I Had My First Mammogram!

*Image Credit – Health.com

    This past week, I scheduled my yearly appointment at they gynecologist to get a pap smear before going back to work in September.  Prior to being examined, I answered a series of routine questions about my health and the medications that I am currently taking in order to get my doctor up to date on everything.

    One of the questions asked if there is a history of breast cancer in my family and I remembered to jot down that my paternal great-grandmother died from it.  It never occurred to me that this would bring up the whole issue of having a mammogram with my gynecologist.  After all, women don’t have to start having them until they are forty, right?

*Image Credit – dixon-law.com

    Apparently I was wrong because my doctor explained to me, as we debriefed in her office after my physical exam, that she likes to schedule an initial mammogram consultation for patients who are 35 if they have any kind of family history of breast cancer.  I was faced with the following choice:  Have a mammogram now and if everything shows up fine not have another one until age 40 or just wait until I’m 40 to have one.

    Honestly, it took me a few minutes to absorb all that information.  I guess I just had never considered that it would be necessary for me to have a mammogram prior to turning 40.  After all, I’m 36 and I have already had to face having one kind of cancer at age 30 when I was diagnosed with Leukemia so hearing about being screened for another type was somewhat daunting.

*Image Credit – sheknows.com

    Unsure of what decision to make, I asked my doctor for her advice and she shared with me that she thought it would be a good idea to just have an initial mammogram consultation now just to make sure everything is okay.  I know how important early detection is so I took her word for it and was lucky enough to schedule a mammogram for that same day.

    For those of you who have never had a mammogram, it honestly is not as scary as you think it is.  They asked me to take off my top and my bra at the imaging place and made me put on a gown which opened in the front.  When I entered the mammogram room, the technician was very kind and made me feel at ease right away.  She proceeded to open each side of my gown and get different images of my breasts from a few angles.

*Image Credit – medbroadcast.com

    Aside from having to put your breast on a fixed x-ray plate and then having it flattened like a pancake by an adjustable plastic plate from the top, the only other slight inconvenience or discomfort was being undressed in a cold room.  Really ladies, it was not painful at all and it was over fairly quickly.  That is a small price to pay for your life, in my opinion.

    If you are a woman age 40 or older, you should be having a mammogram every year.*  In some cases, like mine where there is a family history of breast cancer, your doctor might advise you to have one done sooner.  As a person who is already living with one cancer due to early detection, I would always advise you to take heed to your doctor’s warnings.  There is nothing to be afraid of, everything is going to be okay…

*Disclaimer - We are not medical professionals and any statements we make are based on our own experiences and are not meant to be taken instead of medical advice from a licensed medical professional.

© 2013, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.

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  • BohemianBabushka

    Glad you went and had it done. Also glad they’re much less intrusive and painful nowadays. BB2U

  • emycooks

    I dread it, I guess I need to get it done somewhere else,Happy you got it done and not so traumatic.

  • Katherine Gilbert

    I’m glad you had it done and that it wasn’t bad. I have heard some horror stories

  • phoneutriafera

    I’m glad you had it done and it wasn’t that bad. Now hoping everything’s all fine.

  • phoneutriafera

    I’m glad you had it done and it wasn’t too bad. Now hoping everything’s all fine. (sorry ift his is a duplicate comment)

  • Tracy Iglesias

    If there is any history of Cancer in your family, your Primary (or GYN) should approach you regarding a Mammogram. I had mine done early also for the same reason you did! I also participated in an event with Giuliana Rancic for P&G and her story was also a motivating factor, unfortunately Breast Cancer does not care about age!

    And yes the discomfort vs your life is a total no brainer!

    Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

  • Thomas Chappell

    Every Mother’s Day our family Including our now 6 year old run the Susan G Komen 5 k here in Pittsburgh.

  • Daisy Tremorev

    Wow, I didn’t even realize that you start doing this every year starting at age 40. I’m getting close.

  • Barb W.

    For the same reason I started having early mammograms, too. They certainly are a little uncomfortable, but not nearly as bad as you think they will be. Thank you for sharing this important information and for encouraging others- so very important to take care of our health!!

  • Pam

    My doctor told me I had to start having mammograms when I was 35 too, due to the cancer risk. Early detection is a good thing.

