The Passive Cancer Patient
She said, Did you ask your oncologist what she thought about the calcifications?
I said, No, I forgot.
Then I thought better of it and thought maybe I had asked. I said, I think I did. I keep forgetting about it.
She said, It seems you either are at zero, not worrying at all, or way up here, thinking about dying. You need to be able to tolerate a 3, to do what you need to do.
She said, It takes energy for you to forget about it, because you're not really forgetting, it's in the back of your mind.
She told me how she went to four doctors who all said she didn't have cancer. The breast surgeon told her she was a hysterical female.
She waited a month or two and finally insisted on surgery and of course it was malignant.
She reported the doctor to the board of whatever, but there were no consequences.
The form the Breast Experts gave me in June and December and in June again said "calcifications that are probably benign." The radiologist in December said I could have an MRI if I wanted but warned me about false positives.
Now, she said cancer begins as calcifications, if it bothers you, you need to do something about it. She said, It's labor-intensive for them to read MRIs, that's why they don't like to do them. And: it's labor-intensive to do a biopsy using ultrasound and they don't make much profit from it. She said Fancy Hospital was on the TV news because they had a backlog of mammogram patients and they didn't have enough radiologists though they promised to get more.
A local TV station reported earlier this month that at Fancy Hospital, women have to wait between 8 months and a year to schedule a mammogram. ABC7 checked with six other hospitals in the area and all were able to schedule a mammogram within a few weeks.
Fancy says that there's a shortage of radiologists.
But it seems to be restricted to only one block in the city.
Calcifications can be malignant--they don't turn malignant, they can begin that way. "Probably benign" can mean that there's an 80-98 percent chance that they're benign. MSN reports: Please note that some specialists may prefer additional testing (breast MRI, biopsy, etc.) while others may be more conservative. A lot has to do with your personal or family breast health history.
I still think the calcifications are not cancerous. But I don't know for sure. I emailed my surgeon's nurse and asked for an MRI. She wrote back today and said that she sent over the order, that I should call the MRI division and make an appointment, that it would take a few days to get precertification, but that insurance might not pay for it.
Because it's elective, I suppose. But it's not like I'm doing it for vanity. And it's odd--usually the doctors prescribe extensive tests to CYA.
There's a blog written by The Assertive Cancer Patient.
This is not that.