Two Cents Worth

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Sometimes a girl’s just gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

When I went last week for my regular check-up they did the bone density test first. This is the best test you can have done. You don’t have to take your clothes off; they don’t poke, prod, push or squeeze; they don’t inject or draw out or ask you to eliminate any fluids. All you have to do is lie down on your back with your feet turned in a bit. They even Velcro your feet in position so you don’t have to hold them like that.

Now the cot isn’t a cushion top and the pillow is pretty skimpy but it’s not all that bad. The technician, a lovely young thing, is quite a comedienne. She asked if there was a chance I was pregnant. I guess they try to keep you in good humour before they send you off for a mammogram.

A mammogram is never pleasant but, I understand, easier for some than others. I have been told I have dense tissue which is the reason having a mammo is so extremely uncomfortable - a medical term for “hurts like hell.” I have to psych myself up for several days, do a lot of motivational self-talk and take pain medication before my appointment. It’s awful.

I am sure there are a lot of you out there who feel the same and because of it maybe don’t go as often as you should. There are some who don’t think they need to go because there isn’t a family history or because they are of an age when they don’t think it matters anymore. But there is no excuse good enough - even hurts-like-hell - not to take care of yourself.

We have to be our own caregiver and advocate when it comes to our health. I could throw all kinds of statistics at you but it’s not about that. It’s about loving yourself and your family enough to do what you need to be strong and healthy and to stay that way. It’s great when the tests come back negative and you can breathe easy for another year or so. That is what we all hope for whenever we have any kind of test.

It is so important to detect any breast anomaly early so you can be in control of what is happening to you and how you want to handle it. Sometimes you just need a repeat test to clear you. Or you may need a biopsy to determine what is going on and it could just be a cyst. Maybe you caught it early enough they can just go in and scoop out the nasty stuff (a lumpectomy) and have some chemo or radiation treatments. Or maybe they will need to lop it off. Whatever it takes. It sounds drastic but dead sounds worse.

The most important part is to catch it early enough to give you time to explore your options, get as much information as possible, make the best decision for you and live.

Have your mammogram regularly. Our hospital has the latest digital equipment which gives the clearest most defined image possible and, you know, it wasn’t near as “uncomfortable” as in the past. Of course, Karen coaches and cheerleads you right through it in no time.

Get a mammogram.



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