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Thin Gowns and warm hearts

Posted Nov 22 2008 8:45pm

As I get older, I appreciate the advancement of prevented medical care. I know my body is not what it use to be, and I rely on my doctor to direct me to the latest procedure. Well 2 years ago, I had my baseline mammogram. This mammogram is used to get a good read of the breast in order to have film to compare it to later on in life. Well they found Breast Calcifications. After they were removed, I was told to have regular mammograms at 3 months, 6 months, and a year. After a year of clear mammograms, I was scheduled yearly to make sure everything is normal.


My family history is directly related to breast cancer. My mom is a stage 3 breast cancer survivor. My Aunt Barbara is also a breast cancer survivor, as well as my Great Uncle. With this family history, my sisters and I regular schedule our mammograms. There maybe nothing I can do to stop breast cancer, except self-exams, yearly test, and of course awareness. The only good news in my family is my mom tested negative for the breast cancer gene. Her sister tested positive. Oh my aunt is a fighter, nothing can keep her down, not breast cancer, not tongue cancer, not cervical cancer, not even stomach cancer. She takes that treatment and goes about her life. She is my hero.


Now my regular scheduled mammogram was on the 6th of November. The feared called came on the next Friday. I was to return to the office for more film. They found a density change. So on November 21 at 7:00 I walked into the office. I was taken back and put into that thin cold robe. After three more breast pancakes, and pancakes that should not be humanly possible, I was placed into a room to wait. Several women came in, in the same thin robe in the same cold room. Each attached in a kinship of waiting for answers. I may never remember there names , but I will always remember the stories and faces. They listened to my fear and worry. I listened to their worries. And together we helped each other through! One lady I will never forget had stage 4 breast cancer and a mastectomy. She was there for her follow up test. After 4 years, she comes in every year for a mammogram. After sitting there over an hour, she said, I wish they would just let you so you can get on with your life. There was not need to thread water. Oh I agreed, I just wanted to stop threading water and get on with it. You can't tackle a problem without answers.
Another woman had a "scare" and called back for more film. She was finally told after 1 hour, our group cheered for her, as she was given positive news. One lady had a history of cancer and has had several lumps taken out. Her view was one year at a time. You can't change it, just be in charge of the treatment. This ever following group of ladies of all race, religions, and age bonded of a test that is painful, embarrasses you, and finally can rob your body. We sat in thin gowns laughing, crying, and cheering. When I went back for my ultrasound I knew they would be there to hear my outcome. They cheered as I told them, I had to come back in 6 months but so far so good.
As I left Vanderbilt Breast Center, I will be forever in debted to these wonderful strong women and technicians who helped guide my strength through 3 of the longest hours of my life. Thank you my mammogram group, may each of you have great test returned.
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