Toughest mammogram ever

  1. When does grief settle down? How long before it doesn't just pop up unannounced, when I am least expecting it? I went for my yearly mammogram today. I never look forward to going, but this year was really tough. My mom had breast cancer five years ago, went through chemo & surgery and then developed lung cancer and died last October 30th. I was totally blindsided by my emotions while at the clinic. I was filling out the questionnaire and got to the part where they want to know if anyone in your family has had breast cancer. Suddenly it was very hot in the room and my heart was beating out of my chest. I am sitting in a small room with a bunch of other women and trying not to get up and run. I finished the paperwork and turned it in and waited for my turn. My heart beat got louder and louder once I got to the changing room. One would have thought I was being led to the electric chair from the way my body was reacting. It was all I could do to answer simple questions and get through the procedure. I am all lumpy anyway and have had a couple of lumpectomys, so getting the actual mammogram isn't a walk in the park. I got through and got dressed and bolted out of there. I'm sure they think I was on drugs or something, or just plain weird. I knew that if I opened my mouth, I would break down in those big old nasty gulping sobs, so I just nodded my way through. I just hate it when grief jumps up and bites me in the rear. I didn't see it coming and felt so betrayed by my own emotions when they just popped up uninvited. I find it really upsetting to not know when this is going to happen. It happened once during clinicals last year and I thought I was going to get kicked out of the program. One does not stand at the med cart and sob if one wishes to remain in nursing school. My instructor just kept me after hours and wanted to know what the problem was. Then she told me how shocked she was since she thought I was so tough. Evidently she didn't know me very well, or she hasn't lost her mother yet. Any suggestions as to how I can get a grip on my emotions?
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   chelli73
    First of all, don't be so hard on yourself. You have experienced a recent loss and you still have to go through the grieving process. My father died 15 years ago November 30th, followed by my grandmother (his mom-of an MI-broken heart literally) on December 5th, and it still pains me to this day. Your instructor was
    as most instructors can be--COLD and CRUDE. I don't know what your spiritual or religious beliefs are, but I always picture my dear loved one watching over me, helping me through all of my trials and tribulations. Please try to be strong, and take care of yourself. Let yourself grieve as much as you can. Join a support group for families of cancer victims if you can. Talk to people who you know can relate to your pain and heartache, and try to avoid people that will say things like what your instructor said--too harsh too soon--IMO. Prayers and hugs go out to you.
  4. by   hikernurse
    (((((Lindy)))))

    I'm sorry about your mom. Grieving takes a long time, as Chelli said. You'll be in my prayers tonight (hope that's not offensive to you).
  5. by   lindy777
    Thanks Hikernurse, It's not at all offensive. I am a believer. I appreciate your kindness
  6. by   lindy777
    Thanks. I know it takes time. It's just that when I think it is beginning to be ok, there is this sneak attack. Thanks for the reply & the hugs.
  7. by   VivaLasViejas
    Quote from lindy777
    When does grief settle down? How long before it doesn't just pop up unannounced, when I am least expecting it? I went for my yearly mammogram today. I never look forward to going, but this year was really tough. My mom had breast cancer five years ago, went through chemo & surgery and then developed lung cancer and died last October 30th. I was totally blindsided by my emotions while at the clinic. I was filling out the questionnaire and got to the part where they want to know if anyone in your family has had breast cancer. Suddenly it was very hot in the room and my heart was beating out of my chest. I am sitting in a small room with a bunch of other women and trying not to get up and run. I finished the paperwork and turned it in and waited for my turn. My heart beat got louder and louder once I got to the changing room. One would have thought I was being led to the electric chair from the way my body was reacting. It was all I could do to answer simple questions and get through the procedure. I am all lumpy anyway and have had a couple of lumpectomys, so getting the actual mammogram isn't a walk in the park. I got through and got dressed and bolted out of there. I'm sure they think I was on drugs or something, or just plain weird. I knew that if I opened my mouth, I would break down in those big old nasty gulping sobs, so I just nodded my way through. I just hate it when grief jumps up and bites me in the rear. I didn't see it coming and felt so betrayed by my own emotions when they just popped up uninvited. I find it really upsetting to not know when this is going to happen. It happened once during clinicals last year and I thought I was going to get kicked out of the program. One does not stand at the med cart and sob if one wishes to remain in nursing school. My instructor just kept me after hours and wanted to know what the problem was. Then she told me how shocked she was since she thought I was so tough. Evidently she didn't know me very well, or she hasn't lost her mother yet. Any suggestions as to how I can get a grip on my emotions?
    Dear heart..........I'd be far more worried about you if you HADN'T had some strong feelings about all of this.

    Let's tally up all the ways this experience could have messed with you: your mother had breast Ca. Check. She passed away almost exactly a year ago. Check. You have had lumpectomies in the past. Check. This is your first mammogram since your mother died. Check. Now you're in the process of becoming a nurse, and you've got that added stress...........no wonder the TILT sign is flashing!!

    The first year after any death is the hardest, of course, but grief has a way of coming back to bite one in the butt at THE most inopportune times, and it can happen to us 2 weeks or 20 years later. My own mother has been gone for many years now; but when I finished the novel "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" a few nights ago, I bawled like a baby........I mean, my mother WAS Vivi Walker. Only unlike Vivi, she didn't live long enough for me to grow old enough (and wise enough!) to try to understand her, forgive her, and make peace with her. It didn't seem all that important back then---I had too much resentment---but now that my own daughters are grown, it makes me terribly sad that she never got to know me as a fully grown woman. A good portion of that was her own doing, but nonetheless, every now and again I'll be reminded of that empty space in my soul, and it kicks my tail all over again.

    So please, don't be hard on yourself, and don't expect to be "all better" in only a year. We lose our parents, and we move on, but when they go, it changes everything about where we are in life; suddenly, WE are the "older generation", the matriarchs, the ones who are supposed to have the answers..........no matter what our age. And I can tell you, it takes time---lots of it---to accept this new place in the world, and to feel comfortable there.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
  8. by   erichRN
    God has given us emotions. It's part of who we are. Bad image, but its like going to the bathroom. Don't hold it in ot you'll get sick. The important part is being around people who, while they may not understand, love you and support you in your grief, viz. they love you for who you are. Very important. BTW I have already prayed for you and will continue as God lays you on my heart. Nursing school and losing your Mom-- two huge emoters. Hugs.
  9. by   maureenlynn
    I'm so sorry about your mom! I also lost my mother to breast cancer. It happened almost 11 years ago (I was barely 13) and to this day, something will happen that just makes me start sobbing uncontrollably. A certain song, a scene in a movie, any little thing can make me really miss her. I don't think anyone can ever get over losing their mother. Please don't be so hard on yourself. You're allowed to miss your mom. I'll tell you right now, it does not get any easier, but you will be able to adjust to it as the years go on. But you have to allow yourself to grieve, too. I will be praying for you!

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