wait until the Friday to have the biopsy samples taken. Once again, a nurse explained the process in detail and they were there with me every step of the way. They were so supportive and caring, talking to me during the procedure and giving me some gentle, reassuring pats too. Another long weekend of waiting until my Tuesday results appointment came due. I was one of the lucky ones and my results came back OK. I still have a tiny titanium clip marking the spot to make it easier for them during my future mammograms. Yes, time for another confession, when the surgeon gave me the all-clear, I burst in to tears - it was such a relief.
I really have to tell you all that I was very lucky during this time too!!!
My wonderful, amazing, supportive husband was suffering through this stressful time with me, from the moment of that initial phone call, through so many sleepless nights until that Tuesday when the all-clear results finally came through. Then came our time to share overwhelming relief together, followed by a joyous phone call to my parents. Thank You Anthony!!!
Now comes my word of advice to you all. I didn't know that you could have mammograms free-of-charge with BreastScreen from the age of 40.
So I am here to tell you to
go and book your BreastScreen appointment NOW!!!
Get into the routine of regular screening, it makes it a lot easier for them to assess your results when they have your previous scans on file.
- phone BreastScreen Victoria on 132050
- visit them on the web www.breastscreen.org.au
If you know of someone who is turning 40 or has already hit that milestone, have a conversation about Breast Cancer awareness with them, let them know that free, regular screening is available for them and that they should book their BreastScreen appointment as soon as they can, DON'T WAIT until you turn 50 and they start sending letters. The technology is absolutely amazing, the ladies from the reception desk, nurses, technicians and surgeons are so supportive and caring, helping you through the process every step of the way.
Now for the lighter, crafty side of my recent experiences. One of the waiting rooms I got to visit several times had the most beautiful quilt on display and of course I whipped my camera out of my bag and took some photos - here is one of the pretty pink blocks
With Pink Ribbon Day coming up on the 22nd of October, I wanted to send a special Thank You to the lovely BreastScreen ladies (especially Nurse Rose) to let them know just how much they are appreciated and will be sending this card their way. Fiskars tools used include my green Self Healing Craft Mat, Finger-Tip Craft Knife and the lovely LE Daisy Lever punch.
EARLY DETECTION IS THE BEST PROTECTION
If you see someone selling Pink Ribbon merchandise, make sure you buy some pens or pins etc - all the money goes towards the search for the cure.
PS - if any of you want to talk or ask more about my experience, just leave a comment below to let me know and I will be more than happy to contact you.