Well, I have my mammogram scheduled, and rescheduled and then rescheduled once again. The original time was scheduled for me and was in the middle of the day. I called and got it changed to first thing in the morning..like before 8 in the morning. Then they changed our work schedule so I called and got it changed to late in the afternoon. I'll miss less work that way. I was and am determined to have this done. No, I don't enjoy it. No, I don't think it is fun. No, it is not my idea of a good time. No, I do not look forward to this with any excitement. Yes, I will get it done. Yes, I will be uncomfortable and slightly embarrassed as I'm not one to let it all hang out. Yes, I know it is important...trust me I know. Yes, I will be nervous until the results are known.
Because I am a breast cancer survivor.
Because my cancer was caught by my very first mammogram.
Because should it ever return, I want it to be caught just as early.
In 2008 I went in for my very first mammogram. While I wasn't sure exactly how mammograms were done, I had a good idea from all of the horror stories that I've heard. I followed the instructions that I had been given, then when my name was called I went back to the room...the room with a radiation warning sign outside the door. I walked in and again began following the instructions that I was being given. All of those, stand here, lean this way, put your arm here, somewhere along the lines should have been the "this is going to hurt' warning. But I managed to get through it and then went to get dressed and leave. I was warned that since this was my first I might get a call back being they had nothing with which to compare the images. I did get called back. I was operating on the idea that it was all routine, until she kept going over the same area time and again and only on one side. After being told to get dressed and take a seat in the waiting area because they wanted to do an ultra- sound I was beginning to get uncomfortable.
The room for the ultra-sound was cold, I undressed to the waist and put on the little pink paper vest. The technician came in and did the test. She knew what she was looking for but all I could see was something with the appearance of a lunar landscape. Once she was finished she began to pack up and told me to get dressed, they would be in touch.
All of the tests came back with results that had my doctor scheduling me to see a surgeon. A needle biopsy confirmed the presence of cells that might mean cancer but that a surgical biopsy was needed. The surgical biopsy proved all the maybe's to be definites. I had breast cancer. It was small, the surgeon was amazed that the technicians had seen it. But we knew it was there, time to get rid of it. The surgery was worrisome, as the anesthesia made me nauseous. Afterward though, the surgeon told us that she got it all. Once i had healed up some, then the decision would be made as to treatments. That turned out to be six weeks of radiation. By the end of the six weeks I was nearly crawling. I had no energy, no desire to do much of anything. I did manage some how to not miss any work other than the day of and the day after my cancer surgery. Everything else was set up so that I went in to work early and left early for treatments. When they were finished, I was glad. Now I only had to wait to make sure it was really, truly, completely gone. And it was. Now, 6 years later I am still cancer free. Healthy, feeling better than I have in a very long time.
I followed my doctor's advice, and had the mammogram, even though it was embarrassing. Even though it was confusing. Even though it is not comfortable. It IS important. I'm thankful that the company I work for covers the entire cost of this test, otherwise there are many I am sure that would not get the test that they need. A test, that does go a long way in helping save lives.