Yesterday, I experienced my first mammogram. The mammogram is the test given to detect breast cancer. I scheduled the mammogram appointment on Monday on National Women’s Checkup Day which is a part of National Women’s Health Week. I was pleased to learn that the imaging center could accommodate me so close to me calling to make the appointment. Since I turned 40 in April 2012, the time had arrived for me to make having a mammogram a part of my annual health and wellness routine. When I went to the gynecologist in January 2012, my doctor told me that the prescription to have my first mammogram was her birthday present to me. At that time, I sarcastically said to myself, “Great, just what I wanted.” But, my gynecologist’s birthday present to me WAS a great gift, although I did not realize it at the time.
I had heard many horror stories about the examination. I heard about the squeezing, the pain from the squeezing, the cold machine, and on… I am happy to testify that I experienced no pain or discomfort. The machine was a bit chilly, but nothing unbearable. Maryann, the technician, was professional and courteous. She answered all of my questions without being disgruntled or bothered. Additionally, the examination was quick. I spent more time completing the forms (there are always forms) than I did in the X-ray room. Maryann told me that I will receive a letter containing the results of the X-rays. She assured me that if I need to submit additional images, I should not be alarmed. If need to submit more images, I will not be alarmed. My Bible tells me to be anxious for nothing. The mammogram is important because I will know what is going on with my body. Knowledge is power.
I have a family history of cancer. My maternal aunt died from cancer in 1995. She did not disclose the type of cancer that she battled, so I am extra sensitive to issues surrounding cancer. My maternal grandfather died from colon cancer in 1981. Currently, my mother is battling colon cancer. Shortly after she was diagnosed in February 2012, she had surgery to remove the tumor. Now, she is taking oral chemotherapy medication to fight the cancer. I solicit your prayers for her healing and restoration.
I implore all of my sisters over 40 years old to schedule and attend an annual mammogram. If you have a family history of breast cancer, your doctor should send you to have a mammogram before you turn 40 years old. Although breast cancer is more prevalent in women, breast cancer in men is a cruel reality. The website of the American Cancer Society is a great resource for information about breast cancer. Learn about the risk factors and be empowered. Sisters, do not delay in scheduling and attending your annual mammogram. Brothers, learn about the risk factors for breast cancer in men and encourage your female family members, friends and loved ones to schedule and attend an annual mammogram. Be vigilant about good health. Stay encouraged.