Written by: Jenny
I had my yearly mammogram today. My results were normal. I'm so grateful.
Breast cancer is so freaking scary. It seems to be everywhere these days. Two of my Aunts are going through treatment right now. A younger friend of mine fought it and won. I emcee the Making Strides walk every Fall and look out into a sea of survivors. Yes, almost all of us have a connection.
My OB suggested I get a baseline mammogram at 37. I did. It went well. Three years later, I went again -- the start of my yearly appointments now that I'm in the 40 club. They found a cyst. I needed further testing. I was terrified. My life flashed before me. I go from zero to absolute worst case scenario in exactly one second. It's who I am. It's what I do.
The doctor believed it was benign. He felt it was ok to 'wait and see' - I would get re-checked six months later. If it got larger, more testing.
'Wait and see'. That's not a great plan of action for an anxious girl like me. I Googled. I WebMD'd. I worried myself sick. Kid you not, I thought about that cyst so often, I gave myself panic attacks in the middle of the night. I would be with a group of friends or with my family - laughing and having a great time - then that awful thought (what if it was growing... what if the doctor was wrong and it wasn't benign?) would sneak in and steal the moment of joy. I had to wait six more long months to find out what was up.
Finally, the day of the re-check came and I can't even tell you the amount of relief that I felt when it was confirmed -- benign. Nothing to worry about.
Cut to this morning... six months after that... another 'all clear' appointment. A big sigh of relief.
While I was in the exam room receiving my good news, it wasn't lost on me that there have been and will be others in that exact same spot hearing the words they do not want to hear. Words that rock one's world. Words that change everything. I said a silent prayer for those women then and I say it again now.
Mammograms do not hurt, at least in my experience anyway. I mean, is it awkward? Well, yeah. But, is it worth it? Well, DEFINITELY.
If you have been putting it off because you're scared, please trust me that it's quick, it's not 'painful' (a little uncomfortable, but no biggie). Early detection is key and in my moments of worry (remember, it's what I do... even though I got a good report today... the future is anybody's guess), I think of how far we've come in terms of treatment and survival rate.
Don't be scared. Take care of yourself.