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Things I’ve Done That Are More Uncomfortable Than A Mammogram

Last night I found out that a 32-year-old mom and blogger named Amanda was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. I don’t know her, but we must have encountered each other online because we follow each other on twitter. And it seems like everybody I know knows her and loves her, so she must be good people. Last night social media exploded with words of support for her, and concrete plans to support her through her treatment.

I don’t know any of the details of how she was diagnosed, what she did or didn’t do, her family history or anything. This post isn’t about her.

It’s about you.

And, well, me. It’s always about me. And how completely illogical I’ve been when it comes to my own health.

Shortly after I turned forty I went in for my annual check-up. My doctor said “Well, you’re forty. Time for a mammogram. I’ll write you a referral.”

I’d heard so many stories about how painful mammograms are, I cringed. I actually cringed and made a face at my doctor, like a little kid.

And I held on to the referral, letting it sit in my to-do pile. For a year.

And then I went in for my annual check-up after turning forty-one. And my doctor said “Oh, I see you still haven’t had a mammogram. Let’s make an appointment for you before you leave today, OK?”

Smart woman. She knew not to trust me again.

A couple weeks later I went in. It was the day after a snowstorm and I was hoping they would call and cancel my appointment, but they didn’t. I had built this up in my head to be some horrible procedure, and I was sweating as I got undressed.

And while it wasn’t the most comfortable thing I’ve ever done, it was pretty easy. And quick. And I felt really stupid for trying to avoid it.

Listen, depending on your boobs, your mammogram might be more uncomfortable than mine. Who would have guessed that the post-kid droopiness I’ve complained about would serve me well during my mammogram?

But here’s the stupid part. I’m not a person who shies away from pain, or physically uncomfortable situations. If I were the kind of person who routinely avoided all pain, delaying my mammogram would at least be logical. But here are some things I’ve done that were much, much more uncomfortable than my mammogram:

  • Getting many different parts of me waxed dozens of times
  • Getting electrolysis on that super-sensitive area right under my nose
  • Completing four half marathons and a (walking) marathon.
  • Biking 54 miles (that was two days ago – I’m still sore)
  • Stubbing my toes too many times to count
  • Putting together an IKEA bed by myself
  • Sitting through a three-and-a-half hour school concert
  • Watching Dog With A Blog with my daughter

My point with the above list is that I routinely do things that I don’t want to do, whether intentional or not, that are uncomfortable. And yet, even though I’m blessed with good insurance and access to all of the health care professionals I could possibly need, I completely passed on my opportunity at breast cancer detection because I didn’t want to be uncomfortable.

Don’t be dumb. Get a mammogram. No excuses.

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12 Responses to “Things I’ve Done That Are More Uncomfortable Than A Mammogram”

  1. Kelly on May 6th, 2014 9:26 am

    Well said. Amanda is good people and we’ll support her all the way. I love that your list of painful things includes Dog with a Blog. YES.
    Kelly recently posted..May 5th Meal PlanMy Profile

    Amy Oztan Reply:

    @Kelly: I know so many good people that are friends with her, I can’t believe I don’t know her. If blogging conferences were held in my living room I guess it would be more likely.

  2. Christy on May 6th, 2014 10:39 am

    I agree. Amanda is very good people. Take care of yourself, ladies! We’re our own first line of defense.

    Amy Oztan Reply:

    @Christy: I need to leave my house more – I missing out on meeting good people.

  3. Natalie on May 6th, 2014 10:49 am

    That is interesting. I put mine off for the fear and because I am lazy. Not because I ever thought it would hurt. Is this a fear a lot of people have that I just missed.

    Amy Oztan Reply:

    @Natalie: Oh GREAT! I didn’t mean to ADD a fear! Yeah, I’d always heard that you get squished until it’s painful. I think the closer your boobs are to your body the more likely that is. I don’t have that problem. ;-)

  4. cebsilver on May 6th, 2014 11:22 am

    Dog With a Blog is HORRIBLE. Ladies, get your boobs checked yo (via @SelfishMom)

  5. Toni on May 6th, 2014 12:48 pm

    It really is easy and nothing to be afraid of. Frankly, I find the exam where they look at our girl parts to be a LOT more uncomfortable. Give me a mammo instead any time!
    Toni recently posted..museumMy Profile

    Amy Oztan Reply:

    @Toni: TOTALLY.

  6. Today: give yourself a breast exam — Julieverse on May 6th, 2014 2:22 pm

    […] Read Amy’s Things I’ve Done That Are More Uncomfortable Than a Mammogram and Erica’s reporting of My First […]

  7. [BLOCKED BY STBV] Who’s taking care of you? | Baby Montgomery on May 6th, 2014 11:43 pm

    […] know the importance of doing self breast exams, but how often do we do it? Have any of you had your first mammogram? If you’re over 40, do it. If you have a family history, DO […]

  8. Jessica on May 12th, 2014 7:44 pm

    I laughed out loud at the Ikea bed! Mammograms aren’t fun, but they are so quick and so worth the few moments of discomfort.
    Jessica recently posted..Breast Exams, Mammograms, and Joining Amanda’s ArmyMy Profile