My daughter’s birthday in 2012 was one of the busiest texting days in my life. In fact, the only busier days my phone has ever seen were in the few days leading up to my wedding day with my wonderful wife. My daughter’s sixth birthday was filled with a lot of happy times, screaming girls, dozens of texts between Angela and me, as well as a lot of uncertainty. You see, Angela had a mammogram that day. That mammogram changed our lives forever. That mammogram almost never happened.
It was another year and yet another mammogram. Angela had been getting them for almost as long as I have known her. She was in college when she had her first one. A few years later, when I was in chiropractic college, the American Medical Association changed the recommendations on mammograms. Anyone under the age of 40 and with no family history did not need routine mammograms. Well, this did not apply to Angela . . . she had a HUGE family history. She more than met the criteria for a mammogram. In fact, her mammogram was ordered by her primary care physician. It should have been a routine, no problem, and in-and-out procedure.
The first text I got was the usual “. . . nervous about going in . . . “. Then I got a text about the radiologist wanting to talk with her first. That was weird. The next text was about her maybe not getting a mammogram. What? Why would she not get the mammogram? The next text was that it was her choice if she wanted the mammogram or not but that it would be another three hours because her appointment time had come and gone. She asked my advice. I told her that if she had the time, she should get the scan. I also told her that it was ultimately up to her. To be honest, I thought this was a little silly at first. Why would the radiologist go against the primary physicians orders? If it was this much hassle, did Angela really need her mammogram this year? She informed me, by text, that she would wait and get the test. I thank God every day that she did.
I found out a few hours later that the radiologist wanted to see her again. Apparently, there was a change in this mammogram from the previous year. It was a very small change, but it was a change that needed further investigation. New calcifications were seen in her left breast that had not been there before. One thing that you have to understand is that I am one of the most laid-back and easy going guys out there. But when I heard the results of the mammogram, I started to see red. Some fresh-out-of-medical-school punk was going to try and assert his authority because he knew better than everyone else. He knew better than the primary care physician that has been working with Angela for a long time. He knew better than my wife who knows the breast cancer recommendations better than almost anyone else. As far as I was concerned, he endangered my wife’s life. I was mad. I was furious. But most of all I was grateful that my wife stuck to her guns and stood up for what she knew she needed to do. That decision saved her life. I was also about to learn more about breast cancer than I ever thought I would ever know.
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