Wednesday, January 4, 2012

mammogram #2: denied

As mentioned in my previous post, I attempted to have a mammogram done (again) and this time I was outright denied.

I scheduled the second mammogram at a different facility, a hospital instead of an imaging center. This is because I've been to this hospital several times, and I've never once had a bad experience there. When I called to make the appointment for the mammogram, I even stated that I was coming to the hospital to have the mammogram done with them because I was denied the service at the imaging center. I explicitly stated that I'd already had a breast ultrasound done and ONLY needed the mammogram.

Imagine my surprise when I arrive at the radiology desk to check in last Wednesday morning and find myself scheduled for an ultrasound. Why? Because I'm again listed as "too young" to have a mammogram. I spent about five minutes arguing with the lady at the desk, who was relaying messages from the radiology team. Bottom line? They weren't going to give a 26-year-old a mammogram.

The difference between this attempt and attempt #1 is that, this time, I didn't walk away quietly. I instead headed downstairs to the concierge desk and asked to speak with someone higher up in radiology. They sent down the lead technician, who explained for what felt like the millionth time that they wouldn't do a mammogram on someone under the age of 30 unless they did an ultrasound first. But I HAD an ultrasound done. What if I went and got those images? Didn't matter, she said. They would still want to do an ultrasound there.

So I said I would have an ultrasound there, even if my insurance didn't cover it (since I'd already had one done once earlier in the month), if they would do a mammogram. She went back to the radiologist, who gave his final word on the matter: NO. They would not do a mammogram on me. When I asked, "So are you now denying me a mammogram all together?" (Something they argued they weren't doing this entire point up until now.) She finally admitted, Yes.

The drive home was miserable. I called my doctor in tears. Then I called Joey in tears. Then I called my mom in tears. Finally, I calmed down enough to call the American Cancer Society's local office - a suggestion from several of my awesome IF friends on Twitter. They gave me the name of another imaging center that might be able to help. Meanwhile, they told me they would investigate these so-called age policies further.

The third facility initially said no, that they would not do a mammogram, but they changed their mind when I told them I had a family history and a personal history with breast lumps. I have one scheduled there in a couple of weeks. Yet I can't help feel hesitant that it still may not happen, or that I may have to put up another fight about it. I felt so hesitant and so disgusted by my experience, that I also contacted another local resource - the news. A producer called me 30 minutes after I sent them an email, and about 24 hours later, they sent an investigative reporter to my house to talk to me about my experience. To be honest, I regretted sending the email the moment I got the call. I've fought for so long against my infertility that I'm not sure I have another health related fight in me. But it's over and done with. What I want is for my mammogram to be over and done with, too.

So there you have it: the soap opera continues. Let's hope it ends on February 1 with my next appointment, or I'll be changing the name of my blog to General Hospital.

23 comments:

amiracle4us said...

That is nuts!! I am an oncology nurse and have never heard of someone being denied a mammogram based on age!! There are TONS of women in there 20's with breast cancer. I am proud you went to the news. I know it is 'one more thing' to fight, but you may be helping another 20 something year old that does have cancer get diagnosed a little bit eariler and a little bit easier.

Stephanie said...

I haven't been keeping up to know why you need a mammogram, but my mom had breast cancer and her doctor told me that I should start having them done at 25. I haven't yet (slap on the wrist), but that is insane that people are denying you the screening!! Especially if you have family and personal history. You've sparked my interest though and now I'm curious if I will face the same hurdles. Sorry you are having to deal with this!

Rebecca said...

This is so amazingly insane that I just want to throttle these people. What the hell is it to them if you get the damn test??? Your f'ing doctor has ordered it. That is all they need to know. I truly don't understand it. I have heard of many women with breast cancer under 30 -- what on earth are these idiots thinking?! I am beyond sorry that you're going through this -- I'm absolutely furious. I hope so much that this works out and that the news report helps somehow as well -- not just for you.

Rita said...

I am so disgusted with these people that won't give you a mammogram. Like you've scheduled these just for fun! I'm glad you went to the news and the American Cancer Society. I know you don't feel like you have it in you to fight this, but you're stronger than you think. ((hugs))

someday-soon said...

