So I finally went for my very first mammogram this morning. I say finally because my doctor has told me for 2 years, ever since I turned 50, that I needed to have a baseline mammogram done.
I didn’t think it was necessary. I’m in a low-risk group – lots of breastfed kids, first pregnancy before age of 30, Asian, normal weight, physically active, no family history. Besides, I’m a nurse. We’re notoriously famous for being bad patients. Then my husband asked me to go. So I went, more for him than for myself.
I think mammogram machines were built for women who are, uh, much more generously endowed than I. The old saying, “you can’t squeeze blood out of a stone,” kept playing in my head as the technician twisted me this way and that way just to get the right amount of breast placed properly between the 2 positioning things. Yup. Definitely built for the more blessedly gifted.
The whole thing was over quickly. A little uncomfortable maybe, especially when I was unable to move in the vice-like grip of the machine and being told, “now, don’t breathe.” Four times. Four pictures. But it was uneventful.
As I was driving to a client’s house afterwards, I wondered why I put it off for 2 years. It wasn’t an inconvenience at all. I’m kind of mad at myself for not going earlier.
I think I got complacent and a little smug because I’m a healthy woman. I thought there was no way I could get breast cancer since I don’t have any of the high-risk factors.
Thinking back on it, if one of my patients gave me that same argument, I would still try to convince her to have a baseline mammogram done. In fact, good friends have given me that argument and I’ve told them they should have one anyway. Shame on me for thinking I was any different. If I didn’t want to do it for myself, then at least I should have gotten one earlier for my husband’s peace of mind.
I’m pretty confident that there’ll be nothing negative about my test but I’ll be waiting eagerly for the results. Now that I’ve had one done, I’d like to know how it turns out. Having a baseline mammogram is a good thing.
After today’s experience, I’m a convert. Now I’ll tell other women who had my earlier, misguided attitude to just go. Get one done. It takes nothing out of your life and could very well save your life. If you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for the people who love you and want you around for a long, long time.