  • GrandmaBonnie A

    That is a big motivation to have one done. I realize they don’t usually hurt but as I get older there seems to be a lot more discomfort to the whole procedure. Well, that won’t stop me from being screened though. Thanks for sharing.

  • Viccy H

    It’s great that you got it done :-) Smears and mammograms can and do save lives!
    And speaking of pap smears, mine’s Monday. Not looking forward to it, but it could save my life x

  • Di Ranere

    I posted about my first one just a few months ago, I am 42 so the time was now. The first one didn’t hurt and was very similar to yours. However, I had to go back since they saw “something” and that second one HURT! Of course this was a much more invasive test, but yeah, very painful.

  • sarah clegg

    oooh 8 years to go not looking forward but i know it is important xx

  • Carol Conway Fleisher

    There is a history of breast cancer on both sides of my family. In june they found a suspicious lump two days before my hubby lost his job and we lost our insurance. I recently found out about a not for profit program that provides mammograms for women who cannot afford them. I am hoping and praying its nothing serious. Thank you for you post. It makes me feel a little more at ease when I do get one thanks.

  • T. Marie

    Eeeek! I would have been so scared too but congrats on your first mammogram. always better to get these things done sooner rather than later. Hope everything comes out Aces.

  • Corinne Schmitt

    I had my first mammogram last year and was petrified because for some reason everyone likes to tell you their horror stories beforehand. Like you, I found it only slightly uncomfortable and the worst part was being cold. I’d like to add that I had calcifications that the doctor wanted to rule out as cancerous so I had to have a biopsy. Also, not painful. I mention it because apparently they are quite common so if your doctor recommends it, don’t leap right to panicking!

  • http://www.growingupmadison.com/ GrowingUpMadison

    I had one last year as well because I also have a family history of breast cancer. It wasn’t as terrifying as I thought it would have been and everything was ok. I’d much rather know whether I’m fine or not that live in fear. Hope everything turns out ok for you as well.

  • Antionette Blake

    Yes, I did a similar post last year at my annual mammy. At age 51 I have been getting them for over 10 years and encourage women to have an annual mammy as well. Thanks for posting, I am due in October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

  • Melinda Kuffler Dunne

    I have terrible anxiety every time I have to have a mammogram. I have had 6 lumpectomies so every time I go I expect to hear something isn’t right. I have also had cervical cancer so I understand how it is being faced with cancer. It is terribly frightening, however it is really important to do. I agree the price of discomfort isn’t worth risking your life for.

  • http://www.hellotwoam.blogspot.com/ Stormy Gonzalez

    Leukemia sucks.Glad you kicked it’s booty! But mammograms? Still terrified. I mean, your post is awesomely informative, and I did learn that we’re not smashed between “two giant metal grill slabs” like I’ve been told haha. I find that this is something we don’t really discuss as minorities, but somehow even less as women! It’s crazy – I feel like I should hear this stuff from my family, rather than a blog post, but I do have to give you MAJOR kudos for sharing. For younger women like myself. I’ll be getting mine in 10 years, according to family history – and I could have waited 15! Five years is a big difference.

  • Melanie Roberts

    Good that your doctor is that on top of your health.. and glad you got it done early… wishing you all the best and hope all stays well and healthy

  • http://www.imasillymami.com/ I’m A Silly Mami

    I’m glad you had it done. I started having them in my early 30′s. I had a few painful lumps -no family history but my doctor and i agreed to have it done after my mom died of stomach cancer – no family history there at all either. I stopped when I was pregnant and nursing. Its definitely time to schedule one

    • Valerie Hoff

      I was diagnosed with cancer two months after my mammogram tested normal. Please, please do self exams regularly. That’s how I found my lump. Also, if you don’t have time to get a mammogram or do a self exam, you DEFINITELY don’t have time for Cancer!

  • Isabel Garcia

    I am so glad you shared your mammogram experience and remind everyone that it’s extremely important to make time to get this exam done.

  • Blessie Nelson

    Its so important to raise the awareness for breast cancer screening! Kudos to you for having the courage to share!

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  • shaunie

    This post is very encouraging for those who may be afraid… yet brave and strong to go through it (not something I would be willing to do).

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