Friday, March 4, 2011

Yes Mam

I had my first mammogram earlier this week. I had no intention of bringing it up in my blog—I thought it was too personal. Then I realized that if I’m writing a blog to chronicle the journey from the 30’s into the 40’s mammograms deserve a mention. It isn’t all about realizing that confidence is sexier than a tiny waistline. Parts of this journey are not as much fun.  Besides, if I’m going to write about my children’s love life or my miscarriage, a mammogram really isn't that personal.
            The first thing I’m going to say about mammograms is, it isn’t as bad as you think it’s going to be. If getting a little squish means detecting something early, it’s certainly worth some discomfort. For me, it was much easier than getting a pap smear. I think a lot depends upon the technician doing the test. Bonnie was professional and relaxed and seemed to make it her business to make the test as comfortable as possible. After the test she told me that they would make sure the picture came out okay and I’d get a call if they needed to see me again or I’d get a form letter saying everything was fine.
            The other reason I changed my mind about writing about the mammogram experience was the message waiting from me when I got home from work yesterday. It was the Women’s Imaging Center (that sounds so much more glamorous than a place that does ultrasounds and mammograms doesn’t it?). They wanted me to call back right away. Um… I was really looking forward to receiving that form letter.
            I spoke to a lovely receptionist named Rita who booked an appointment for me for Tuesday at 1:00. I had today off but she had just booked the last Friday appointment. That means waiting through Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and half of Tuesday. I’m a “worst case scenario” kind of person. I can’t help it. It’s a genetic gift from my Irish grandmother. Nana would be convinced one of her kids had wrapped their car around a tree if they were fifteen minutes late for a visit. I’m not the only one—the branches of my family tree are heavy with tiny, stubborn, brunette worrywarts.
            So I called Rita right back with my cell phone number and assured her that I could be at the hospital at any time today at a moment’s notice if they had a cancellation. I explained that I’d be obsessing about this the entire weekend. She took the number and then said, “Call me back first thing tomorrow. You never know.” 
            I called while I was waiting for the school bus to arrive and God bless Rita! They can see me this morning. I almost cried with relief when she told me—Tuesday is so far away. Do you know how much bourbon and how many cheeseburgers I could consume yoga and meditation I would have to do between now and then to alleviate my anxiety?
            I realize that this could be absolutely nothing. It could be a shadow on the image or some kind fibroid or calcification. Or it could be something that isn’t nothing. Fortunately I won’t have to wait until Tuesday to find out. Rita assured me that they wouldn’t let me leave until two radiologists had looked at the pictures and someone would speak to me. It’s only about an hour or so away at this point. I think I can wait that long.

            On a MUCH brighter note. It’s time to announce the winner of my give-away! I took a very scientific route to choose the winner. Each entrant’s name was written down on a little scrap of paper, dropped into my favorite Red Sox cap and blindly selected be me. The winner is…Ryan! I will e-mail you the gift code today.

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