Monday morning mammogram

This post is belated. I didn’t really start my birthday this way; it was last Monday that my day began with that ritual that makes women of a certain age cringe in sympathy. 

Actually, I am not bothered so much by the pain (this time was better, perhaps because of the new machines at my radiology department of choice); nor the strange peekabo gowns (you really just have to get over yourself).

My problem is my own body: it seems to confound radiologists. They almost always need to follow up: “we don’t think there’s anything to worry about, but we suggest an ultrasound, an MRI, a vacuum extraction biopsy …”

It’s anxiety-producing, it’s time-consuming, and it’s expensive!

Actually, the first time a problem presented itself, it was free. My National Health Service doctor, while simultaneously describing her “suspicion index” as “low,” referred me nonetheless to a rapid diagnosis clinic. I clung to my toddler and sobbed. She prescribed a cup of tea with a friend.

Everything, thankfully, was fine. It always is. No matter how many concerned sets of hands I pass through, the outcome (so far) is always the same: benign. I don’t even sob any more, although I do seek out extra cups of tea with friends.

This time around, though, I had a thankfully easy Monday morning. No extra films, and a phone call before the end of day from my primary physician’s office: “Benign.” I could breathe once more.

For me personally, then, the question of breast cancer prevention, cure, screening, what-have-you, is all to do with good, conscientious, kind and careful advice and advocacy, screening, reassurance and referral. I am glad that these things are available at little or no cost to my sisters who do not have my ability to pay for the upmarket, new machines at my radiology department of choice. I am glad that Planned Parenthood, for example, exists.

I am particularly pleased with my local chapter’s response to last week’s highly publicized reports of wrinkles in their relationship with one high-profile breast cancer research and prevention charity, as reported in Cleveland’s Plain Dealer:

As far as a future relationship with Komen, there are no hard feelings — at least in Northeast Ohio.

 “I personally plan to recruit a team to walk with them(in the Race for the Cure) next fall,” Broderick [Tara Broderick, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Northeast Ohio] said. “We’re really going to support them.”*

Walking the talk, and working together for women’s health: who can argue with that?

 

*http://www.cleveland.com/healthfit/index.ssf/2012/02/what_do_you_think_komen_revers.html

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