My consultant, my husband and I did, in the end, manage to co-ordinate our diaries for today, so it was back to the Breast Care Clinic. Nine o’clock appointment, so no waiting. We had a friendly conversation around my general state of health – and then around my polite but firm refusal to have a mammogram. You know why.*
The consultant did try to persuade me into the mammogram from several angles, but – and I’m so delighted by this – without patronising me. Backed up by B., I had my arguments ready. I gave her a copy of my submission to the Select Committee Inquiry, about which she appeared to know nothing (?!). I think she will read it. I told her about my forthcoming date to speak at the Overdiagnosis Conference in September. She was genuinely interested – maybe even impressed – and – after we had agreed that we would meet again at least to review my medication – asked me to tell her then how it went.
If there was a low moment for me, it was that, having got her ear and (perhaps) distinguished myself by my non-compliance, she did now suggest that I could, last summer, have tried hormone therapy before surgery. This was not what she said at the time –
I signed a copy of the notes I had brought along to prompt myself and B. These will go in my file to protect this poor surgeon, should the departure from standard procedure ever come back to haunt either of us.
And so, after a quick physical examination which of course showed nothing untoward. we emerged into the sunshine. We can go on holiday without the mammogram results hanging over us. I have forfeited the (temporary) reassurance that a clear result would give me, but I have side-stepped another awful, impossible decision about treatment of an asymptomatic and possibly harmless lump.
This time I called the shots. I finally had a sense that I had won the respect of the consultant. And that I was not a pushover.
* You don’t? It’s all in my earlier posts.