All aboard the mammography bus? The ride that saved my life!


This is a bus similar to the one that detected my breast cancer.It does not matter how you get it, just do it!!

I have not told how my breast cancer was found. Believe it or not it was found while I was having  few paid hours off of work and a couple of laughs with friends. Where I work they offer a mammography bus comes 3 times a year to the employees who work there. I was just 35 turning 36 I knew I was eligible for a base line mammo. (I work with insurance, other wise I would not have had a clue,). My coworker and I kept calling to sign up for exam and no one was returning our calls. I was in no rush, there was no family history, I have no lumps bumps or other things in my boobs. How could anything be wrong with mine, I just had my 1 year anniversary and was looking towards the future. Finally my coworker Pat complained so much found someone to finally make an appointment with. Pat then turned to me and said, “here take the phone its your turn”.

Our appointments where set for December 10th 2010, this is my day that will live in infamy…December 10th was like every other day to me, rushing to get my son out of the house to the bus on time.I am rushing to get something to eat and beat the traffic to work. That day, that afternoon, little did I know my life would change forever. Now I am not gonna lie, I was a little nervous since I was a mammo virgin, I mean most virgins are. My two coworkers assured me it would be fine and not hurt. So I climbed up the stairs filled out some papers to give consent and was told to step into what I can only describe as the smallest dressing room on the planet, I could barely unhook my bra in that shoe box of a room! The entire time I keep thinking “I wonder if anyone outside can see in?”, apparently not cause man would they have gotten an eye full lol.

Next tech explained to me the process and how to get adjusted in the most difficult positions to get the best films.(I don’t think a contortionist  could have pulled off some of these moves!)She finished my first round and stepped back to take a look at them. I tried to wrench my neck to see them (like I would know if I could see them what anything ment, just look like a bunch of spider webbs to me, maybe they were scanning my brain instead???lol). The tech said my right side needed more pictures that she wanted to get some clearer shots. At that time nothing in my mind clicked that something could be wrong, so I got dressed and went about my life for the next two weeks.

This was the winter we had that terrible blizzard right before Christmas. I think it was God’s way of intervening for me to have a Merry Christmas, because we couldn’t shovel out to mail box for two days. But when I did I received a letter in the mail from the mammography bus stating they found a density and would require further testing. What is a density? I know I can be dense in the head sometimes, are they insulting my breasts??? no can’t be. So I get online and google density of the breasts. From what I read at my age women have dense breast and it appears white on a  mammograph. Ok, this does not sound so bad, right? I call my
GYN and get a script for a mammo and an ultrasound for the second week of January 2011, great a new year I already have to start using my vacation days ugh, so much for my trip to St. John’s in the spring!!

I go to the breast center at my local hospital figuring this is as good as any place to go. I mean I already had one done in a parking lot at my work, how bad could this place be! I find myself once again in a strange place getting undressed (I know what your thinking, get your mind out of the gutter!! I am no that kind of girl! Lol) Anyway the tech is going though my medical history and asked when was my last cycle? It had been a few months, however I knew I was not pregnant. Less than a year ago, 3 months after my wedding I had suffered a ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy) and was rushed to surgery, I lost the baby and my falopian tube. After telling the tech that it was a few months they said the would not do the mammo, they needed a blood test to confirm no pregnancy. I asked her to please do the ultrasound since I took the day off. This was cleared with the Radiologist, little did I know my journey with the big “C” word would began.
I was now introduced to a new tech who only does breast ultrasounds. I was told to lay down on the table and it would just take a few mins. Those few mins ended up taking forever. Not knowing if this was normal, I now wait to have the doctor come in (great another person to feel me up!). He came in sat in the techs seat and started his own ultrasound, checking and rechecking. He seemed to be a very nice man, well dressed ,reserved and kind.( I guess you really can not be a jerk when it comes to dealing with women that are riddled with anxiety and hormones (I bet he’s a married man lol).He seemed to be measuring something. He then stopped and put his hand on mine and said “has anyone told you that you have a large mass?”. At that moment my stomach dropped, I felt like I was on free fall and just crashed into the bottom. I was not prepared to hear MASS, especially large mass! Maybe its a mistake,maybe he is calling my boob a large mass, I mean they are quite large lol. The next thing he told me I need a biopsy and would need to see a breast surgeon asap. I gathered my things, walking out of the breast center and stared to cry. How could I have the “C” word??? I am to young! I just got married! I just lost my father! I just lost a pregnancy! This is just not right!!! Little did I know the “C” word would become a regular part of my vocabulary.
(just a little side note about this picture. First off this patient is waaaaaaay to happy for this procedure, not like she’s having a martini and a pedi.  Usually you are having this done because they found something.Most of the time when I am there I am praying they don’t  see anything. On the positive side this does not hurt at all 🙂 )
  The next day I go to work and share the news with my coworkers,they are in shock. I then realize this could be a teachable moment!! (Ok I am no Oprah but maybe someone can learn something here!) I said to my friend Jess, “hey you wanna feel my mass??“). So off it was to the lady’s room. My mass is on the right side on the closer side towards my armpit, so no reason to take my blouse off. As people walked in they looked at us like we had ten heads lol! I admit walking into the lady’s room at work you don’t expect to see someone with their hand down another persons shirt! However when they did walk in we explained I probably have breast cancer and I was letting Jess feel what it felt like, because if I had no clue what a mass felt like I knew other people didn’t either. Believe it or not a few others wanted to feel and see what it was. Out of a really crappy thing something positive!!! I have now shown people what a mass feels like and hopefully educated them so they will not have to take this bus ride I now am on.

About chemobrainandmore

My name is Heather and I am now 39 yrs old living at the Jersey shore. I was diagnosed Jan 2011 with stage II A breast cancer right after my 36th birthday. Sadly I was married for just a year at the time.I had four rounds of chemo 33 round of radiation a lumpectonly and MANY ,MANY biopsies. As if that was not enough I ended up having a total hysterectomy summer of 2012. And then this past July 2013 I under went a bilateral mastectomy and I am still under going reconstruction. I am a mom, a wife and a survivor! I have had more ups and downs then I have fingers and toes! But through it all I have had a smile on my face and try to laugh my way through it all. I have done two Strides Walk for breast cancer and I am extremely proud of how much I have raised ( I made pacesetter status!) I enjoy laughing and making people laugh, and if my blog can shed some light on cancer and make one person laugh at ,or with me ,then the fight has been worth it. Thank you for reading about my life and taking a ride with me on this journey. Feel free to reach out to me, I love being able to pay it forward and help others!

2 responses »

  1. I thought you boob felt just fine!!! It is scary because our breasts are naturally bumpy so I was clueless… i should have shoved a dollar in your bra!!! lmao

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