Wednesday, April 30, 2008

You've Got a Ma'am-O-Gram

I was mortified yesterday when I checked into the Center for Breast Health at the local hospital. The receptionist had me fill out some forms while she pulled up my records. Honestly, for the sake of my dignity I'm not going to share with you how many years have past since my last mammogram.

You know this is very dangerous behavior and certainly not an example I wish to set for my own daughter. It's more dangerous than riding Harley's and I gave that up years ago.


I could rationalize it and say that I've been occupied with other health issues but that's stupid. You're never too busy or too pre-occupied to do the basics of healthcare.

Previously the tests were done in the hospital's radiology department, but in the intervening years they've built a new office building which houses the Center for Breast Health. All I can say is WOW.

This was a literal Breast Health Spa. You need to understand that we live 9 miles from anything and 9 miles from everything. What that means is our small, rural communities are being overrun by advancing development. It's not just development but very, very affluent development. There is a definite culture differential which is demonstrated by this Breast Health Center.

I've been accused many times of having just fallen off the turnip truck. Heck, it happened just the other day when I went into Chicago. Even though I live in a simpler culture I've spent some time in five-star hotels and this breast health center rivaled anything they might offer.

If you live close to "the other half", you'll get a peek into their world. Let's just say my daughter-the-commercial-interior-designer would be flipping out over the fact that they've used all the high-end designer materials that she loves. There were amazing glass doors and windows. I've never seen anything like them. The front desk was beautiful and they had big bowls of Hershey's kisses. The main waiting area had a hospitality bar with bottled water, coffee, tea and snacks. There was a wireless computer available for use.

When it's time for your mammogram you're ushered back to another waiting room which is identically stocked with food and drink. The technician opens the door to the changing room and .....what's this???? Taffeta hospital four sizes!! Taffeta! I had a taffeta ball gown once but I never dreamed of having a taffeta hospital gown. And they had these packets in the dressing room:


I tucked a couple into my purse because you never know when you might need one. It probably wasn't a good idea though because the label clearly states they're for "Professional and Hospital Use Only."

A problem quickly arose when I realized that there were men and family members in the waiting room. What I didn't understand (since I haven't been here in many years) was that they have a new program. There's a radiologist on site everyday and he reads the reports as quickly as they're produced and you receive the results before you leave the center. Oh my. They do the mammogram and if needed they do the ultrasound and if needed they do the biopsy. Do you know where I'm going with this? These women have brought their family members to support them in case it's bad news.

I didn't know about this program and now I'm sitting here alone, getting a little scared because my doctor felt something...not alarming, but something that needed to be addressed. What could I do? I had my cell phone. If things went badly I could call someone.

I turned these thoughts over and over in my mind. Would I want my husband, daughter or son there "in real time"? I don't know. Bad news would affect them also, and I'd find myself comforting them too. Wouldn't it be better to have some time to process the information and then share?

This visit raised an awful lot of questions for me. Luckily my tests were fine and I didn't actually have to face them head on. But I'll be thinking about this, just in the case the day arrives that throws me headlong into these issues.

Please .... ride a Harley, don't skip your mammogram!

NOTE: I published an entry late last night. Please scroll down and read about Corey Amaro and her family. Thanks to everyone who takes time out of their busy day to visit and share.


Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Okay, I am practicing what Alice told me to do with my mom. Imagine me holding your hand and squeezing it gently. There, there, Zanne, it'll be okay.

May that nice hot bath and a few sniffles get you righted around. I'm about to hop in a hot shower myself. Lots of aroma therapy and listening to "This is My Father's World" about 10 more times might do it for me.

Gentle hugs, my friend...

(That breast care center sounds so nice. We have nothing like that here.)

Sand Flat Farm said...

I'm calling to schedule mine right now! I'ts been 2 years. I've always done it every year, and I missed it last spring. Thanks for the reminder. Vickie

Suzanne said...

Vee - Thanks so much. Good luck holding your mom's hand and thanks for holding mine. The question is this we ever stop worrying about our children? The answer of course, is no.

Vickie - You're the first recipient of Farmer's Wife Points. I'm going to be giving them out, you never know when or why. But you get 10 points this morning for scheduling that mammogram. I putting you in charge of keeping track of how many points you earn over time, because with 50 points (and this extends to all readers) you'll get one of my aprons. So good for you!!!!

Sabina said...

Good for you. I need to take care of this immediately myself. Thanks for the post and for sharing your stream of thoughts.

Rue said...

Hi Suzanne

I'm glad everything turned out okay. I think I would take my husband, but not the kids. Too tramatic if something was wrong.

Have a great night Mrs. Farmer ;)

Paula Bauer said...

at age 43, I haven't started having annual mamograms yet. I am somewhat dubious of the idea of squashing tissue flat (trauma!) and the proceeding to radiate it. I read in a woman's mag (can't remember which one) that there is a new blood test being developed that can detect hormones secreted by tumors into the blood stream. I'm thinking my girls would much prefer that. Call me chicken...I suspect you will award me negative points for this, Suzanne!

C.C. said...

I'm so glad your mammogram results were fine. I would add colonoscopies to that list of medical maintenance. I had my first at 43 (well under the recommended age for the first one) and they found polyps. The prep for them is no fun to be sure but I'd much rather suffer through the prep than suffer from colon cancer. Good for you, Suzanne, for getting that mammogram done!

Secondhandrose said...

Going for mine soon...I promise! Thanks for the nudge. Come for a visit.