A blogger shares her brush with breast cancer

Mass General President Peter L. Slavin, MD recognizes breast technologist Carla Peterson for outstanding patient care.

Former high school teacher, syndicated columnist and blogger Terry Marotta faced a situation that most women dread. She noticed something unusual about one of her breasts. But just three months earlier, her mammogram had been clear.

“How much could happen in three months?” she thought.

Terry wasn’t taking any chances and made an appointment with her primary care doctor at Mass General. She expected a brief physical exam, some reassurance and maybe a recommendation to get another mammogram in a few months.

Instead, she found herself wearing a hospital gown and white plastic bracelet, hustled off to Radiology. “I felt frozen,” she said. “That’s what I do when I’m scared in a deep way.”

Terry has no family history of breast cancer, and she was up-to-date on her yearly mammograms. While acknowledging the possibility of false reassurance, she thought she had done everything she could to stay healthy.

Within 90 minutes, Terry had a mammogram and ultrasound and met with two radiologists who specialize in breast imaging. They reviewed her images with her and answered her questions.

“I was very much comforted by the fact that I could speak to not one but two radiologists. I would have been good and scared if days had gone by before somebody saw me. Luckily, this was not the case,” she said.

Fortunately, Terry found out nothing was wrong. "A beautiful evening to be alive," she posted to Facebook later that night while appreciating the "easy happy ending" to her hospital visit.

At a recent recognition ceremony, Mass General President Peter L. Slavin, MD personally thanked Terry's care team from Internal Medicine Associates and Radiology, including breast technologist Carla Peterson and breast radiologist Helen D'Alessandro, MD, for providing outstanding patient service.

You can read more about Terry's experience at Mass General on her blog in a post called The Brush.

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