I’ve been awake since four-something this morning; worrying, tossing and turning, chastising myself for something that I should have done in April 2013. I don’t’ like to speak badly of myself, but for the past week, I’ve reminded myself that in one potentially big area of my life, I am an idiot.
My oldest daughter got married on June 15, 2013. Because she was away at medical school, she enlisted me to do a vast majority of her wedding planning. It was amazingly awesome to pick out flowers, design and create centerpieces, make favors, and even write the ceremony. In fact, the months, weeks, and days leading up to her ceremony were so fantastically special for me, that I didn’t want anything to mar the fun that I was having. So when my doctor handed me the order for my yearly mammogram in April of 2013, I tucked it away with the good intention of fulfilling it after the wedding. After all, I wouldn’t want something to show up on a life-saving diagnostic tool that could add stress to such a happy time in our family’s lives.
Fast forward to this April 2014; when it’s check-up time, my family doctor realizes that she doesn’t have last year’s mammogram results and promptly writes me a new order. I’m in the midst of dropping pounds like a dude drops twenties at a strip club. Life is good. I feel great; way too great for any bad news. So like the year before, I slipped that order into my underwear drawer and continued to live the good life.
This Monday, I had another check-up with my family doctor. I needed blood-work to check my hemoglobin because of my extensive peri-menopausal bleeding, plus, I’d pulled a pectoral muscle goofing off doing push-ups and side planks with my daughter. My blood-work came back great; my red blood cell count was borderline, but higher than the last time, and my cholesterol and blood glucose were perfect. Things weren’t as rosy when my doc checked my pulled pec. She noticed some slightly enlarge lymph nodes in the area where the pain was. This reminded her that she didn’t see my latest mammogram results in her computer. While she told me that the enlarged lymph nodes were most likely an immune response to a muscle pull, or possibly a tear, and their existence reminded her to check the date of my last mammogram.
I got a new mammogram order and the lecture of a life-time about the life-saving benefits of mammography. The thing is, I should truly know better. My mother had breast cancer and endured a radical mastectomy in her late 30s. I’d witnessed it all; the angst, the surgery, the scars, the chemo and radiation. As a young girl of 11, I’d watched her gorgeous brown hair thin and fall out. I brought her cold washcloths and mint gum to sooth her nausea. I learned to cook full meals, do laundry, clean the entire house to my dad’s strict standards, and get myself and my brother ready for school each day. Breast cancer was a horrible presence that bridged the gap between my innocence and adulthood. Long after my mother recovered, I was anxious and never again a carefree child. So it isn’t any wonder that I’ve actively tried to hide from the beast that took my childhood? However, as an intelligent woman, I should know that hiding from anything only gives it an advantage. Good warriors strategize, and a yearly mammogram is an integral procedure in the fight against breast cancer.
So today, at 3:50, think of me as my breasts are squished to the limit in the mammogram’s vice. If you pray, lift one up for me that I haven’t given the enemy the advantage. If you’ve put off getting your yearly mammogram, and this post speaks to you, call your doctor, save yourself some worry, and make an appointment. Be a good warrior in the battle for good health!
On a happier note, I wish everyone a fabulous fun-filled Fall weekend!