A couple of weeks ago I had my annual gyno appointment. Every woman’s favorite ::said with much sarcasm::
I had some concerns about a lump I was feeling in my breast. So when she started her exam I pointed it out. She immediately said, “Let’s have you get a mammogram right away.”
I don’t know about you but I’ve always been scared of mammograms. The thought of taking off my shirt in a small room and them grabbing me and squashing my breasts into pancakes just didn’t sound all that fun.
But I knew it was important. So I scheduled an appointment. I was very nervous that morning. As I sat next to Naaman filling out the questionnaire the nurse asked me if I wanted a 2D or 3D version. She explained that 3D is better for viewing dense tissue, which my doctor said I have. So I opted to pay a little extra so they could get the best view.
The nurse was so kind. She explained everything that was happening and was very gentle with me. I asked if it would hurt. This is a concern that I think many women have and I also think it’s what keeps them from getting a mammogram, which as I’m sure you all know, can be a devastating decision later on. The nurse said it might be uncomfortable but it shouldn’t be painful.
I held my breath as the machine came together, all the while just hanging out in between. Much to my surprise it didn’t hurt at all! I was surprised that it was so easy!
Within a few minutes it was over. We waited in another room until they came in and said I would also need an ultrasound. They were gentle in the ultrasound as well. Soon enough the doctor came in and gave me the all clear.
She said I should follow up if I feel anything else that seems like a change from the norm. But otherwise, I have a baseline mammogram now and won’t need to come back until I am 40.
Finally, I felt relief. I had peace of mind that everything is okay.
I must admit, in between the time of my annual exam and the mammogram, I became horribly anxious. I pictured the movie Terms of Endearment in my head. What cancer treatment would be like. What saying goodbye would be like.
When we’re faced with these fears it is best to get whatever testing done that is recommended. It is better to know the truth than sit and wonder.
I’m writing this because I thought it might help someone. If you’re scared of a mammogram – don’t be! Yes, there are first time jitters. But it’s an easier process than I ever imagined. I’m so glad I had it done.
Also, I want to stress the importance of monthly self-exams. I always do them. My grandmother died of breast cancer and if she just would have found out earlier she might have lived. If you feel anything that seems strange, see your doctor.
I’m 34-years-old. But it happens. Early detection is your best chance at survival. It’s so easy to ignore problems. But my guess is you’re important to a lot of people. Don’t take any chances.
I’m glad I didn’t.