The Breast Center

I called the Breast Center at the local hospital today. Can you believe that there is something called the Breast Center? The receptionist was lovely. She referred me to the right people to talk to about DNA testing -- and then transferred me to talk to the mammogram people.

If you are 40 years old and a woman with breasts, this should be routine for you. I'm not going to lecture you about it. Just do it. It's part of the self care thing and we just don't know what causes this cancer thing. So, please. Get a mammogram. Support the women of your churches and local communities to do so. OK?

If you are under the age of 40 and call something like the Breast Center at your local hospital to schedule a mammogram, the nasty woman on the other end of the phone will be nothing but nasty. Imagine the rudest voice possible asking you, "Why exactly do you waht to do this?" This is after she asked you if the appointment was for you or someone else (where she thought she was preempting the strike.)

I was not composed in this moment. I was angry. "BECAUSE IT KILLED MY MOTHER," I said. And she barked back something about needing to have permission from your doctor. Through clenched teeth, I explained that I had moved and had not needed this before. I hung up the phone -- still irrate. But I gathered my wits. And in the 15 minutes before Bible study, I made some calls to find a freakin' doctor. Ok. Ok. I should have done this a long time ago. But, I did it. Nice lady doctor in a nearby town that my insurance will even cover. Woo hoo!

And then, I made a call to the DNA people and left a message. I'm not convinced that it's the right choice for me. One of my dear friends listened to me talk about this on Sunday night after I had read the dreaded article. We talked about my family history and all of my fears -- or at least, many of them. My dear friend has listened to me admit these things before. Those things that I dare not tell many people about how my mother's death and disease affect me. I'm so grateful for friends like him. But even with good friends to listen, I'm not sure that the DNA test is the right choice. And yet, I need to talk it out with someone in the medical community. I need to explore what it would mean. I need to figure out why God is putting this before me right now. Is this even God moving me this way? How can one be sure?


Songbird said...

I'm appalled that the Breast Center staff would treat you this way. Absolutely appalled. I hope you will write a letter to someone's supervisor. Or a letter to the editor. I'm sorry someone made this that much harder.

Teri said...

I hope you will write something to the people who did this as well. I was treated similarly badly when I went for my first mammogram last year--and I DID have a doctor's order! After telling me they didn't think I should be there until 10 years from now and that I shouldn't bother them for things that aren't important (yes, they said that), they ended up calling my doctor's office, then calling me back and saying they'd like to see me the next day.

That was stressful enough in and of itself, let alone the fact that they were totally mean to me on the phone.

I'm glad you found a nice-sounding doctor not too far away who's covered by your insurance!

I don't know if this would be in any way helpful to you, but if you ever want to talk to someone who's wrestling with the same DNA testing questions, you know how to find me.

Pastor Peters said...

Writing a letter is an interesting idea -- though I'm not sure I want my name to appear there. There are too many members of my congregation that work at the hospital. And this is way too raw.

I started crying on the way out of the hospital only 30 minutes ago. I'm not ready to be that vulnerable with members of the church. Then again, maybe they would see me as older if they knew I was dealing with breast cancer. Sigh.

LittleMary said...

well hon. all i can say is that i am sending you lots of love in these decision-making times. and talking it over with the medical people can be a good thing. at least you will get some more information and you can make decisions then. or not. god is with you, somehow or another.

Pink Shoes said...

You are in my thoughts and prayers. All of it is just icky -- it's hard enough to pick up the phone and call, but to have that be her response. Wow.

ppb said...

The most important thing is that you have the space you need to make the decision. I'm sure the way will be made clearer in the next few months.

But the way you were treated? That's completely disrespectful. Sometime, if you feel up for it, I'd encourage you to say or write something. It doesn't have to be a rant, but really, you're a clergy person in that town. You visit people in that hospital. People you know and care about put their lives in the trust of those folks. And you need to be able to trust them with your own life, let alone with others. I have the feeling the director would be apalled to hear what happened to you.

But, all that said, you pick your battles. And right now, the battle of making this big decision seems momentous enough.