THE ONE THING WE NEED TO START DOING WHEN WE GO TO GET OUR YEARLY MAMMOGRAM. — by Catherine Morgan
We all already know we need to get our yearly mammograms. None of us “want” to get it, but we get it anyway because we all know how important early detection is in breast cancer. And, for you women not going that should be: Bad girl! You go and get your mammogram, if the rest of us have to do it, so should you.
I’m NOT going to get into all the reasons we (women of course) need to get a mammogram, that horse has been beaten to death a long time ago. I want to talk about something that we need to do when we get our mammogram, something that the doctors and technicians don’t tell us to do. I’m warning you now, this is going to be hard for most of you.
Let me start off by telling you that I had my mammogram today. It was what they call a “diagnostic” mammogram, as opposed to the normal yearly “routine” mammogram. You get a “diagnostic” mammogram when they have found something that doesn’t appear “normal”, also when you are diagnosed with breast cancer, or following-up after a surgery or biopsy for breast cancer. I know “cancer” is a scary word. But, we need to get over it. We all know people who have had, or in my case, who have died from cancer….It’s not a four letter word that we can’t talk about. We actually do need to talk about it. So, to get back to my story; which is also NOT about cancer.
I was sitting in the waiting room…..Did you ever get in an elevator with four or five other people and feel uncomfortable by the total silence? Well that is kind of what it is like in most mammogram waiting rooms, only you are there for much longer than the standard elevator trip. This was my forth visit to this particular waiting room, in a year. Each time between two and eight other women are sitting there in various stages of the process of getting a mammogram. Some fully dressed with forms to give to the technician, some waiting in their little hospital gowns for the technician to give them their mammogram, and some waiting for the doctor to say it is o.k. to leave or that they need more films. It’s an eclectic group to say the least, and for some reason we all sit in silence. Why is that? We may not have anything in common besides getting a mammogram that particular day, but we are all women….Why don’t we talk to each-other?
The last time I was in this waiting room, I was feeling really stressed and scared. I would have loved it if even just one of the women would have talked to me. Not about the mammogram really, just about anything at all, just to pass the time. This time when I went in, I had no intention of breaking the “code of silence”. But, I had a cough, and I wanted the people in this somewhat small area, to know that I wasn’t sick that it was just my asthma acting up. You know how it is now-a-days, we don’t want to be too close to anyone who might be “contagious”, in this case especially if you might be in the room where someone could be getting treatment for cancer already and their immune system may be compromised. So, I did it. I spoke. I told the four or five women in the waiting room the reason I was coughing. Essentially, breaking the ice.
A few moments later I noticed the women across from me had a very pretty pair of shoes on. So, I just came right out and told her that I thought so. Then the women with nice shoes and I began to talk, and before you knew it all of the people in the waiting room were making “small-talk” with one and other. For the next hour or so people were coming and going, and all were being engaged in some sort of communication with each-other. I even found out the proper way to cook Mahi Mahi, and I had been wanting to know that for some time (really). Anyway, we talked, we cried (no, not really), we had our boobs squished (yup), and passed the time in a more interesting and less uncomfortable way than usual.
That brings me to THE ONE THING WE NEED TO START DOING WHEN WE GO TO GET OUR YEARLY MAMMOGRAM. Start talking to each-other, get to know the woman sitting next to you in the waiting room, even if it is just for a few minutes. It will make the time pass more quickly, and maybe reduce yours’ or anothers’ stress about being their in the first place.
So, just try it. Let me know how it works out by posting a comment. Spread the word that it is now o.k. to talk in the waiting room. If you are really daring….Try talking to someone in the elevator too!