Happy, happy tits!

I woke up yesterday morning after a night of fitful sleep, and surreal dreams that emulated the crazy thoughts that had been swirling around my head for the last week. I was totally wound up and emotional, dreading my appointment, convinced that I wouldn’t keep my coffee and valium down.
The clinic was running late because someone was on holiday, but I found some trashy glossy magazine to read and looked at the pictures. I’d taken a book, but I just couldn’t concentrate on reading it. Bitching about Callista Flockheart’s dress was easy…
I think it was the Nurse Manager who examined me – she told me who she was, and I approved, but can I hell remember what she said. She was really nice though. Soothing, calming yet not condescending. My husband came into the exam room with me, and sat by the door looking like he was about to puke. The Nurse went through a form with me that they’d given me to fill in – everything on it was in Dr H’s referral letter, but they made me write it all out again, because the consultant “preferred going by a set format” or something. Of course, the abuse history was all in that letter, and I didn’t want to take any chances. At the bottom of the form, I wrote in capital letters: “please note: history of childhood sexual abuse” and “panic attack sufferer”. It worked, because the Nurse was brilliant in explaining things.
She did a physical exam, which was just the same as Dr H’s. She chattered to me the whole time, telling me that she could feel the lump, but it didn’t feel like anything that could be bad. She said lots of women had lumpy breasts naturally, but said I did the right thing for getting it checked out.
As I got dressed she said she’d speak to the consultant and tell him what she’d found. She said normally on a patient’s first visit, the consultant wanted to do an exam himself, but given the circumstances, he was happy for her to do the exam and report back.
When she came back, she said that they were almost certain that it was just a benign lump, maybe an inflamed mammory gland. They said they wouldn’t do a mammo, because 1) it probably wouldn’t show anything up because my breast tissue is too dense, and 2) it wasn’t worth putting me through exams that I didn’t need, given my history. So, no needles, no ultrasound. That was it. They said to keep an eye on it, but don’t self-exam too often!
I’m grateful that Dr H told me what I could expect. It helped me feel in control of the situation. Since I saw her and she made the clinic appointment, I’ve told myself “it’s my body, I know I need to get it checked out, but I can always say no…” Self empowerment is vital for abuse survivors, and believe me, it really helps to know that you are in control, and can say “no” at any time. The fact that the nurse explained everything she was going to do and why was such a help, and my telling the clinic about my history was vital. At the end of the day, I could have kept quiet about it, and gone through private hell while a male doctor examined me. As it was, I said something, and was met with fantastic empathy and caring.
I would encourage anyone in a similar situation to do the same.

One thought on “Happy, happy tits!

  1. Glad to hear that everything turned out fine. And that a stressful situation was turned around to a positive one by being open with your situation. Yay!

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