Today was a day like any other except it was the day I was to have a lump in my breast evaluated. I am not used to being the patient, I am the one who completes the exam, orders the test, reviews the results and discusses the outcome with the patient. This was a different side of the lense, one that made me slightly uncomfortable.
Two weeks ago I found the breast mass, it was something I did not want to make a big deal of. I mean my family history is negative for breast cancer and lots of family members have fibrocystic breast disease. I reviewed in my mind all the possible outcomes but after a week or two of it not resolving I felt it was time for further evaluation.
Today, I went to obtain a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. My experience at the Patewood Campus of the Greenville Health System was a very pleasant one. This was great to experience for myself as I have many patients that go there to obtain their testing. I had no wait time, was escorted back quickly and was greeted by extremely nice technicians. The ladies were exceptionally calm, and patient as this was the first time I had had a mammogram. It was quiet, calm, professional. The procedures were not painful, a little uncomfortable however, but I wanted to obtain a good reading so was happy to accomodate . I obtained results within minutes from the radiologist and am relieved to say that it did not look suspicious for malignancy.
After this experience, I have learned many things. The most important is that breast exams are important, you can find lumps and breast abnormalities and you can have them evaluated in a very simple, efficient, and effective way. Second, I have a better perspective of what my patients experience when I ask them to obtain their yearly mammogram. Finally, illness and disease are scary things, especially when it is yourself and I will never forget the moment I became the patient and what that felt like.