As wives, mothers and caregivers we often take care of other’s needs before taking care of our own. I missed my annual GYN appointment by 6 months, but I didn’t forget to make an orthodontist, dental and vision appointment for my sons. I received a letter to schedule my annual mammogram in May, but didn’t make the appointment until this month.
It’s hard to forget to schedule a mammogram in October because of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the pink reminders are everywhere. In my family there are 6 cousins and an aunt who had Breast Cancer and unfortunately, one cousin and the aunt succumbed to the disease – RIP Aunt Hazel and Debra! At my job there are several Breast Cancer survivors as well as a woman currently undergoing treatment after being in remission for 10 years. She like so many other brave women remains positive, and upbeat as well as looking good in their scarves and wigs.
My 11th mammogram was this morning, I started going to Papastavros Imaging in Glasgow at the age of 40. I do not like doctor’s appointments and get nervous but I manage the stress by talking. I talk constantly, stopping only to hold my breath for the x-ray, and because of this I can honestly say that I have never felt any pain.
After entering the dressing room, and given a top gown which I never know how to tie, waiting to be called in is nerve racking and waiting for the results is even worse. There are two types of regular screenings, a “CC”, which is a straight down view and the “MLO”, a side view. If you are called back for a follow up, a Spot Paddle is used and it targets a specific area on the breast. The Spot Paddle is more painful because it pinches that targeted area. A few years ago I was called back and immediately went into a panic mode. Amy, my technician explained that a call back does not mean cancer. It can be a vein, an artery, or dense tissue seen on the x-ray, a change in your breast due to your menstrual cycle or even the technician or the machine. So don’t panic and if you have a low tolerance of pain try talking through it, you’ll be surprised how quickly it goes and the sooner you can get to your deodorant.