Home > Healthy Living, Storytelling > I need a Mammogram.

I need a Mammogram.

It hit me last night. I haven’t had a mammogram since I was… I don’t know really. Seventeen? Twenty?  I remember having one due to pain in the chest area around my left breast not associated with a heart condition or other diagnosis. The mammogram memory is somewhat faded and I really only remember being slightly embarrassed in my youth by the process.

I’ve been to the doctor. I have four kids. FOUR. Many GYN appointments in my twenties from issues men would rather not read about, so I’ll leave that out (it was all about the cycle, gals). And, let’s not forget those 4 years total of prenatal and postnatal OB/GYN appointments. I’ve even had a LEEP (Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure) done to remove abnormal(not cancerous) cells on my cervix. Doc’s have done their thing and performed the physical breast exam. But, nowhere in there do I remember one saying when it would be time for mammograms. Is it 40? 30? Somewhere in between? Younger?

So, here I am, far enough into my third decade of life that I’d rather not give you the exact number. (You know, we’re as young as we act and feel-so I’m still about 23.) And I haven’t had a mammogram in about 20 years.

I’m like a lot of moms – we put off taking care of ourselves because we’re taking care of our children.  We put things off because other things become a priority. It’s not that I have an it-will-never-happen-to-me illusion. In fact, nothing is further from the truth. While working on the book that’s coming out in a few months (where the main character, 11-year-old Macie, finds her way through life after losing her mother to breast cancer), I fervently hoped I wasn’t writing the premonition of my future- or my memoir to my children. (I have to admit, it’s scary to put that particular fear into writing. I’ve only shared that thought with one other person.)

And that still wasn’t enough to push me to call for a mammogram. What’s wrong with me?

I’ve thought about my abnormal cervical cells and my paternal grandmother’s battle lost with cervical and uterine cancer when I was four. Occasionally wondering if those kinds of things can predispose you to breast cancer or any cancer.

Still nothing. Not compelling enough to make me go get a routine and life-saving mammogram. Seriously?

Then last week, the Komen fiasco happened. The word mammogram was ringing in my ears, threading before my eyes, and running through my brain constantly.

And yet, I still didn’t feel the need to pick up the phone. I was too busy trying to look at both sides and analyzing it from a social media perspective. It might have vaguely crossed my mind, “hey, wild child, isn’t it about time you get that mammogram?” But, the thought was fleeting at best and not enough to create an urge to go.

Even that weird, little, semi-painful twinge that started happening on and off recently in my left breast doesn’t gather much of my attention.

Of course, if I’m really going to be honest, there is that small piece of me that avoids it because – what if?

Then, last night,  the oddest connection did it to me.

What happened to me, by pure coincidence and a timing chance of fate did, in fact, make me want to pick up the phone and get the boobies checked.

A really great blogger and person – @BurghBaby shared a post on Facebook:

I read it, connected three things: 1. Toddler Planet 2. Goodbye  3.inflammatory breast cancer, and I was gliding over the link to read more.

By the end, I am in tears over a woman I have never met, who wrote a blog I’d never read before, and had a form of breast cancer I had never heard of. That was the moment.

“The moment” that it clicked in my brain. I need a mammogram. And maybe, just for good measure, I should mention that twinge to a doctor sometime soon. It’s probably nothing, but it’s really stupid to say, “I don’t want to know because ‘what if’ ” – when the alternative is knowing the ‘if’ too late.

So, through an odd set of circumstances and connections, two people truly touched my life.

Thank you “Burgh Baby” for sharing that post at that exact moment. Thank you, Susan for a moment you are not here to know, but will be forever stamped into my memory. The emotional connection of reading your husband post the Goodbye and the brave blogging about fighting breast cancer gave me the push I needed.

I have a few obstacles in my way, but hopefully I’ll be able to update readers soon on “the mammogram experience.”

Simply Put – I need a mammogram. So do you.

{For more information on inflammatory breast cancer- which does not appear with a lump and can’t usually be detected on a mammogram- go to the Inflammatory Breast Cancer(IBC) Research Foundation.

Through reading Susan’s blog, I found her connection to another great site, Mothers With Cancer. Great links, great stories, great support. It’s places like this site that let you know, even if a mammogram found the worst, there’s always something and someone to give you hope.}

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