Monday, July 22, 2013

Continuing Adventures in Breast Health

Last year was the first year in several that when I had my annual mammogram, the radiologist didn't request an additional sonogram while I was there. Nevertheless, my breast specialist wanted me to go ahead and get the MRI six months later just to keep an eye on things (because I'm officially a high-risk candidate to develop breast cancer, donchyaknow).

I had the MRI done in February, which was a couple months late thanks the delayed arrival of "Aunt Flo" during that period of time (no pun intended). That was all clear too, although I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the round and round with my former employer's crappy insurance company trying to get the claim submitted properly. (Side note: thanks to the recent change in my employment status and Mr. Remarkable Monkey's as well, we are now once again covered by a decent BCBS plan through his employer. Thank heavens!)

So last week, I went for my annual mammogram. I wondered if my luck would hold or if I would need a sonogram as well. The tech said no... the Rx was written for just a normal screening mammogram, so they wouldn't be doing any additional imaging. This was the first time in several years that the Rx was for a "screening" mammogram and not a "diagnostic" mammogram. I believe when it's written as diagnostic, they can go ahead and do any additional imaging if needed right then, such as sonograms. "Screening" vs. "diagnostic" can also make a big difference to some insurance companies when it comes to covering it 100% as an annual mammo. I learned that the hard way.

Well yay for me then, right? I figured maybe they're now familiar enough with all my usual lumps and dense tissue that they don't need all the extra imaging they've done for the past several years. I bounced out of the breast center confident that the results would be nothing other than "Yep... all good," and maybe I could even skip the MRI this December.

Fast forward to this afternoon, when the breast center called. "The radiologist saw a suspicious asymmetry in your right breast. We need to do more imaging." Oh joy. So basically, I have to go back in for them to squash my right boob some more to investigate said asymmetry. "We may also need to do a sonogram. Your breast tissue is very dense."

Ya don't say! Duuuuuh! This has been a known fact for years. Now, if the Rx had just been written as a diagnostic mammogram to start with, they could have done all this while I was there last week. Maybe they didn't because my current plan doesn't cover diagnostic? I thought BCBS covered it as annual either way, but maybe they don't? Who knows. All I know is now I have go to another appointment at the breast center. **siiiigh***

It's not so bad. As I've said before, the place has been remodeled and it's gorgeous! It looks like a high-end boutique hotel lobby. Check out these pictures....

I think this is actually the lobby of the NICU unit, but the breast center's lobby looks pretty much like this too.

This is one corner of the large inner waiting area... the one where you get to hang out with the other ladies in your lovely pink hospital gown top while waiting for them to call you back for the actual boob squashing.
A view of the other side of the large inner waiting area. There's also an INNER inner area with changing rooms and lockers, and a bathroom, and a small alcove with a sink, water cooler, and teas... and sometimes crackers.

Yes! It was this issue!
I am not making this up!
Pretty, isn't it? But ya know what those photos don't show? The old, beat up magazines available to help you kill time while you're waiting. They're not all old... some are from the past year or two. But get this: when I was there last week, I enjoyed flipping through an issue of Vanity Fair.... FROM SEPTEMBER OF 1997! I kid you not... Renee Zellweger was on the cover, with an article about how she's Hollywood's next big thing since she had recently appeared in "Jerry Maguire". (Yeah...THAT prediction was dead on... Not.) Seriously?? You spend a lot of time and money creating this beautiful, lush space for the patients, but you can't spring a few extra bucks for some magazines that aren't 15 years old? Really???

I found it hilarious. But maybe that's just me. I'm actually sort of looking forward to my additional appointment next week, despite the inconvenience of having to make a second trip... I think I saw a 1999 issue of People somewhere in the stacks of magazines. I need to catch up some celebrity gossip.

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