Tuesday, June 21, 2011

the mammogram

No other phrase strikes so much fear into the hearts of American women, except maybe, all sales final.
My annual mammogram was coming up and I began sweating it early like the serious hypochondriac I am.

It is 1985 and Jane and I were in Des Moines facing another round of governmental training.  We were eating at a tex-mex place and the hostess had a strange harness attached to her arm and I am staring at it.  "That woman had a mastectomy," Jane said.  And then I am telling her about the discharge I had from my left nipple.
There was blood in that discharge smeared across the microscopic slide and I am being trundled into surgery.  Afterwards my surgeon looms above me, Butterfinger candy bar fragments around his mouth.  I turn and see my mother, my aunt Leona, I have no husband at this time.  Am I all right?  They nod yes, gratified.
Twice more in the next few years I am on that gurney.  One lump I discovered myself and the other found on a routine mammogram, grains of sand scattered in the tissue, a change, cause for concern. 
I am lucky.  All three biopsies were benign, intraductral papilloma, pre-cancer cells caught early.

I'm not ready to die yet.  And I know my control of this situation is tenuous and not totally up to me.  I exercise and eat broccoli and I put away those cigarettes a long time ago, god, I miss them.   I want to see my grandchildren grown, hold their babies and chuckle with Susan about our bad boy days.  So I go in for those annual mammograms even though they scare the bejezus out of me.  There is cancer in my family and I'm going to take our twenty-first century technology and kick it in the balls.  Women, get your mamms grammed and Carrie, this means you.

1 comment:

MrDaveyGie said...

Good Grief!!!! Dawn you have resorted to soft porn and boobie pictures on your blog to increase readership.......

Just kidding well said and so true. As much as I hate to do it now I am in for regular check ups on all the associated men problems we guys have at my age. Don't like it a bit. But I wanna live.