19 November 2009


Mammograms are a hot topic this week. It seems some people think that mammograms save lives, but not enough to balance out the false positives and such. Excuse me? "Enough lives" is exactly one if it saves yours, your mom's, your sister's. My son was in the car this afternoon. He heard the word "mammogram" on NPR and asked me what it is. I told him it's a test I have every year to make sure I'm not sick. He didn't ask any more questions after that.

My relationship with mammograms got off to an early start, before I was 40. I was 35 and about to have breast reduction surgery. I had pre and post surgical mammograms. While I was having kids and breastfeeding I got a little break. Then I found a lump while I was still nursing Eleanor. My doctor found it too, a week after I did, without my mentioning it. (If she had not found it I would have said something, of course.) Since I was nursing I had an ultrasound and all was well. When Eleanor weaned I had my first real "mandated" post-40 mammogram. I went again this year. Then back a few weeks later for two more rounds plus another ultrasound, due to some inconclusive results. I spent three weeks with some mild worry and 2 hours suppressing a full-blown panic attack. And I walked out with the news that all was well, again.

I can live with that. For many years, with any luck. I'll be having an annual mammogram, even if I have to pay for them myself, and even if I have more worry and panic over possible problems. Entirely worthwhile, in my opinion.

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