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Thursday, December 1, 2011

no boob squishing for me

Well, I didn’t have a mammogram today.

I went to the imaging center this morning, put on a gown, and instead was escorted into a room with an ultrasound tech. This didn’t surprise me too much, because when my doctor discovered my last lump, I had an ultrasound prior to having my mammogram.

Only this time, instead of having a mammogram after the ultrasound, I was sent home. A doctor reviewed my ultrasound and said that, since I was so young and since he didn’t think the scan showed anything too serious, he wouldn’t do a mammogram.

Now most women would be ecstatic to not have their boobs squished, but not me. I told the tech that I had a history of breast lumps, that my last one was not recognizable on an ultrasound or even a mammogram, and that I have a family history of breast cancer.

Apparently, none of that mattered to them. So I got dressed, left, and called my mom. I told her I didn’t feel right about it, and she agreed. She was angry that they blatantly ignored my doctor’s order, and told me to call him. I did, and I explained to the office what happened. They are supposed to call me back and let me know the next step. I made it clear, though. I WANT the mammogram. That's what the doctor ordered; that's what I should get.

I know I don’t have breast cancer, but that doesn’t matter. They don’t have a right to ignore my doctor’s order. It's not their decision to make.

Why do we encourage young women to do self-exams if medical professionals aren’t going to follow up with any concerns? Young women CAN get breast cancer, and god help the 20-something-year-old woman who DOES have cancer and who gets turned away because she’s young. I can only hope that she’s as proactive as I am in her own healthcare.

Update: My doctor is giving me another order form for a mammogram. I also called the imaging center and gave them an earful, also making sure that they didn't bill my insurance for a mammogram. The last thing I need is an insurance fight in all of this. I think I am also going to write a letter to the facility. They need to know that what they did was wrong, and I don't want it to happen to other women.


Rebecca said...

I cannot believe that! When I saw you posting about it on Twitter today I was just livid for you! I am glad you called your doctor about it. Hopefully they will call and get it straightened out and that those techs and the "doctor" that reviewed the ultrasound get severely dealt with. That's just ridiculous. I don't understand how they can just disregard a doctor's order. I mean, that's their JOB, right?

I hope that you do get the mammogram and that it eases your mind. That's got to be so scary.

Jamie said...

I recently had a similar experience when a phlebotomist ignored my doctor's order. I wrote a letter, referring to the patient's bill of rights and pointing out that phlebotomists are not M.D.s and have no authority to override a doctor's orders... The medical group was VERY responsive and apologetic. They were also grateful that I made them aware of the issue.

Maybe you could write something to send to the imaging center. It may very well help save a life if you do... for that 20 something who gets sent home because she's too young to have cancer.

Hope you get your test very soon!

Danielle said...

Wow. That is infuriating! Good for you for advocating for your health, especially when the health care providers don't. Which boggles the mind.

Dawn said...

That really makes me angry! I hate that you always have to fight to receive the medical care you deserve!

JennMusick1 said...

I would be really upset by this. It seems like more and more women are getting breast cancer at a young age..and if you had a doctors ORDER I can't believe they just ignored it! I know it is for peace of mind and they should have at least given you that. *Hugs* girlie!

Rebecca said...

How incredibly obnoxious! What right do they have to deny you care that your doctor believed you need?

Ugh. This can't be easy , can it?

amiracle4us said...

Good job for being your own advocate!! I am an oncology nurse and there are so many young people that are diagnosed. With your family history (not sure how strong etc) would the MD order a breast MRI?

AnotherDreamer said...

When I saw your post on twitter earlier, I was livid too. I get so FRUSTRATED about people saying "you're too young to have x, y, z" because that's RIDICULOUS.

And if your doctor ordered a mammogram, they should have followed through. I don't think they had any right to ignore your order. Just nuts!

Just the Tip said...

Totally ridiculous, but similar to my imaging center experience here in VA. In WV when I saw the breast cancer specialist, they actually did my ultrasound/mammo immediately and admitted me to the hospital. They were VERY professional there, etc.
HERE it was opposite, sounds similar to your experience. They told me my chances of having cancer were basically zero and almost didn't do the mammo at all.
The radiologist came in and did an exam and basically said not to follow up, ever.
Uhm, I had a breast cancer surgeon specialist and a breast surgeon specialist BOTH tell me to have 6 month to yearly checks, so I don't GAF what you think!
This is utterly ridic, and while i'm glad your boobs didn't get any action, they should have!!

AL said...

When I was 25, I had a lump too, had an ultrasound but was told I was too young for a mammogram and went straight to a biopsy. Not fun. Something about my breast tissue being too dense for them to make sense of the scan. But the doctor made that call, NOT the lab. It should be up to your doctor. Good for you for being your own advocate and I hope the next step is all clear!

Amazing how much our healthcare system suuuucks~!

Katie said...

@amiracle4us: That's actually how my first lump was detected. It wasn't seen on the ultrasound or mammogram, but it was seen on the MRI. I think I'll ask my doctor about having the MRIs instead of the mammograms next time I see him.

Jem said...

I had a similar situation in my 20s. My breasts were too dense to see anything. Luckily, it was a non-issue.

Her Royal Fabulousness said...

Hey - Just wanted to let you know I gave you an award!

erika said...

The same thing happened to me when they first investigated my lumps in my early twenties. The radiologist refused the mammogramm order. He said the cost-benefit of the mammogramm at my age argued against it. It is very disappointing that you got turned away without a satisfying explanation! You deserve answers and I hope you will find a better doctor to deliver them soon! So frustrating!

JM said...

Your advocacy pants sure are getting a workout! I am so glad you fought the fight and will end up getting one. Frustrating to have to go back, enormously, because so many women would have just left it at that.

Jen said...

SO glad that you are taking action to communicate how NOT OK that is with the office! It amazes me how often medical professionals try to deny service. I'm not a hypochondriac; I understand my own medical needs. If I want a test, I'm going to get it.


Carol Clement said...

I had plastic surgery in Perth last two years and I think it’s time for me to go through mammogram so I can ensure if my health is still okay. I just don’t know if it’s safe for women like me who have breast implants to have our breasts squished.