My doctor came into the room with the same pamphlet she had given me the previous year, told me she knew I bailed on the mammo, and that she was going to order another one and I needed to get it done. Same scenario as last year, the staff set it up and I walked out thinking "ya that's not happening." However this year, when the hospital called to confirm the appointment, we weren't home and the information was left on the answering machine. Fair game for my husband to get it before I had a chance to erase anything. The conversation went a little something like this
"The hospital called to confirm your mammogram?"
"Oh yeah, I need to call and cancel that."
"Because I don't need one."
"Then why is the doctor ordering one if you don't need it?"
"Because I didn't do it last yea....oh crap."
The rest of the conversation was me getting my butt chewed and him telling me it was getting done. There was nothing left for me to say, because when my husband uses the tone he used, I know I have officially lost this subject, and I new he would take the day off of work if he had to, to drive me there himself. As "luck" would have it, he had that day off, and I'm still wondering if he planned that, but I went. I walked out thinking everyone can get off my ass, I have been a good patient and it was a total waste of my time.
The next day the phone rang, and it was my doctor. "Melissa, there is something abnormal on the mammogram. They say we can follow up in 6 months, but I can refer you to a breast surgeon just to make sure." I'm not going to lie, that stunned me, but I told her I wanted time to think about it and would call her back. I called my husband who was out of town due to work and discussed it with him. That conversation went like this:
"The doctor called, there is something on the mammo and I can either wait 6 months or she said she could refer me to a breast surgeon for a second opinion."
"When are we going?"
"Well I'm not sure I am, I just wanted to discuss if with someone."
"Why do you need time to think about this? This could be serious!" His voice was getting very stern.
"Because I'm not sure what I want to do. I don't want to be running all around seeing doctor after doctor when I can tell you right now that I don't have breast cancer. Statistics are on my side, I am to young, no breast cancer in immediate family, and I am comfortable waiting 6 months."
I lost on that subject too. So I agreed to go see the surgeon but when they hadn't called in a week blew it off. But because my life can never just go the way I say it should, I found a breast lump. I waited quietly for 2 weeks waiting for it to go away and when it didn't, I fessed up to my husband. Yes another butt chewing ensued, but this time I got 2 options, either I made the appointment or he would.
One week later I was sitting in a surgeon's office discussing breast cancer risks, that I will need more tests, a breast examination that left me sore for 3 weeks, and a possible consult with an oncologist due to family history. She explained that we need to wait 6 months for the tests because they want to give enough time for things to grow. They need to see the definitive area to biopsy if needed or see if things are stable and just keep a close eye on things. When she told me the timeline would be in September or October, unless I could feel any changes and that I must have my tests done up there (2 hours away) I replied that I couldn't guarantee I could make it and spring works best for me. I explained that at that time I am planning for winter, in 504 meetings, getting homebound services set up, meeting with the kid's allergist and everything else. This stunned her and was another time I got chewed out. I am seriously tired of getting my butt chewed over this!
So why am I telling you all of this? Because spouses and family members need to watch for something called "Caretaker's Syndrome". Caretaker's Syndrome is what happens to some people who are in charge of a loved one's health matters. They devote so much time to someone else that they don't have the energy to take time to care for themselves. Statistically they have higher rates of addictions or bad vices, think alcohol or cigarettes, may be overweight due to lack of exercise or trying to grab a bite to eat between hectic schedules leading to a lot of fast food, have increased depression, and in cases of health...well things are discovered at later stages because they were so focused on caring for someone else that they didn't take time for them. Not everyone will develop this syndrome, but it's something to watch out for.