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Good Choice, Bad Choice: I Got My Mammo

 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, even for hypocrites.

Teton Valley Health Care's Ann Loyola braves the chilly morning temperatures to pass out Brake for Breakfast bags full of breast health information and snacks.

Teton Valley Health Care’s Ann Loyola braves the chilly morning temperatures to pass out Brake for Breakfast bags full of breast health information and snacks.

Similar to a construction contractor who has time to build and renovate everyone’s homes except for his own, I have exhorted countless women and men to stop making excuses and get their mammograms, all the while ignoring my own past-due screening.

As I designed new breast cancer awareness advertisements for our local papers, I felt the sordid sting of hypocrisy. This couldn’t go on. Full disclosure: our wonderful mammography suite with the heated floors and tasteful décor is right next door to my office. Right. Next. Door. Shameful.

So I went next door and told Janene the Mammography Tech that I was ready to put myself into her hands. Literally. Into. Her. Hands.

If no one else is in the suite or waiting to be admitted, a basic mammo will take about 20 minutes. Since I hadn’t made an appointment, my walk-in status meant I would be taken care of after any appointments had been handled. Luckily, I was able to go right in. By the way, you don’t need a doctor’s orders to get a regular mammo screening.

I had a staff meeting scheduled at 3 p.m. and I went into the mammo suite at 2:30 p.m. The changing room was very nice, with lockers available to put your belongings or you can bring your stuff into the private mammo suite. I had to scrub off the anti-perspirant I had applied that morning because the minerals in most deodorants can lead to inaccurate screening images.

The floors are indeed heated and the suite is quite comfy. I sank into a plush armchair. Janene sat next to me and explained what I should expect and asked me a few questions.

Ann Loyola prepares for her mammo in the digital mammography suite at Teton Valley Hospital.

Ann Loyola prepares for her mammo in the digital mammography suite at Teton Valley Hospital.

Then it was time for the squeeze. Yes, it’s uncomfortable for a few seconds during the squeeze. Is it odd to have another woman move your breast into the correct position for screening? The first time I had a mammo, it was a bit of a surprise but it’s no big deal now. For the mammo tech, it’s just like moving an arm or leg into position for an X-ray.  My tip for the day:  don’t look down.  Just don’t.  Look at the nice artwork on the walls, look at your mammo tech, but don’t look down.

Janene was able to show me the images she’d taken, and she pulled up my old mammo images on her computer so I could see the differences between our retired analog mammography imagery and our new digital mammo. Then she handed me a pair of cute pink socks as a reward for taking care of the twins and I was on my way.

It took 25 minutes and I made it to my staff meeting feeling like I had accomplished something very important. Oh sure, I’m a busy woman. Busy, busy, busy, that’s me! But too busy to take 25 minutes for a screening that could honestly and truly save my life? Nuff said.

The new ads promoting breast cancer awareness will appear in the papers and my conscience is clear. If you know someone who needs to get screened but may not be able to afford the exam, have them call us at 208-354-6331 to see if they qualify for a free basic screening. If you’re past due on your exam and you’re just too doggone busy to get it done, give me a call; I think we may have something in common.

Disclaimer: This blog discusses my personal wellness goals and is in no way a soapbox to tell anyone else how to eat, exercise and/or live their lives.

 

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