My first mammogram, another life milestone

I just had my first mammogram. Ever. The reasons that I’ve not had one before are multiple and sort of embarrassing, but as I am attempting to practice compassion for myself, I add this to the list of things to treat gently.

So, I was afraid it would be painful. It wasn’t. Slight discomfort was the extent of it. Also, I have a family history of breast cancer, and have been convinced since an early age that that history inevitably means that I will get and die of that disease. And so investigating the possibility freaked me out enough that I buried my head in the sand. I will get the results later on today, and it is extremely likely that they will be fine. Nonetheless, I am experiencing some anxiety while waiting to hear back. I have so many friends or acquaintances who have struggled with this disease. At the same time, I am glad that I have finally gotten myself to and through this experience, post pregnancy, birth & breast-feeding.

The tech told me about a new ultrasound-based device that I might want to try next time. It’s so cutting edge that insurance sometimes doesn’t pay for it. But, she said, it would be a good choice for me as apparently I have dense breast tissue. As my friend M said, “Then why do they still sag?” Heh. Isn’t getting older so much fun?

And yet, my earnest answer to that snarky question is, “Yes! It’s so much better than the alternative.” I want to live. I want to be responsible for myself. I want to be alive and healthy for as long as I can manage it, for myself and for my loved ones, especially my kids.

What is obvious is still not always easy, straightforward, or simple. But engagement, moving forward, accepting challenge, learning, growing are all better than resistance and denial (though of course, as human beings, we all find ourselves in the middle of the latter state).

Life sure is full these days. And for that, even as I writhe about in the middle of my own personal stew, I am grateful.


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