Breast Cancer Community
Thank you for this forum and advocating for yourself
About This Community:

This patient support community is for discussions relating to breast cancer, biopsy, genetics, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, lumps, lumpectomy, lymph node dissection, lymphedema, mammograms, mastectomy, radiation therapy, reconstruction, and self exams.

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Thank you for this forum and advocating for yourself

I just want to start off my membership here with thanking the site owners for making this forum available, but even bigger thanks to all who have been participating and sharing their experiences. Since my initial diagnosis I have been silently reading your posts and gaining lots of knowledge, power and confidence because of all of you. Thank you all  -- your words have been a huge help to me.

I was called back after my last mammogram to have additional views taken and told that I could get back in, in 2 weeks. I told the scheduler, "No way, I'm not waiting that long," and reminded her that this involved the possibility of breast cancer. Somehow, an appt. for 3 days later suddenly became available for me.

I was told that I have micro-calcifications (all clumped together in one area in the upper left breast near the armpit) and need a wire guided core biopsy. I am 49, had a full hysterectomy 2 years ago and have been on hormone replacement therapy. I have never had any breast problems before, and no family history of cancer of any kind -- until the day I found I out I needed a biopsy, I also learned my 56 year old sister was diagnosed with lymphoma. I was so shocked about all these developments, that I became so emotionally upset and stressed that I came down with strep throat, which is very painful in adults.

I was sent to the surgeon that my ob-gyn referred me to, who had a really horrible bedside manner (entered the room complaining about having to wait on hold for a nurse saying, "Me, hold for a nurse? I don't think so.") and then went on to boast that he had a, "busy breast practice and just did 3 mastectomies last week," and then topped that with answering his cell phone in the middle of our consult, which turned out to be his engineer son asking if he could borrow a blood pressure cuff - hardly an emergency, and no apologies for answering the phone. We scheduled the surgery and then I promptly went about finding someone else.

Found a great female surgeon whose approach towards me was completely different - she asked me tons of questions about history, diet and lifestyle, that the first guy didn't even ask. I voiced my belief about the mind-body connection and my emotional and psychological health playing a key role in my recovery and general health, and she agreed wholeheartedly and even shared some stories of her own.

I share this because of what I've read about some of you who have been pushed around by the medical system. I have to say from personal experience, no one will advocate for you, like you will. You have to speak up for yourself and yes, be polite the first time around, but if that doesn't work, escalate, escalate, escalate up the chain of command as if your life depends on it, because it does!

Please, never be ashamed, embarrassed, timid or worry about retribution if you have to demand appointments or simply move on to another doctor who accommodates your particular needs.  I learned this while taking care of my aging mother who could not advocate for herself. It seemed like every medical mistake that could be made with my mom, was made. My husband and I had to take issues right up to office managers, clinical care managers, and hospital administrators, and let me tell you, the more you calmly demand they do, "The Right Thing," the more polite and responsive they become. No disrespect meant to any health care workers here, but we are all human, capable of mistakes, and our society has been trained to regard medical staff as authority figures in general, and that we should not offend them in any way. This is not realistic, and  we can't afford that kind of stress.

I'm having the biopsy on the 17th and I'm doing my best to stay positive, and have my good moments and bad.

Again, thank you to all who are sharing their experiences here, they have helped me immensely. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you.
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