I am approaching forty and my OB suggested I get a baseline mammogram at my convenience.
Then I ignored her request for too long and for some reason put off making the appointment. My conscious nagged me that early detection for breast cancer is crucial and I need to do this. Eventually I called and proudly made a mammogram appointment. Sometimes for me, calling is the hardest part.
We arrived at the Women’s Health Center and I checked in at the desk and filled out a standard paper with insurance information. I waited some more and then was asked back to a second waiting room. I changed only my top half into a pink shirt robe and sat with a bunch of other patiently waiting women in the same pink shirt robe with their everyday pants and shoes below.
More waiting and I am called back by a very kind and informative nurse technician named Rachel. I am asked more standard questions and then explained what will happen next. There is an awkward glass machine where I put each breast in two positions and the tech pushed down my breast, told me not to breathe, went behind a glass and took a photo. My yoga came in handy as I twisted in quite awkward positions.
Rachel then sent me back to the waiting room and made sure I understood there was no reason to worry, but because this was a baseline mammogram they had nothing to compare it to and most likely will need to call me back for more pictures.
I waited more. As Rachel had mentioned I was called back to take more detailed pictures and again smushed into the same machine. She was wonderful at making sure I knew this was normal and no reason to be worried and sent me back to the waiting room for more waiting.
Then a different nurse named Jennifer came out to take me for an ultrasound. I laid very still as she put warmed, but still cold gel on one breast at a time and moved it over with a wand to take more pictures. It reminded me of the ultrasounds I had when I was pregnant and how the doctor then was looking for a heart beat and this time searching for something much less joyful.
Jennifer then left me alone in the cold room and told me to wait there and the doctor would be in. She again said not to be nervous, but by this point I couldn’t help it.
Finally the young radiologist came in and said, “Good news. There is nothing there.” Jennifer then explained they would send me a letter in a year to make another appointment.
I returned to meet my patient mom and gave her the thumbs up to let her know all was good. I walked out lighter that my dreaded mammogram appointment got checked off my to-do list.
Have you gotten a mammogram? Have you been putting it off?
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