Mammogram? Yes, Ma’am

Today’s the day for my annual mammogram. Every now and then I’ll read some woman’s account of how painful a mammogram can be. I’ve heard that some women even refuse to have one because they’ve been told how excruciating the procedure is.

Well, I’m here to tell you that a mammogram caught my cancer at a very early stage. Following a lumpectomy I only had to have six weeks of radiation. I shudder to think what might have been the outcome had I not been a big believer in annual mammograms.

Do mammograms hurt? Not really. They’re a bit uncomfortable, but nothing compared to the pain following the double mastectomy one might have to endure if a cancerous growth goes undetected for too long. Just do it, friends. If nothing else, pretend you’re doing a photo shoot for Playboy. Yes, I have a warped imagination—and two healthy breasts.

Peace, people.

There’s a Message Here

Sunday morning Studly left to play golf around six. I kissed him goodbye, read a bit of my book and then dozed off. When my alarm awakened me at eight I was in the middle of a crazy, yet important dream.

In the dream I was at the Women’s Imaging Center in Tallahassee awaiting my turn to have my annual mammogram. I already had my gown on, and when my name was called I followed a nurse back to the procedure room. Only this year, the room was huge and filled with pink plastic picnic tables.

I asked what had happened to the standard room and was told, “This is the more humane method for conducting a mammogram. Take a seat at the first table and we’ll be with you momentarily.”

While I waited people came and went. A tour group of children with their teachers made a pass through the area. Several folks in medical scrubs walked by me, and I asked every one if they were there to perform my mammogram. They all looked at me like I was crazy.

Finally a man approached me and said I’d accidentally been sent to the wrong area. He pointed me to a shed at the far end of the picnic tables. Dutifully I trudged between the tables, trying in vain to hold my skimpy robe together.

When I arrived I discovered the shed was a store filled with feed for farm animals, with several such animals coming and going. There was a Holstein cow, and a chicken or two, and a Shetland pony inside the store. But in the back was a small room with the appropriate equipment and a nice technician to put my “girls” through their paces. Then the alarm woke me.

So, what’s the message here? Several years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer that was detected early thanks to a mammogram. This simple procedure very well could’ve saved my life. So do it. Even if picnic tables and cows are involved.

Peace, people!

Cloudy with a Chance of Goof Ups

I was almost late to my doctor’s office this morning for my scheduled annual physical, so I didn’t check the forecast. The sky was overcast, but I knew my trusty umbrella was somewhere in the car. No worries.

I knew it was going to be an interesting day when I arrived at the doctor’s office, and the nurse asked, “Did you bring the samples?”

And I said, “Samples? Carpet? Wallpaper?”

“I sent you containers in the mail for urine and stool samples,” she said.

“When did you mail them?”


“Well, they’ll probably be delivered today.”

She eyed me skeptically. “I’m sure you got them.”

I returned her stare. “If I’d gotten them I’d have done my duty (heh!)”

After several long heartbeats she looked away. “You’re going to have to give us a urine sample now. We can send the cup for the stool sample home with you.”

“Well, it’ll probably be there today,” I intoned, trying to keep a straight face.

With an honest to goodness “harrumph!” she indicated that I should go into the restroom where there were paper cups. I knew the drill, so I printed my name and the date on the cup and proceeded to do my thing. 

But when I went to put the cup in the little urine sample compartment I hit the bottom of the cup on the edge of the compartment and, you guessed it, liquid went everywhere. 

So I called for the nurse. She was so not happy with me. I offered to do the clean up, but noooo! Martyr.

Now I lacked any urine in my cup or anywhere else, except for the bit that got splashed on my capris pants. I used a wet wipe to clean that off. Now I have to take a sample back when I’ve managed to produce some.

The visit with the doctor went well. I told him some stuff. He nodded and wrote some prescriptions. But he knows how much I hate to take meds so he asked, “Why do we even bother?” 

“Because you’re an optimist at heart?”

He threatened to throw my chart at me, but I know his aim is as awful as his handwriting, so I didn’t even flinch.

From his office I went for my annual mammogram. The skies had opened up and rain was gushing down in buckets by the time I reached the breast imaging center. I reached into the backseat for my umbrella, and came up with only an atlas and a Publix shopping bag, neither of which make very good umbrellas.

Crap. There I sat in a white T-shirt trying to wait for a lull in the downpour. As the time for my appointment drew near I knew I had to make a dash for it. Gathering my purse to my chest and holding the Publix bag above my head I ran as quickly as my flip flops would allow and arrived at the front door drenched from head to toe.

At that exact moment I remembered that the doctor’s order for the mammogram was sitting on the passenger seat of my car. I cursed creatively and ran back the way from which I’d just come, dodging a close lightning strike on the way.  Taking brief refuge from the storm I sat in my car and laughed. Surely this would be a great blog article, if nothing else. 

I grabbed the bright pink mammogram sheet and scurried back to the center. Checking in with the main desk I took a clipboard and began filling in the necessary information. After turning my paperwork in I went to dry off in the restroom and noticed something odd on the front of my t-shirt:

Pink splotches all over the breast area. That was weird. My soggy purse wasn’t pink, so it didn’t come from there. Then I remembered the mammogram order from the doctor: 


So, my physical’s in the books for this year; although, I have to take in those samples and have some bloodwork done. My annual mammogram is checked off. Clear sailing from here on in. Well, we can always hope. 

It is still raining. And I still can’t find my umbrella. 

Peace, people!


As children we mark our years through milestones: Losing a tooth, growing an inch, learning to ride a bike, getting a driver’s license.

Adults, especially older ones, measure ours in appointments: Colonoscopy, mammogram, dental, vision, etc.

Mine all seem to pop up at the same time of year. It’s as if I’ve designated spring as appointment time. March is chock full of fun.

However, I also have some great things on the calendar in March and April! Two of my good friends from Illinois are coming to stay with me over their spring break. I was afraid to jinx it by writing about their visit, but now their plans are made, and I am so excited to show them a side of Florida that I hope they’ll love. And close on the heels of that visit is my trip to Antigua, Guatemala.

So maybe the milestones aren’t quite as fun now that I’m decidedly over the hill. The pleasures, though, are outstanding. Look ma! No hands!

Peace, people!

%d bloggers like this: