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Posts Tagged ‘Mammogram’

As someone our family loves is going through the medical procedures to have the extent of cancer growth in his body investigated, ‘it’ is in the forefront of our minds. May God hold him in the palm of his hand, and may we be scared enough to live.

It scares us.

It makes us contemplate our life, and our death.

It is like a dark shadow that is possibly around the next corner, or not.

It may not touch us physically, but it will touch us all.

It will come into our life, and it just might take our life from us.

The ‘it’ I speak of is cancer.

For most of us, the word cancer is familiar … too familiar. Cancer is a word that is synonymous with death, because, for us all, there is someone we have known whose body has succumbed to that disease. At the same time, for us all, there is someone who has beaten that disease.

Cancer happens when abnormal cells grow and spread very fast. Cancer cells are like bunnies, they reproduce, quickly, and can take over their environment.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, 40-45% of Canadians will develop cancer, while 24-29% actually die of the disease.  That means that, if diagnosed with the disease, you still have have a good chance of survival.

I just received my reminder of it being time for a mammogram (remember last summer’s posts Mammo 1, and Mammo 2?). It states: I have to say that the line, “early detection saves lives” is the main motivator for me to make that important appointment.

After a stint volunteering at Camp Goodtimes, a camp for kids affected by cancer, my daughter ‘debriefed’ with me about her experiences, her feelings and what she learned.

Well learn she did, and she brought her education home to mama.

What she learned was that those families with children or moms or dads with cancer are learning to keep living through the battle. They do not stop living. Instead, they live more intentionally, more fully, because they live with the shadow of death hanging over their heads. They know that every day is a gift. They know that every day is an opportunity.

She told me of the people she met, and how cancer was NOT what they talked about.

The kids talked about taking pictures of a cute guy, or of eating a yummy treat, or of swimming in the frigid lake. The parents talked about their kids, their jobs, and their homes.

The last night was an evening meal for the adults without the kids … the kids had a party. Once their separate meals were done, they all joined together for a big, fun, loud, joyous dance.

As she told me of their dancing, I was reminded of the numerous times that I have heard of joyous dancing before:

“… the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration.”
Esther 9:22

“… a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance”
Ecclesiastes 3:4

“Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.”
Jeremiah 31:13

“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy”
Psalm 30:11

And it reminded me that we all have the shadow of death hanging over our heads. We are all going to die one day, and we should all live each day as though death were at our doorstep. Being cancer free does not mean that we have any guarantees of tomorrow.

Go and live as though you are being threatened by the Big C … dance!

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Well ‘it’ arrived in the mail last week, heralding in summer in a manner similar to the arrival of mosquitoes.

The ‘it’ I speak of is the reminder that ‘it is time to be done.’ No, not the time to spay or neuter your beasty (and I am referring to the canine variety of beast, not the one you are married to).

It is time to have an annual mammogram.

So, appointment made, I thought I would re-visit my post about the first mammogram I was beckoned to appear (and I mean appear) at.

Give it a read,

have a couple of giggles,

then,

if it is ‘time to be done’

(or maybe it was time quite a while ago),

make an appointment …

it could save a life …

yours.

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Mammo-What? Part 1 Anticipation

I really do not mind having birthdays. I do not even mind the number of birthdays that I have had. Heck, I am not even that upset about my mid-life body (it wasn’t that great in my twenties, and I am more physically active now, so it’s actually on an upward trend … which is humerus, since most of my body parts are on a downward trend …).

What I am not excited about is the invasion of medical tests on my body just because it is over forty!

All of a sudden, my optometrist checks for things like cataracts, and the need for bifocals. My dentist is on the search for recessing gums. And, when I went for that annual ‘woman’ appointment (which I last had done … hum, five years ago), the delightful, cheery, youthful nurse (grrr!) says, “oh, you are forty-two … did you know that women over forty are recommended to have a mammogram every two years?’ Now, how would I know that, I’m only thirty-nine, with three years experience?

So today, like an inmate on death row, heading to the guillotine, I will go to my very first mammogram …

When I got the appointment, I told my hubby that I was going to blog about it, and he said, “you’re not?” And his shocked, astounded, unbelieving question cinched it 😉 (oh, the life of the woman who likes to shock her husband), so, here is the fruit of his amazement!

