Three years ago last month, I finally put off the inevitable and went in for my first mammogram. It was a day before my 44th birthday. According to my doctor, who badgered me every time I saw him, although I was four years late, he was happy I put myself first and went in.
They found spots. I wrote about it here and here: Thankfully, I got the all clear, and after two years of semi-annual mammograms, I'm back to going every year. And I do go every year because it scared the crap out of me.
This time around, it's no longer a mammogram issue. It's a likely you-are-going-though-menopause issue. I'll be blunt (please forgive me for any and all men that read this), I've had my period for 50 of the last 52 days. By all accounts, I should probably be dead. No one should bleed this much! (I'm sorry to my husband and kids too for the fallout from this).
I contacted my doctor like a good patient to ask about what he thinks it might be. His answer ranged from perimenopause, to although you've lost weight you still need to lose more and that's what's causing it, to I'm sure it's nothing to worry about and it is normal for someone your age.
First of all, doc: Yes, I know it might be perimenopause. I have hot flashes in the middle of the night, when for the last 40+ years I was perpetually cold. I go through pajamas like my kids go through workout gear. I'm a raving lunatic and everything sets me off on a crying jag - no matter if it is a lost puppy or crying after watching a horror movie. Secondly, fuck you. I'm trying. You have me on thyroid meds for my underactive thyroid. No shit I can't lose weight. Lastly, had I been in a room with you when you said 'someone your age' I probably would have throat punched you.
A week ago last Monday, he told me I had nothing to worry about, but if I wanted a second opinion, he would recommend a gynecologist. So he did, and I scheduled an appointment, but they couldn't see me until July 31st. Ok, fine. I can deal with that. Fast forward to last Friday morning, and his nurse called me to tell me one of the gyno's had an opening July 5th, and that they want me to come in right away, so I made the appointment. And then I waited though the holiday weekend. I tried not to think about it, but I was / am worried. At any given time when the thought of cancer comes up, it becomes this surreal moment in time. My father died from colon cancer, my father in law from complications of stomach cancer. My dad lived with it for years and the day he was schedule to have the tumor removed, he died before they even cut him open. My father in law had likely been living with it for years as well. He went into the hospital for stomach issues and 15 days later he passed away.
This morning I headed to the appointment, and I was really nervous, which isn't me. Doctor visits never concerned me; I don't faint when they draw blood; and pain is never really an issue. Needless to say, one endometrial biopsy later (actually three today because she just wasn't getting the samples she needed), and I fully believe it hurt worse than the the two cesarean sections I had and the stereotactic biopsy I went through four three years ago. (Side note, that hurt too, kind of like putting your boob in a vice grip and have a stranger take a dozen samples with a tool that sounds like an impact wrench. I was so black and blue you'd swear I had been run over by a herd of elephants).
Now the waiting game begins again. It will be at least five days before I get the results. Am I worried. Yes. No. Maybe. Whatever it is, it is out of my control. I'm going to try to have faith that it is nothing serious, that can be remedied with a little more medication.
So why write about this? Maybe, just maybe, if one of you are on the fence with going in for an appointment, because you push it off over and over again, this might change your mind.