October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and throughout the month women are encouraged to get Mammograms. One thing that I hear often from women that don’t go is, “I am so afraid to go because I heard it hurts!” I just think to myself, “Really? It hurts!” Well I am under 40 and I had to fight to get a mammogram for YEARS because I found a lump in my breast in my late 20’s. Every doctor, clinic, etc. would not give me one because I was
- Under 40
- Insurance wouldn’t cover it because I was UNDER 40.
Well fast forward 7 years. I still had this lump on the side of my breast. I felt healthy, and at the time had 2 children but I still had this lump. I really just needed peace of mind. I believe if something was wrong with me “healthwise” in 7 years I would have known. I still just needed to know what this lump was. Finally, I had a new doctor and new insurance. I told the doctor my concern and when she felt it, she honestly really didn’t know what it was. That concerned her. FINALLY SOMEONE CARED ENOUGH! She did what she need to do and I was able to get a MAMMOGRAM! I wasn’t nervous about the mammogram but more about what they would find. Long story short – It wasn’t cancer, “PRAISE JESUS!!” It was a lymph node. Right after the Mammogram, they kept me for an ultra sound to be sure and that’s when they confirmed it was a lymph node.
Did the mammogram hurt? Not really. Was it uncomfortable? Yes. Were the rumors you heard about it smashing your breast true? Yes, but only for a little while. It wasn’t the kind of pain that would ever keep me from getting a regular Mammogram once I am 40. So that got me to thinking about all the things we do as women that actually do hurt or just as uncomfortable….but we do them REGULARLY.
1) Paps Smear: this hurts and is uncomfortable no matter if your doctor is a man or woman. That cold instrument being forced inside of you, not to mention when the doctor says, “Umm scoot down a little more!” Ugggh. Then they stick their finger up there. I just close my eyes and hold my breath!
2) Giving Birth: I had 3 C-Sections and they all hurt more than a Mammogram! The delivery and recovery.
3) Dental X-Rays & Teeth Cleaned: I hate getting the X-rays, but it must be done to get my teeth correctly evaluated. They put those strips in your mouth and you have to hold it for what seems like hours while they pierce into your gums and snap a picture.
4) Beauty Treatments: Botox (not me!), Lip waxing, Eye-brow threading, Bikini waxes (I tried it! in my Tamar Voice!) and more – we do all these things to look good but are afraid of a Mammogram?
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being most painful. My mammogram was about a 2. I walked out of that place saying, “Thank you Jesus!” Thanking Him because I was able to finally get one and thanking Him because I was given GOOD NEWS! So when I hear women who CAN go get a mammogram but chooses not to because of fear – I want to scream. I was running to the doctor to get mine. It’s nothing to be afraid of.
One of the earliest signs of breast cancer can be an abnormality that shows up on a mammogram before it can be felt. The most common signs of breast cancer are a lump in the breast; abnormal thickening of the breast; or a change in the shape or color of the breast. Finding a lump or change in your breast does not necessarily mean you have breast cancer. Additional changes that may also be signs of breast cancer include:
- Any new, hard lump or thickening in any part of the breast
- Change in breast size or shape
- Dimpling or puckering of the skin
- Swelling, redness or warmth that does not go away
- Pain in one spot that does not vary with your monthly cycle
- Pulling in of the nipple
- Nipple discharge that starts suddenly and appears only in one breast
- An itchy, sore or scaling area on one nipple
Ladies, our health should be our #1 priority. Take the time to get your check ups, physicals & Mammograms!