Yes, you probably have heard the same message over and over again. “Ladies, get your mammograms.” Maybe you are tired of seeing and hearing that message.
Well, let me tell you. I will never, never tire of seeing and/or hearing the message that tells women to get their mammograms.
In 2005, I went to the doctor to get my yearly exam. The normal tests. I schedule the routine exam each year. I was determined to keep on top of things with my health.
My doctor discussed all the regular things with me. She asked questions like, “How are you feeling? Is there anything odd going on with your body? Do you have any concerns?”
That was the extent of the conversation.
I mentioned that my yearly mammogram needed to be scheduled and asked her to sign the form for that procedure.
Her response amazed me. “You don’t really need to have a mammogram each year. You are only 44 years old.”
Trying not to be angry, I proceeded to tell her that I felt in my heart that this is a test that I should get every year. My Mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer years ago. So, yes, there is a history of breast cancer in my family.
The doctor finally signed a form and left the room. My yearly mammogram was scheduled.
On the day of the mammogram, I walked into the building with a happy bounce in my step. This would be over soon and my husband and I would go out to eat.
The technician called me back to the waiting area. I was asked to change into a hospital gown and wait for someone to call me. Everything was done as usual. After a few minutes, the mammogram was done and I headed out to the car.
After a couple of days, the phone rang and a very nice lady from the test center explained that my images were distorted and I needed to come back and have the mammogram done again. No problem.
Next day, another mammogram. Only this time, the technician came and told me that the radiologist would like to speak with me. Wondering what that was all about, I sat and waited patiently. Finally, a nice nurse came in and explained that an ultrasound needed to be done. This was because the radiologist saw something suspicious.
That was when my heart started racing faster. What could this mean? Certainly this had to be a mistake.
While the ultrasound was performed, I chatted with the technician. We were having a great conversation, until all at once, she became quiet. She explained that she would be right back and she left the room.
When she returned, the radiologist was with her.
He gave me the news and showed me the screen that gave him concern.
The tumor sat right on the chest wall.
The world started spinning. This couldn’t be happening to me. What? Why? How?
The radiologist explained that I would need to see a surgeon right away.
After scheduling an appointment with a surgeon, meeting with her and discussing my tumor, surgery was scheduled.
The surgeon told me something that has stayed with me always.
“You never would have felt a lump. The tumor is on your chest wall. Thank goodness you had a mammogram.”
Surgery and removal of lymph nodes showed cancer. I went through a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, and 5 years of anti-cancer medicine. I am still here today and able to help others going through the cancer experience.
My message to every woman is to listen to your body and get your MAMMOGRAM. I am an 11 YEARS CANCER SURVIVOR! 🙂
Melissa Henderson lives in Mechanicsville, VA. She was born in Hampton and has lived in various cities in VA. She and her husband, Alan, have been married for over 37 years and have one son(Mike) who is married to daughter-in-love(Christine). Melissa was taught the love of reading and writing at an early age, from her parents. She is now working on her first inspirational fiction novel. Her passions are volunteering, Bible Studies and reading and writing.