Thursday, November 8, 2007

What me worry?


What me worry?

Maybe I should, especially after the scare I had when I found a LUMP in my right breast years ago, big enough to detect while innocently soaping up in the shower. The speed with which the doctor moved to do a biopsy was fear inducing in itself.

It proved benign, but I had to get frequent mammograms at first until I was cleared for the standard once-a-year protocol. I was faithful for a while, but after my physical this spring I ignored the doctor's instructions to schedule a mammogram along with my first ever bone density test. I guess I've reached the age, or is it the stage, where osteoporosis is a concern.

I remember thinking I'd never again let so much time go by that something could grow undetected inside my body until it could be too late. Still, I never do breast self-exams, even though my doctor patiently instructs me "how to" every year. I let her tell me again, and again. She must suspect.

But here I am, six months overdue for a mammogram, maybe more. I lose track of time.

Today when I got home the voice mail message was blinking on the kitchen phone.

It was Christine from the doctor's office telling me I needed to schedule a mammogram before the end of the year. She left a number for me to call.

But I didn't call. Or haven't yet.

I suppose I will. I should, anyway.

I have this secret thought that yearly mammograms are excessive despite what JAMA says. Some doctors say every two years is fine. And even though the radiologists always tell me, as they flatten my breasts and shoot x-rays through them, that the radiation is minimal, it's cumulative.

But radiation is not why I don't rush for my mammogram. I'm really not worried about that; I don't like the idea, but I don't worry about it.

The results of a survey by an international research firm showed interesting cultural differences in what adults fear about getting older. Germans worry about failing memory, the Dutch about gaining weight, and Thais about diminishing eyesight.

People in the USA worry about all of the above, and more, including loss of energy and trouble caring for one's self.

We are a people full of fears, worries, what ifs, and statistical data. We fear greatly what is not likely. The constant stream of pharmaceutical ads makes us believe we're doomed to be doddering, mental incompetents. We're not.

That said, I will schedule my mammogram, worried or not. It's about early detection; it makes sense.
~~~~~
Let us be of good cheer, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which will never happen. ~James Russel Lowell

11 comments:

Janice Thomson said...

Because a lump was found it probably is wise to keep getting checked. I do think though that our whole society is a fear-based one and that as long as we think about something often enough or with the strong emotion of fear we give it power to become a reality.

rain said...

I'm 45 and haven't had one yet. I guess I should get in there....sigh. I'm so glad your scare was just that.

Lisa said...

I'm with Janice on this ~ just go and get it over with. You'll feel better. :)

Rick Bylina said...

Schedule it. Writing about it is your subconscious worrying that you are making a poor choice by not scheduling it. And the accummulated amount of radiation is small compared to the alternative if something is not detected early enough.

Verification word: xghwxcd. Nepalese for foolish person who avoids what they need to do. How damn appropriate is that.

-rick
http://muse-needed.blogspot.com/

david santos said...

I passed here for seeing its work that is very good and desiring a good weekend

Suzi said...

My doctor started telling me to get a base line mammogram when I was in my early twenties. I put it off for years. At 49 I was diagnosed with breast cancer through a mammogram. I am now a 19 year survivor. I became a mammogram evangelist to all my friends and acquaintances.

Make that appointment!

Ruth D~ said...

I hear the collective wisdom here. Worried or not, things happen. The day after I posted this, I heard that a friend and colleague who retired from teaching last year was just diagnosed with breast cancer. She wasn't expecting such news . . .

I will make the call.

Wanda said...

Oh Ruth, I''m so glad you came by to visit today. We have a history of cancer in my family so since 40 I have had my annual physicals and mammograms. Mine is schedule for Nov. 27th!!
Thanks for the reminder!! Enjoyed your post, will be back to read your previous ones.
Wanda

Dawn said...

Hi Ruth,
You're probably right to make the call.

I have stepped away from all of the testing. For me the tests are never accurate anyway, just frustrating and worrisome. I'd rather take good care of myself in other ways.

Dawn

Alice Folkart said...

Coming in late, but if you'd like, give me the phone number, I'll be your 'secretary,' and set up the appt. for you. All you have to do it go and have a treat afterwards. My annual mamogram date is also my annual huge hot-fudge sundae with toasted almonds and a lot of whipped cream date. Or, it could be a shopping spree, or a walk in the country, or getting your hair dyed purple, or anything that you don't usually give yourself the time to do.

Let me know. I've got phone service that gives me free long distance anywhere in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico - hey,there's an idea - you could get a mamogram in Puerto Rico and spend a couple of days on vacation in a warm and sunny place...

Alice

Ruth D~ said...

Alice~

My next year's mammo will be in some place warm and sunny, how 'bout Hawaii? Just today I made an appointment-- December 18th in cold, wintery Massachusetts.

Hey, we should arrange a phone session!