You had the strength all along, my dear. (Glinda, the good witch)
I rolled out of bed this morning knowing I had a very important appointment. Today was my annual mammogram.
There is always some anxiety on this day. First, it leaves a woman with a vulnerable feeling to expose one’s breasts to a stranger. Two, it hurts. And three, there’s always a pit in one’s stomach hoping that the report will come back clean.
The pain is significant. It reminds me of something Breezy said to me when she was about four. We were playing doctor and she was cutting a baby out of my stomach with a bath mitt. She told me, “This is going to hurt…a lot. But only for a little while. Scream, but scream easily.”
I’ve never screamed during a mammogram, but it does hurt…a lot. But only for a little while.
I go to a image center where there are woman treating women. From the time I walk in the door they treat me like a special guest. After checking in, someone walks me back to a waiting room which is a very welcoming. There is a volunteer who offers me drinks and snacks. She shows me to a dressing room and gives me a warmed robe. She instructs me how to use the lockers.
When the x-ray tech comes to greet me she tells me her name. She talks me through the entire procedure. When we’re done, she walks me back down the hallway to the dressing rooms.
As I leave the facility, a woman at the front desk cuts off my wrist band and wishes me a good day.
The report will come within the week. If all is well, I am done for another year.
I never miss a year. Sure, I’ve been fortunate thus far, but the median age for the diagnosis of breast cancer is age 62. It increases significantly after age 70. Fewer than 5 percent of woman are diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 40. But, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer at sometime in their lifetimes. The stats for men are 1 in 1,000, but 2,250 cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2018.
You can read all the stats for yourself at breastcancer.org. Breast cancer is nothing to fool around with. Women over 40 with an average risk should get a mammogram annually.
I have many dear friends who have had breast cancer. Most of them survived. I honor them with this post. You are brave women and amaze me with your strength! I thank God for your survival.
Remember, October is breast cancer awareness month. Spread the word. Wear pink!
PS Regardless of how you feel about the NFL and Nike right now, one amazing thing they have done is to have the players wear pink during the month of October. It is a way the men have used their influence to bring much awareness to breast cancer, primarily a women’s disease.