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Speaking in parenthetical phrases

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Everybody's doing it
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 posts
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.

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(Deleted comment)
Oh yay, there's a song :)

Yeah, I keep forgetting I have to go back, but I think I'd rather do that than sit and be miserable thinking about it. They did a good job of saying, "it's probably nothing and we just want to look at one little thing again, to be sure" ... so I'm mostly ok :)

Had to giggle a bit at your 34th BD rude-awakening moment. Mine was 40. Truly traumatic at the time. Now 40 sounds like being 16 again. Not so funny, though, about your being called back for another mammogram. Chances are very high that you are fine, so I hope you are stressing too much in the interim. Easy for me to say, right? Update us when you can and make a date with yourself to go every year now. Promise.

Edited at 2012-03-21 05:22 am (UTC)

Isn't it weird how one day you're fine and one day OH DEAR LORD, I'M OLD?! oh LOL

I'm not stressing out too much - maybe they did TOO good of a job reassuring me this sometimes happens, etc. Of course, I'm not thinking about it much either. Maybe by Tuesday I'll be more freaked out :)

Good to went!

I had a similar moment once... when my gynecologist asked me during a pap smear when will I start thinking about children? It would be the perfect time for my body.

I nearly jumped from the chair. That was when I was 25, still in university.

Oh man! That would freak out most 25 year olds! Doctors say strange things at strange times, don't they?

I hope you're results are OK! And that in future you'll be a better person and get yourself checked out regularly. The world needs Ants!


Thanks friend! So far, so good. I'll evidently get whatever results there are to be gotten on Tuesday when I go back.

(Deleted comment)
Yes, I do, and thank you for that reminder!

So far, they may have reassured me TOO well that "it's probably nothing" because I'm pretty ok with it for now. Of course, I'm also mostly avoiding thinking about it :)

Don't feel guilty - just go ahead and make the appointment. Guilt doesn't do anything but make your stomach hurt.

If you don't feel that "getting old" thing, that's good :)

(Deleted comment)
LOL! I keep wanting to say, "get off my land!" when I do and say things that seem old farty ...

As you know, I don't do the 'dye the hair' thing. I figure I worked hard for nature to give me those streaks. Of course, now there is mostly streaks, not much blonde!

That said, I have procrastinated about both the smears and mammograms and then been terrified about the possible result. The reality for most people is that there are no issues, even with call backs but, should there be, better to know and have choices, I think.

Sending vibes of support and reassurance.

Thank you, my friend. I sincerely appreciate your support and care :)

I've been doing mammograms since before the boys were born...but I hadn't scheduled the one for this year yet. I called and scheduled it for April.

I'm sure you are just having to go back because they don't have anything to compare it to. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts. What time is your appointment?

You're impressive, and I'm glad you did :)

Thanks, friend - they did a good job of reassuring me -- maybe too good -- but right now I'm feeling not too concerned about it. I'm also not thinking about it much :) The great thing is that I should know results on the spot after new scan and ultrasound on Tuesday at 3:30 MT.

(Deleted comment)
Isn't that interesting? I never heard of such a thing. And of course, not knowing made it a little confusing. What brought it to my attention was the form I filled out before the mammogram -- it asked all of the family history of cancer questions, and then had a box for "if you're Jewish, are you Ashkenazi" or something on that order. Under it in parenthesis, it listed Eastern Europe, Poland, some other countries (loved the region listing first and then countries). Anyway, Romania wasn't listed, but it's definitely Eastern, so then I was all .... uh, I don't know. And I called my mom afterward, and she didn't know either.

One thing I'd forgotten, though, was related to the mom's side thing. Because although those relatives are from my mom's side of the family, the Jews were on Grandmother's father's side. So ... it's good to have your take on it, because I've been trying to figure out for a week "how do you know if you're Ashkenazi if your family doesn't know?"

Anyway, good to know about your "extra pictures" experience. Hoping mine's the same :)

(Deleted comment)
I knew I should have just asked you first!

I'll have to look at when the relatives came over. And I didn't know anything about the donor matches. That's very interesting. Thanks!

(Deleted comment)
I'm in the bone marrow database too, but I'm sure I don't remember any questions about that. At least not when I registered. And how interesting about your SIL's family. Things that make you go, "hmmmm..."

(Deleted comment)
Thanks, friend! It's so nice to see/hear you :) I've been a blogging slacker for too long, and I realize that part of not blogging means I was missing out on interactions like this!

I love that icon too -- found it years ago ... and not too many opportunities to use it :)

(Deleted comment)
This is what I get for not reading Livejournal for a couple of weeks? All those people above are saying what I first thought of ... callbacks are VERY common. I've had two callbacks that resulted in lumpectomies, both of which turned out to be benign. I've also had other callbacks that were just more pictures and everything's okay, we just wanted to double-check.

Of course, I've had many, many mammograms because I'm 62almost 63 and have lost one sister to breast cancer. That started the rest of us girls having mammograms at an early age.

I'll pray that your results are good. And I'll be thinking of you every minute from now until I hear. Wish I were there to hug you and talk to you to keep your mind off any little worries that I know (from experience) are there. {{Margaret}}

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