So, as I have been planning and preparing (mentally) for this appointment, I have been having flashbacks (not hot flashes … that is still to come … and when they do, I will probably blog about them) and nightmares.

The flashbacks have been to those mass emails about mammograms … that are ‘supposed’ to be funny. Come to think of it, they were funny … when I was too young to need to have one! Now their ‘humorous’ messages, make me feel sick to my stomach. Stories of having your ‘girls’ moved and molded like silly putty, between two cold, hard paddles of metal. Moving my ‘twin peeks’ into positions and for lengths of time that God Almighty NEVER intended them to be. I am feeling palpitations of Nascar speeds in my heart just thinking about it! What if, like my mom used to say about making funny faces behind people’s backs, that my bodacious tatas get so squeezed and twisted that they stay that way forever! What if my ‘hi beams’ become ‘low beams’?

Then there’s the nightmares … they are pretty much the same as the flashbacks, but at night, and more sweating is involved (and hubby is not involved in the sweating, other than him dialing 911, because he thinks I am having a heart attack, or seizure or that I’ve lost it … mentally … which, I have to say, I think maybe I am).

But, I am woman … and I will ‘suck it up’ because that is what we women do.

This, although unpleasant, is something that provides detection that women in years past would have, and did, die for.

So ladies (and sensitive male readers, who really do want to know what a woman thinks about the realities of her life), check back tomorrow, for the continuing saga of Mammo-What?

This must be done, and it could be worse …

I could be a man going to an appointment for a ‘digital’ check-up!

Mammo What Part 2 The Main Squeeze

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Well here it is … Mammo Day … and it is definitely NOT a ‘holi-day’.

I leave home with a few minutes to spare, so that I will have lots of time to find parking (if you knew where I lived, and how … quaint the hospital, you might be laying on the floor laughing). When I get my sorry butt into the hospital, and then get lost, before finding out where I was supposed to be.

As I followed the signs to ‘the clinic’, I was certain that everyone who I passed knew … that they knew where I was going, and what would happen there, and that they were whispering to others as I walked passed saying “she’s going for THAT appointment (because SHE is over forty!).” It was a very humbling walk down the hallway!

I reached ‘the clinic’ and opened the huge, enormous, heavy, squeaky (and any other adjectives that make you feel a sense of foreboding). The room I walked in to was pink … no, not just pink, Pepto Bismol pink … I cannot say that the color made me feel more at ease, honestly it made me feel rather nauseous!

The lady at the desk was all business … “health care card … fill out the top sheet … keep the bottom sheet.” I obeyed all of her commands (I cannot for the life of me remember the questions on the form … hum … something about age of first menstruation, any relatives with breast cancer, and a question that made me feel young … something about menopause 🙂 NOT ME), and returned her clipboard … I think it might have been special to her! That still provided ample ‘worry time’ as I awaited my turn (hum, is this what a man waiting to be called in to have a vasectomy feels like?).

Then, the instruction that brought me back to thoughts of the guillotine … “now step through that door, remove your bra, and put your blouse back on.” Sigh, this was the moment of door #1 (the change room), or door #2 (the exit) … and I grudgingly walked through door #1 … more pink (blech).

The change room reminded me of a retail clothing store … four ‘closets’, each with a curtain for a door, and a low shelf in each brimming with magazines. I followed ‘pink lady’ #1’s instructions … and waited … and waited. And listened … there was a screening being done on another lady … I could hear some of the instructions … ‘lay your purse on the chair’, ‘come over here’ and then the instructions mimicked the teacher’s voice from Charlie Brown comics.

But, I figured that since I could hear voices (even if they were mumblings), I could also hear shrieks, screams and cries! So, I developed my escape plan … if I heard cries, I was out of there (even if it meant racing down the halls of the hospital without a bra on under my blouse … I am sure that has happened in a hospital before). So, I flipped through my copy of People magazine, with my ears on alert for distress … nothing. Then, mere moments later, out came the patient … that was IT?

As she descended to her change room, I said, “so, you survived?” And she said, “yes I did … it is not enjoyable, but it is not so horrible either.” But before I could pelt her with more questions, THE DOOR (to the torture chamber) opened.

