Being Proactive and Assertive Regarding Your Emotional Needs

I returned for my additional views/mammography and my test results were benign. The calcifications were a result of trauma (I had surgery on my left breast three months after reconstruction on my right breast to regain symmetry). On my return visit the technician placed a strip on the scar to make it clear to the radiologist where my surgical site was located. Needless to say, I was very relieved to receive the news that the calcifications were a result of the surgery.
I had decided before I arrived at the radiology center that I was not leaving without results; we need to be proactive and assertive (taking care of our needs without stepping on the needs of others) to take care of ourselves. I politely told the mammography technician that I wanted the results before I left due to the emotional issues a survivor faces while waiting for results. She explained that she would be sending the radiologist the pictures as soon as they were done to be assured that he would not need any additional views and she would be speaking to him on the telephone. She also stated that because of the HIPPA laws, she may not be able to tell me what he reports. I assured her that I did not want to be a pain in the a.., but that I would have no problem speaking with him on the phone myself or driving to the hospital where he was receiving the information. She smiled, and when she returned from sending the films and speaking with the radiologist she provided me with the results. If I had not been proactive and assertive, I do not believe I would have been informed of the benign diagnosis for a couple of more days, at least. My stress level would have been increased unnecessarily because not all health care professionals totally understand what a survivor experiences when waiting for results, especially ambiguous test results. Perhaps for this reason my decision not to go to a Breast Cancer Care Center for my mammography and sonogram was not the best one. However, educating health care professionals regarding emotional triggers that affect survivors from previous malignant diagnoses and being proactive and assertive regarding your own emotional needs is an important lesson for all.


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