When you find a strange lump or have some other symptom that tells you all is not right with your body, the standard way of narrowing down its identity and cause is with a visit to a doctor. In my case, I haven’t had need (or so I thought) for a primary care doctor in the 5 years since I moved to Seattle, so I don’t have one. Guess I need to get one.
I have a colleague who works in the project office in a Denver suburb who had recently had surgery for breast cancer, and because I didn’t have time to find a PCP at home or set up an appointment with anyone to have this looked at, I sought her out and let her know that I’d found something that wasn’t right and asked where to go. She sent me a handful of numbers to imaging centers where they do mammograms. When I called, each of them said that when you find something, a doctor’s referral is required. Noted. So… we found a primary care doctor who was taking new patients and I made an appointment.
I cannot say enough good things about the providers at Rocky Mountain Primary Care in Westminster, Colorado. They got me in right away, did an examination and the RMPC referral coordinator had an appointment at a Denver imaging center the next afternoon. My experience at Health Images in Denver was also awesome.
Not only did I get in and get seen quickly, but she also followed up with me to make sure I had a plan to take care of whatever this mass was. I don’t mean follow up with one phone call, either. She followed up all the way through my meeting with my team here in Seattle.
I don’t need to describe what a mammogram is. Most women have had them already. Most of us dislike them. The ultrasound piece is not painful – at least not until they’re taking measurements of a mass in your breast and marking lymph nodes that go with it. That moment, when I heard the ‘click’ of the measurement of the lymph nodes in my armpit were when I knew I was screwed and this was cancer.