This is the story of the day I turned a corner in my womanhood. This is the story of the day I finally put my big girl panties on and went in for my first mammogram. Insert the I just got my boobs really squished face here!
I am 39, so not quite of “official” mammogram age; however, for a long time I have been thinking that I should probably have a serious talk with my ob/gyn about getting one before 40, especially considering that my mom passed away almost 5 years ago from a very intense and heartbreaking ovarian cancer battle. It had been in the back of my mind for quite some time, but I had yet to ask. I don’t know exactly why, but I think it simply boils down to fear.
Would it hurt? Is it uncomfortable? Embarrassing maybe? I had heard that they flatten your breast into a pancake for the imaging, but breastfeeding three baby boys in 4 years also has the same pancake effect!
The school district that I worked for has a wonderful wellness department and about every 6 weeks a mobile mammogram truck rolls into our administration building’s parking lot. All employees over the age of 35 can get their yearly mammogram fully covered by insurance. What was I waiting for? Every time the email came during this past year telling us to book an appointment, I thought about it. I really should take advantage of this, I said to myself. This is so convenient, I mumbled under my breath. So I sat up tall in my chair, extended my index finger over the keyboard and very confidently hit delete. Sigh. I’ll do it next time.
Earlier this year, two sweet friends received the scary news that they had breast cancer. Both are under 45 and have school age children. And that was it. Feeling it so incredibly close to home and seeing myself in them was the sign I needed to not delay any further. When the email came in again, I booked my appointment without hesitation. A wonderfully kind lady did maneuver my breasts around an imaging machine and had them squished like pancakes. It was very uncomfortable having your upper body put in all sorts of positions while pressure was being applied to your breasts. Not fun. But not unbearable. It is fairly quick- the entire process was over in about 10 minutes.
Ladies, we owe it to ourselves to be proactive about our health. My friends are going to be ok thanks to early detection and treatment. I know that it is scary, but if you have been putting off going for your annual mammogram, make your appointment now.
And if you have been waiting for a sign to propel you to make your first appointment, THIS IS IT. THIS IS YOUR SIGN.