Okay, this subject might be a little uncomfortable for my male readers but it shouldn’t be. It is no different to a prostate exam. Both are a little uncomfortable but very important to keep us all healthy.
Today was my annual appointment. I was supposed to go a few weeks ago but caught a cold and I don’t go to public places when I am sick (especially medical buildings) because I just get worse thanks to my immune system. So, even though I got zero sleep last night I knew I needed to get it over with.
Hubby dropped me off and then went on to pick up our gluten free bread order for the next couple of weeks across the river. I figured I would be in and out and waiting for him, but that was not the case. God had something more in mind for me, as He usually does.
I handed in my ID and waited to register. There was a youngish woman who was definitely a little nervous. It turned out she was 45 and having her first ever screening mammogram. She was asking me questions and talking about her little 5-year-old daughter. I got called first, got my folder and went on to the next waiting room. The woman came in a few minutes after me and I told her where to put her folder (there are three different slots for three different types of mammograms – screening, diagnostic and breast-health which is for women who have had cancer to track their progress). She sat across from me and was talking a mile a minute to me and the woman beside her.
Then another woman, probably around my age came in and also wanted to know where to put the folder. At this point, mine was first with the other two behind. This lady sat beside me. She had never been to the new outpatient centre for a mammogram before, or for anything else. she was amazed how busy it was. I talked about how I have been to at least half of the departments in the four-story building! She called me a wealth of knowledge – I said I am an observer, I can’t help it! But I seemed to put her at ease as well.
Others came in with white, blue and pink folders and I pointed to the appropriate slots and everyone laughed that I needed to get paid!
I waited and waited. The two ladies that came in after me, were called in first. But another woman who had her breast health exam came back and sat beside me. She had been clear for five years and was just hoping for number six. We talked about everything but our breasts and all of a sudden the tech came out and told her that everything was fine, she would get a full report from her doctor at her next visit. She was so relieved she gave me an impulsive little hug and then she was gone.
Almost seconds after that, I got called in. The tech apologized for the wait. The two women who went ahead were actually late and had to be taken first. She thanked me for being on time. I took off my top, stepped up to the machine and prepared for the squeezing. She remarked that I didn’t flinch at all. I said that is one good side of chronic pain. It makes other pains much easier to take.
It was all over in about 5 minutes, I put on my top and coat and was on my way down the hall texting hubby that I was finally done and would be out front in a few minutes.
My mother had breast cancer and died a few years later when it came back but in the breast bone and lung. My paternal grandmother and aunt had it as well. I had a lumpectomy when I was 18 because the doctor figured it could turn cancerous down the line and I probably wouldn’t remember to get it checked. He was probably right. I also had a breast reduction to clear out a lot of diseased tissue (and take some weight off my shoulders).
I can’t stress enough how important it is to get these checks done as regularly as your doctor advises. Whether you are a woman or a man, keeping track of your breasts and prostate are very important – whether you have other chronic conditions or are generally healthy.