Each year like many women, I have my breasts and reproductive organs examined with annual checkups. Unlike most American women, I’ve been doing this a few years now outside the United States.
I joined a Facebook group for expats to seek out recommendations for a doctor, and one of the recommendations was for Dr. Didilia Bejarano. She seemed like the right fit for me – especially since she was a woman who spoke English. I haven’t been to a female gynecologist since my former doctor in San Diego, California.
Dr. Bejarano is excellent. Her office is in Central Medica Quirurica, off of Avenida Ejercito – a man road that basically runs parallel to the water several blocks inland. It’s a private clinic, so it’s higher priced than going to a publicly run facility, but still affordable by American expectations. Dr. Bejarano’s office is modern, she is thoroughly professional, her English is good, and one of her receptionists speaks good English. Her public Facebook page gives her excellent reviews, in addition to the recommendation I got from someone in that Facebook group.
When we met, Dr. Bejarano gave me a little about her background – she’s relatively new to Mazatlan, having moved here after her marriage. She studied in Monterrey. Next, she gave me a long interview on my history, including my surgical breast biopsy earlier this year. She also was not shy about asking forward questions about my sex life, which I respected. She’s a fertility specialist, yet despite this, she understood my desire not to have children – an uncommon wish among women in her country.
She had questions about my perimenopausal phase – cycle irregularities, night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, and other symptoms. She felt it is a bit too early to test my hormones – unless these symptoms go from moderate to extreme. Even then, if I had my hormones tested, I’m not one who would be into hormone therapy. I figure every single female who’s ever lived on this planet has managed perimenopause symptoms so I certainly can, too.
After she had my history and currents, she performed a breast and gynecological exam in an adjacent room with an assistant present. She immediately felt scar tissue, but no abnormal lumps. She recommended a breast sonogram, and those results would determine if another mammogram was needed, she said.
Next, her equipment had a camera so she explained everything I was seeing on a large screen above me – ovaries, uterus, cervix, vagina. All appeared as healthy and normal as can be for a woman my age. One thing she didn’t do was press down on all of those organs, as doctors usually do. But then again, this was the first gynecological exam I’ve had where I was able to see everything on a big screen.
At the final exit interview after the physical exams, she wrote a referral for a breast sonogram, so I was able to quickly get an appointment in her clinic’s partnered radiology department. The Pap results would take a week to 10 business days (and I haven’t gotten them yet at the time of this writing).
All of that for $46 USD, with no insurance. I’d highly recommend Dr. Bejarano for any expat who wants a great female gynecologist who speaks good English.
I then made an appointment for later that week to have my breast sonogram at ResoMaz, which is adjacent to the Dr. Bejarano’s clinic. That receptionist did not know English, but I knew enough Spanish to get by. When I returned two days later for my appointment, there was another ResoMaz receptionist who spoke decent English.
The radiologist who performed my breast sonograms knew enough English to communicate the basics. He saw scar tissue and a few cysts – entirely normal for a woman my age. He saw nothing that indicated a need for an immediate mammogram, but he recommended I don’t skip my annual x-ray, which will be due in late March of 2018. He also took the time to review my mammogram and sonogram reports from Puerto Escondido, which I’ve been carrying with me on our travels.
He had me wait a few minutes in the lobby while he prepared my final report. He must have used Google translate, because it’s in perfectly clear English, unlike my experience with the radiology department in Puerto Escondido, which delivered my BIRADS 4 report in Spanish. This time, I’m rated a BIRADS 2, which is simply evidence of benign ‘disease’ – that being cysts caused by age.
All that for $35 USD, and the images were given to me to boot – something that rarely happens in the States – unless you specifically ask for it. I highly recommend this facility for any expat who wants reasonably priced radiology services with a kind and friendly staff with basic English skills.
So now, with that all just about wrapped up, I can enjoy days in Mazatlan knowing there’s no imminent breast crisis. Also, it’s yet another example of how great medical care can be elsewhere in the world compared to the grossly overpriced, incredibly inefficient U.S. health care system.