Friday, November 14, 2008

Dense Tissue

Hey there-

I had to get a follow up mamogram this morning.

They called a few days ago to tell me my annual mamogram had some "irregularities" and they needed further investigation. I kind of freaked out.

"You sound concerned," the tech said to me on the phone.

"My first husband died of cancer." I said. Yea, I was concerned.

My mind went immediately to chemo appointments and bald heads and thoughts of life insurance for my orphaned children. I could not think of a single person who had to have this done before.

Within an hour I had several examples of women who had the same experience and they were all fine; shadows or folds or dense tissue. This situation is apparently quite common, women are asked to come back and get tugged and pulled and smashed and radiated all over again, and for what?

"Dense tissue". That was my result. I was very relieved. Mike took the morning off and we celebrated afterwards.

I may have overreacted. Is all of this overkill? I worry that the harsh manipulation of "my girls" will actually do more damage than good. I am not discounting the importance of mamograms, I just believe the less medical intervention the better.

But I feel such pressure to stay well for the boys. I worry that I have become a hypocondriac since Bob died. Diagnosing myself with a hernia, ovarian cancer and colon cancer all in the last few years. None of which have turned out to be anything more than constipation or indigestion or perimenapause. I was never paranoid about my health before, but I also never had constipation or indigestion. ICK!

So, am I paranoid or just getting older? I can't be that old, I do still have "dense" breasts. And I am just not willing to give up red wine yet! Of course, I never drank red wine before Bob died. Not for lack of trying on his part, I am sure he is sifting in his urn over this development, thinking of all the lost opportunities.

I hope everyone doesn't get as anxious about the news of "irregularity" as I did, the anxiety alone can't be good for you. I hope most people don't have a reason to feel so anxious.

The celebration once Mike and I got the "all clear" was almost worth the anxiety though. Silly maybe, but it was a celebration that Bob and I never got to have. It felt a little decadent, such a minor event. I figure it is better to celebrate any victory, even dense tissue, than not have a victory to celebrate.



  1. 'dense tissue' diagnosis seems to be more and more common, but when you have experienced the worse I'm sure it's hard to see that. Keep writing!!

  2. i love "sifting in his urn"!!! you are so funny :)

  3. "sifting in his urn" are so hilarious!

  4. Hey Irene! Just found your blog.
    I will now be an avid fan.
    I life my mug of hot tea to you and your girls. And I think we should celebrate the little things - sometimes just getting ot the end of the day and sitting in bed together without any puke, blood or tear to wipe up is a celebration. XO karen