Here it is mid-October, and everything is either decorated with Halloween ghosts and pumpkins or painted pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month. It seems just like yesterday everyone was excited for summer to finally arrive and before we knew it, we are getting ready for the holidays. Wow, does time fly.
The same can be said for taking care of ourselves and getting our routine preventative checkups. We all have really good intentions about seeing our doctor for our annual visits, but somehow life gets in the way and we lose track of time. Before we know it, months or even years pass before we get the needed screenings that could detect something is wrong with us before symptoms arrive.
Am I preaching to the choir?
Well… I have a confession to make. And honestly I’m utterly embarrassed to even share this with you. Why? Because I am constantly promoting that we should live a healthy lifestyle which includes taking care of ourselves preventatively.
Earlier this summer, I saw my doctor to take care of a few minor health issues, and along with that I realized I needed to get my mammogram. I knew it had been awhile, and even though I do breast self-exam checks, I couldn’t remember when my last one was. So, I asked my doctor. And he confirmed that I definitely needed one because it had been 5 years since my last one.
5 years??? Wait a minute. It’s really been 5 years?!?! What the HADES have I been waiting on?
I couldn’t believe it had been that long because that’s not something I would do. Luckily, I don’t have a family history of breast cancer and I’ve never had issues with my breasts. However, I know that prevention is essential for living a long healthy life. But like so many other people, I allowed time to slip away.
With my mouth dropped open, I asked that we schedule it as soon as possible.
On Friday afternoon, June 30th, I went to my mammogram appointment. Although I wasn’t having any issues, I was a little nervous because it had been so long. They asked if I wanted the new 3-D scan as I signed in, and not really knowing the difference between the old 2-D version, I agreed. Luckily, I had an amazing mammography tech and she was quite funny. We talked about the benefits of the new 3-D version, but she warned me not to get scared if they tell me that I might have to do another scan or have an ultrasound. She claimed that the new scans are so sensitive now, that they can actually show hairs on your skin. So, after several painful, breath-holding yoga poses on the new machine, it was over. The tech told me again what to expect and not to worry if they called to do another one. I was in and out of the appointment with slightly tender ‘squashed’ breasts in 15 minutes.
Luckily, a few days later, I received a letter from the radiology department. All clear. Whew! I was thankful for the positive news and even more thankful I didn’t have to repeat the modern-day torture exam for another year.
So, don’t do what I did and wait. If you haven’t had your annual mammogram, please schedule it today. Is it a ‘fun’ exam? No, but it is quick and one of the few exams out there that can detect something early.
To learn more about mammograms, helpful hints, breast self-exams and more, read my previous post Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a Good Reminder. You may even want to share this link with your girlfriends or family members who need a mammogram reminder.
Let’s all agree to do a better job of preventive care and living a healthier lifestyle. Life is short and we need to enjoy every moment of it without the worry of undetected problems.
Be well my friends,