In the late eighties my mother heard the news that the regional hospital received their first mammogram machine. In her late forties she didn’t want to wait for the recommended age of fifty to receive her first mammogram. Something was nagging at my mother. Although there was no history of breast cancer in the family, she still wanted to be vigilant about her breast health. It’s a good thing she went to her family doctor and insisted on having the test. Call it intuition, a hunch or just plain worry, at age fourty seven they found cancer after my mother’s first routine mammogram. My mother went through a lumpectomy, radiation therapy and over five years of drug treatment. Flash forward to 2009 and my mother is a healthy, happy, retired, community volunteer and yoga fanatic. She’s also celebrating her twentieth year as a breast cancer survivor!
My concern now is, guess what? My breasts. This month I turn forty three. If I look at my situation from an age standpoint and do the math, then time is a ticking! Anxiety doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings about my ever present threat! I feel as if my BOOBS are ticking time BOMBS! All the time, tick, TICK!!! It’s like I’m waiting for B-day! This makes sense if you know that I use my birthday as a reminder to make my yearly appointments for a physical and a mammogram. Aside from my monthly self exams, yearly mammograms and ultrasounds what options are left to get ahead of my threat? Gene testing? Preventative drugs? Drastic prophylactic double mastectomy? As far as I’m concerned there’s too many questions and not enough answers.
I recall one of my breast cancer phone rants with my mother. I was going on and on, fretting about all my testing concerns when my common sense mother tells me,
“get a grip, just live your life and stop worrying so much!”
Advice can be like medicine; it can be hard to take. Unfortunately, it’s nail biting time with my mammogram scheduled in one week plus a day. Yeah.