That is so friggen crazy! I hope try #3 goes off without any drama.

Dawn said...

I can't believe you are having so much trouble! This is outrageous.

Beth said...

I'm so glad you are handling this in the way that you are! I know several women who have died from breast cancer. None of them lived to see age 30. Keep us posted & we are on your side!!!

JustHeather said...

Good for you for continuing the fight! I've been fortunate to not personally know anyone at such a young age with cancer, but if you are paying for it, why should they turn you down? Especially! if you have family history!
Fingers crossed attempt 3 is successful!

KT said...

I have a friend from college that got breast cancer at the ripe old age of 24. I can't believe that they would deny you based on your age!

I'm sure you are sick of fighting, but this is definitely a battle worth fighting for!

Mrs. Corrock said...

Recently we had a lunch and learn at work about breast cancer. May have been in October. I am very glad I went. The speaker is a specialist that is working with multiple oncologists and doctors spreading the importance of examinations. I will send you the name and information via email but the center is located out of Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. they may help you with resources for your location.

Mrs. Corrock said...

Recently we had a lunch and learn at work about breast cancer. May have been in October. I am very glad I went. The speaker is a specialist that is working with multiple oncologists and doctors spreading the importance of examinations. I will send you the name and information via email but the center is located out of Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. they may help you with resources for your location.

A said...

i find it amazing that they would deny you a medical service that is warranted by your history. i'll be hoping that place #3 finally steps up to the plate!

Logical Libby said...

I hope you are documenting all of this. If there is something wrong (god forbid) you have a hell of a lawsuit on your hands.

Stefanie Blakely said...

I was just getting ready to type what Libby already said. If something was wrong, God Forbid, you could sue the shit out of them. I wonder how many women these facilities have denied medical care to, that HAVE had something seriously (and life threatening) wrong.

You constantly amaze me in your drive to do what's right, Katie. Not for yourself, but for people who don't have the strength in their voice the way you do. I respect and admire you so much.

xoxo

Kakunaa said...

I just don't understand these policies. But I am thrilled that the appointment may actually be happening.

Marybeth said...

I know it has to be really tough, but I still think you did the right thing calling the news. I hate that situations like yours can get easily swept under the rug. I'm proud of you and hope that everything works out for you!

Miss Megan said...

RIDICULOUS!!!
I am so sorry you are having to jump through all of these hoops. SUCK. And I'm so glad you went to the news. You are fighting not only for yourself but for the other ladies who aren't strong enough to fight the battle themselves. This is very important. So proud of you for doing whats right...as usual! =)

AnotherDreamer said...

OMG, how freakin' RIDICULOUS! I think you did good calling your doctor, the American Cancer Society, and the news. I know you don't want another battle, but that policy is outrageous. I am so sorry you're being treated like this!

AL said...

Good grief, why is this so freaking difficult? UGH. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this.

Hope this third place gives you one with no fight and everything looks healthy.

Kaitake said...

Wow, that's crazy that they would deny you a simple, cheap, non invasive test after it was specifically ordered by your doctor. Since when did the imaging centre get the power of changing what your doctor prescribes?! Hope you can get some action with the 3rd place, and perhaps some justice with the reporter helping. Here in NZ they have free breast screening after 65yrs, but I don't know if younger women are denied - don't think they are. Best wishes.

MichaelBrown said...

We are so glad you came to see us instead of waiting, or becoming discouraged. We hear these stories frequently, and are sometimes dumbfounded at how care is limited or rationed when needed. Our prayers and support will be with you as needed.

Teresa g said...

Im going thru a similar situation. I have temporary health insurance I went to the obgyn for an annual checkup and I told her about a few lumps that concerned me under my armpit on my right breast and upper right chest. She didnt do a full breast exam at all just felt a bit as I was laying down she felt the swelling under my armpit. She told me it was "probably" nothing to worry about and it "most likely" could be just fatty tissue. She said that they only give mamograms to ages 40 and older and she shrugged me off.I am 38. Where do I go from here when my own doctor denies me something that could save my life I have two daughters to care for. It's not fair!!

Anonymous said...

Im glad you went to the news.. I am also 26 years old who has recently found several lumps on both breast and still need to get a mammogram currently looking where i can take one...