Have your had your mammogram yet?
Even though October is over, it's never too late to remind ourselves that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a national campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Early detection, education, and support services are available for women everywhere. Do it now. What follows is my account of my October mammogram:
As I entered the radiology waiting room area, I tried to identify the women who like me were waiting for their annual mammogram. Some looked concerned, others were reading. As my name was called, I took a big breath and followed the radiology technician into the suite filled with women in stylish pink gowns. Whoever designed these gowns could not have been a woman. These gowns did not close, barely covered up my boobies , and had the biggest armpit holes that I have ever seen. After trying to close the gown numerous times, I gave up and sat with my arms wrapped around me. Ever notice how cold it is in there? Today was no exception.
As I entered the mammogram screening room, I was greeted by these words: “We compress for SECONDS to preserve YEARS”. Well, that was surely true as I was squished into oblivion. “Hold your breath”, she said. Who in the world could breathe through that pain any way? I figure that this small amount of pain is much less than any cancer patient endures so I held my breath and let the machine do its squishing.
I then thought of a post-mammogram cartoon sent to me by a friend. (You know the one). The lady walked into the restaurant with squished, flat, pointy boobs. Her friends all issued a collective “ooh” sigh. They knew where she had been that day.
I truly wonder how men would feel if one of their body parts was squished, pushed, and smashed like women’s breasts are. I am sure that they would need more than a day off from work to recover. (I know of many women who return to work after this). Different recovery times for different sexes for sure.
As I spoke to the doctor after my exam, he looked a bit concerned. It made me nervous but all was well with me but not with some of the other women, I surmised.
His look said a lot.
I have a relative who had breast cancer at a young age. We were all in shock when she was diagnosed. Her post surgery port fill with chemo felt like hot lava running through her body, she said. Numerous post surgery infections prompted repeated ER trips. Losing her hair was not something she was going to, so she shaved her head and donated her hair to the ACS. She received a wig later from the ACS that she swore was her hair. She put the wig on her head, shivered, and looked closely at her new head covering which had the same colored hair as she had donated. We will never know I guess but she did. Five years later she is going strong.
She is truly the poster woman for these words:
NEVER GIVE UP. Go over. Go under. Go around. Go through. But never give up.
These are great words for all cancer survivors everywhere. Go get a mammogram today. Do it for yourself and for your family and friends.