As I write this, I am sitting in a doctor’s waiting room awaiting my mammogram.
I believe the age to get screened was changed to 50 years old, but I know it used to be 40 because I remember thinking, “Wow! 40 is so old! I can’t imagine ever being THAT old!”
So here I am.
41 years old and getting my second mammogram.
I am nervous, but the memory of wishing an older friend happy birthday pops into my head. I had asked if he was having a good day and his response was, “I’m having a great day! Every day I wake up is a great day. Way better than the alternative.”
I love that attitude.
So back to this mammogram situation.
I haven’t felt anything of concern to push for a mammogram, but I do have a family history of breast cancer. When my doctor told me that they don’t start recommending testing until 50, I told her that I have a family history and I want to be proactive and get a mammogram so that I, at the very least, have a baseline.
I do believe we have to be our own health advocate.
When I lived in Texas, I had a friend in her 60s who told me that she was so upset after finding out that she had osteoperosis.
I asked her if she had osteopenia (it’s like pre-osteoporosis) and she said that she didn't know. Her doctor, of many decades, never ordered any tests. It was only as she was turning 65 that he finally ordered one.
She shared how she was so upset with herself because if she knew she had osteopenia, she would have taken measures to strengthen her bones.
But since her doctor never even ordered the tests, she assumed that everything was fine.
Another case for being your own health advocate.
And this is not just a message for women.
My husband has high cholesterol, which is caused by genetic factors from both parents. I am sure our love of wine and cheese doesn’t help things.
However, when he goes to the doctor for his annual visit, he comes with a list of blood tests for them to do on him. His view is “more is more.”
He even said to me last night, “If they are going to take two vials of blood, I’d rather them take eight vials of blood and do every test under the sun.”
There is something to be said about peace of mind. There are a million things we cannot control, but advocating for ourselves and our health is not one of those things.
Let’s make sure to speak up!
Ps. I hate mammograms. Painful and traumatizing, but necessary. At least I was I was given a chocolate chip cookie after my last mammogram.
No cookie this time. So instead I went to Starbucks to get myself a coffee and my own cookie!