And I heard my name, spoken softly, and gently … but it didn’t quite feel ‘safe’ coming from ‘pink lady’ #2’s lips.

I was laying my purse on the chair, before she even started instructing me (I was hoping that if she thought I was a ‘keener’ maybe she would excuse me from this test).

There it was … the Mammo device/machine (aka, the instrument of mass torture and potential destruction). Except that it didn’t look so awful. My eyes were scanning it all over for the ice cold, metal paddles … there were none.

And the Mammo technician, her name wasn’t even Ingrid or Helga! And she was soft spoken, and rather nice.

And, it lasted, maybe seven minutes … tops.

And, it really was not so bad. I felt no pain (and I am a pain wimp … I was the sort of pregnant woman who made statements like, “I am in love with the epidural doctor”). I mean none. Oh, it was a teeny bit uncomfortable, but that lasted seconds.

In no time, I was sent back to my closet to re-dress, and leave. And really, the appointment was so quick, so painless that I felt no reason to even stop and ‘reward’ myself with a coffee drink.

According to http://www.worldwidebreastcancer.com (check out the ’12 Signs of Breast Cancer’) the main cause of death in women with cancer. In 2010 about one and a half million people, worldwide, were told they had breast cancer.

And ladies, touch your tatas! Learn how to do a self exam (ask your doctor, check out the web). Women, this is important! If we do not take care of ‘the girls’ who else will?

Did you know that early detection of breast cancer can mean cure rates of about 90%?

It is worth it ladies … for your family, for your friends, for yourself and the fulfillment of your life’s purpose. So, don’t shy away from this appointment.

Now to wait for the results …

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I really do not mind having birthdays. I do not even mind the number of birthdays that I have had. Heck, I am not even that upset about my mid-life body (it wasn’t that great in my twenties, and I am more physically active now, so it’s actually on an upward trend … which is humerus, since most of my body parts are on a downward trend …).

What I am not excited about is the invasion of medical tests on my body just because it is over forty!

All of a sudden, my optometrist checks for things like cataracts, and the need for bifocals. My dentist is on the search for recessing gums. And, when I went for that annual ‘woman’ appointment (which I last had done … hum, five years ago), the delightful, cheery, youthful nurse (grrr!) says, “oh, you are forty-two … did you know that women over forty are recommended to have a mammogram every two years?’ Now, how would I know that, I’m only thirty-nine, with three years experience?

So today, like an inmate on death row, heading to the guillotine, I will go to my very first mammogram …

When I got the appointment, I told my hubby that I was going to blog about it, and he said, “you’re not?” And his shocked, astounded, unbelieving question cinched it 😉 (oh, the life of the woman who likes to shock her husband), so, here is the fruit of his amazement!

So, as I have been planning and preparing (mentally) for this appointment, I have been having flashbacks (not hot flashes … that is still to come … and when they do, I will probably blog about them) and nightmares.

The flashbacks have been to those mass emails about mammograms … that are ‘supposed’ to be funny. Come to think of it, they were funny … when I was too young to need to have one! Now their ‘humorous’ messages, make me feel sick to my stomach. Stories of having your ‘girls’ moved and molded like silly putty, between two cold, hard paddles of metal. Moving my ‘twin peeks’  into positions and for lengths of time that God Almighty NEVER intended them to be. I am feeling palpitations of Nascar speeds in my heart just thinking about it! What if, like my mom used to say about making funny faces behind people’s backs, that my bodacious tatas get so squeezed and twisted that they stay that way forever! What if my ‘hi beams’ become ‘low beams’?

Then there’s the nightmares … they are pretty much the same as the flashbacks, but at night, and more sweating is involved (and hubby is not involved in the sweating, other than him dialing 911, because he thinks I am having a heart attack, or seizure or that I’ve lost it … mentally … which, I have to say, I think maybe I am).

But, I am woman … and I will ‘suck it up’ because that is what we women do.

This, although unpleasant, is something that provides detection that women in years past would have, and did, die for.

So ladies (and sensitive male readers, who really do want to know what a woman thinks about the realities of her life), check back tomorrow, for the continuing saga of Mammo-What?

This must be done, and it could be worse …

I could be a man going to an appointment for a ‘digital’ check-up!

Mammo What Part 2 The Main Squeeze

Read Full Post »

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