Just because 2020 hasn’t been hard enough – for all of us – it brought yet another trauma to my family: a cancer scare.
It was really to me, but when it happens, it happens to all of us. I do not know a woman who does not carry the weight of the collective womanhood on her shoulders, when she places her breast on the screen. You feel it in your bones. We are in this together.
This year my doctor found a thing. I am not a doctor, so I don’t want to say it was a lump, or a growth, or a cluster, or suspicious malignancy. I’m just going to call it a Thing, and then there was another, so really it was Thing 1 and Thing 2. Apologies to Dr. Seuss.
I went back the next day for another set of pictures. Thing 1 was still there. Thing 2 was hiding. So I went back for an ultrasound. Thing 2 appeared to be benign. Thing 1 appeared to be worse.
So I went back for a “procedure.” It was brutal. Then I looked at my once round breast (which now holds a titanium marker), and nearly fainted. Let me tell you, 2020 just keeps on coming.
Then I waited.
The truth is that the wait may have only been a day, but it felt like a million, zillion, quadrillion years: Benign.
The American Cancer Society recommends a yearly mammogram starting at age 40. Some insurance may not cover it until age 50. If you have a family history of breast cancer, you may opt to screen much earlier, as did the actress Angelina Jolie.
The shocking thing that every woman should know was this: Every single time I went to the hospital – for at least four visits – there was a different, older woman checking in who said, “This is my first mammogram.”
I understand fear. I researched all the scary things for the book, “Fearless After Fifty.” I know getting a mammogram is frightening and unpleasant. But come on, woman up. Pull up those big girl lacy panties and get it done.
Truth is hard, but it is much, much better than not knowing. Believe me when I say, waiting for the results was so much tougher than knowing the outcome. I’ll see you all in just a few months when I go back. I will feel you with me when I put my breast on the screen. We are truly in this together.
Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She is the author of four books on yoga, the latest co-written with Desiree Rumbaugh, “Fearless After Fifty.”
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