Friday, April 25, 2014

No More Excuses

My First Mammogram | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
My souvenir for having my boobs smashed!
It is utterly ridiculous for any woman today to skip the ten minutes it takes to have her boobies squished to screen for breast cancer. I hang my head with embarrassment that it took me five years to make the appointment for my baseline mammogram screen. Oh, I had lots of grand reasons. Here were my top five:

1. I don't have time. I work, have a family, help my aging parents...I'm lucky to get five minutes on the couch in front of the television before passing out from exhaustion.

2. I don't have a family history of breast cancer, so it's okay to put it off. 

3. It sounds painful and what if my boobies rupture when they smoosh them in that machine? Have you ever seen a grape in a vice?

4. I keep forgetting to call.

5. We don't have the extra money right now.
Ready to Smoosh | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Ready for my screen. 

However, during a recent visit to my doctor, the subject of a baseline mammogram came up. In this highly digital information age, my doctor knew via a few quick keystrokes that I had not yet been for my first mammogram. She looked up from her laptop, scrunched her face, furrowed her eyebrows, and asked, "Why?"

As I began with my string of reasons, my words bounced off the sterile walls with the resonance of pathetic, sad excuses. Even I knew it was unacceptable for an educated professional woman to be so negligent of her own health and well-being. My doctor  strongly urged me to make the call and set up the appointment, noting my number 2 reason was unacceptable, especially since I did have a family history of cancer, even if it wasn't breast cancer. She noted that our insurance would pay for the screen in full. I would not have to cough up a co-pay or any out-of-pocket money at all. Excuse number 5 went up in smoke.

As I was walking home from my doctor visit, I made the call. The woman who scheduled my appointment asked where I had been getting my mammograms in the past. I sheepishly admitted I never had one. A shocked, "Oh!" was followed by a brief and condemning silence. She then asked me the usual questions: 
Butterflies | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
A patient made these butterflies, which
really warmed the X-ray room and made
it brighter and more comforting.
Do you have breast implants? 
No, please refer to 5 above, plus, Hubby says there's no need. (She wasn't amused.)
When would you like to come in? 
Oh, um, I think I have some time on Friday. (As if they could fit me in that very week.)
How about 10 a.m.? 
(Wow. They could fit me in.) Sure. Okay.
Then she gave me some instructions and that was that. I had my first mammogram appointment. 

After overcoming numbers 1, 2, 4, and 5 on my list, I spent the rest of the week worried about my girls. Number 3 was my biggest challenge. I lost sleep as I tossed, turned, and envisioned being the first ever woman to have her boobs burst like grapes in a vice. But then I figured I'd get a huge settlement out of it if it did happen. I decided I was willing to let them burst if it meant more money for my kids to go to college as well as new cars and a newly renovated kitchen.
Mammo Selfie | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Mammo-Selfie with Kathy,
my awesome X-ray technician.

When I was called back to the mammogram room, I was greeted by Kathy, my X-ray technician. She was so wonderful and upbeat, I almost forgot about the grape-in-a-vice scenario. 

Within 10 minutes, it was all over. Kathy cheerfully talked me through the entire process. My boobs were slightly uncomfortable at times, but it never lasted long enough to warrant any complaints. And the girls never got to the point at which I thought they might burst. 

So there you have it. There are no more excuses left. And while I'm still a bit ashamed of waiting so long, I'm proud to have overcome my excuses and fears so that I can say my boobies have been appropriately squished and screened. Oh, and ladies, if I can do it, you can too! Go get squished. And tell your sisters, moms, aunts, and friends to do it, too.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at)
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1 comment:

  1. Don't feel bad, Micki! You don't have to feel bad with the visits you never had before, now that you got one. You've accomplished much with this visit. And now that you've done it, at least you can rest easy that you don't have anything to worry about in that area. Cheers!

    Pearlie Kreidler @ US HealthWorks