You know when you put something on a to-do list and it's not on fire, so you keep moving it forward, or hitting snooze, or whatever method you use to put it off, and pretty soon it's been a year since you added it to your list? No? Just me? Well, I do that all the time. And sometimes it's 2 years, and then 3 and then I turned around and I was 45 and still hadn't had a mammogram.
It's not even like I'm worried about what I'd find (well, of course that's scary, but I'm still young and dumb enough to think I'm invincible), or that it's as invasive and icky as a pap smear; I just keep putting it off. I suppose a headshrinker might say it's because of my horrible 34th birthday ...
[wavy Wayne's World flashback motion]
The day I turned 34, I realized I was officially "old". ... which is sad, really, because I love birthdays. Three things happened that week/day that are branded in my memory:
1. It was the year I realized that while I'd been dyeing my hair for fun -- funky highlights, etc. -- my hair had been going gray and I didn't know it. It just snuck up on me, and then I was stuck dyeing my hair after that because I had a gray line at my temples I didn't know what to do with.
2. On my 34th birthday
, my doctor's office called to tell me I should schedule a mammogram. THIRTY-FOUR! "But, but, I'm not even 35!" I exclaimed incredulously to the poor girl making those calls from my doctor's office. I honestly don't even remember how she responded, because the rest of the call was a blur.
3. I was in a small group of women that had grown out of a grief support group at church. What I liked about that group was the diversity in our ages. I was the youngest, and I think the oldest was 60-something. However, when I started telling them about my sad discovery about my hair AND getting called for a mammogram, they all pooh-poohed my concerns and told me to get over myself. Since it was a time we were actually meeting for my birthday
, that hurt my feelings and I felt sorry for myself ... with no sympathy from the women who were all about the "just wait until .... happens!"
[reverse wavy Wayne's World flashback motion]
So anyway, time passed and I'm 45. And I'm on Twitter the other day, minding my own business, when Jennifer Vides
As I go in for surgery... I'd be grateful if at least five of you scheduled your mammogram today.
Included in the tweet was a link to this
blog entry (you should read it - I'll wait). Have you read it yet? Go read it.
So I picked up the phone and made an appointment. And then I went to the appointment. And I had such a nice mammography technician that I called her boss afterward to say nice things about her (and what does it mean that their hold music was "Impossible Dream"?). She did a great job educating me, explaining what she was doing, also that Ashkenazi Jews have the highest rate of breast cancer in the world (I don't know if my family was Ashkenazim or Sephardi, but they were from Romania, so probably the former), and that if I got a call to come back in, not to be alarmed as that wasn't uncommon for first-time screens, because they had nothing to compare the xrays to.
And so I was left to ponder my grandmother's radical mastectomies (both sides!), so long ago we can't remember when she had them, and assume I'm fine. Except that I did get a call back that I shouldn't be worried about, but they want to do one more mammogram on the right side, followed by an ultrasound, just to be sure. So. That happened.