WHAT IS THIS?
At the age of 18 I had my first mammogram.
Yes, you heard me. I said eighteen!
One day I was studying for an exam and felt a pain in my chest. I took my left hand and tried to rub it away, but as I was rubbing I discovered something. In my right breast, I felt a lump. My first thought was,” What in the world is this?” I had never felt anything like it. I was freaked out! So much so that I told my mother who told me to contact my primary care physician, IMMEDIATELY!
My primary care physician saw me later that week. He didn’t specialize in that area, so he referred me to the breast cancer center. “Oh shoot!” were the words that crashed in my head.
I was dumbfounded as he passed me the referral slip for the breast cancer center.
I was sitting in the waiting area filling out my forms.
The front of the office was quiet with the exception of the morning news and occasional ring of the office phone.
After I filled out all of the necessary information, the nurse called my name.
“Debra”, she said as if there was anyone else in the front room, “right this way.”
Which way? Where are we going?
She took me to this dressing room where I exchanged my T-shirt and jeans for a solid white robe. All of a sudden I felt really cold. My legs began to shake
The nurse informed me that they would call me in just a moment. I sat there with a flood of emotions overtaking me. I hardly even noticed when this older woman sat next to me.
She gently placed her hand on my hand. My body suddenly sat still. I didn’t know her and she didn’t know me, BUT somehow she knew that I needed her
The nurse came and got me so that I could get my mammogram done. I took one last glance at that kind lady and nodded silently as I walked away
When I came out, the lady was still there. It was as if she was waiting for me. She smiled at me and whispered again,
You see, the reason why she was able to say that everything would be okay was
I’m happy to say that after my biopsy, the lump in my breast was diagnosed as benign. I still have to get ultrasounds regularly on both breast but I can live with that. As a pink brand ambassador, I want to help bring awareness to breast cancer. I want to support other women just like that lady in the doctor’s office supported me. I want women to be aware of how their bodies feel. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore it. Go and see a medical professional right away.
5 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO MINIMIZE YOUR RISK OF BREAST CANCER
- Perform self-breast exams regularly. Look for any changes in your breast shape or size. If you find something, don’t freak out, but do go to a medical professional and get checked out.
- Have a conversation with family members and your doctor about the history of breast cancer.
- Exercise regularly. Find ways to enjoy getting physically fit.
- Think about your overall health. Maintain a healthy weight by eating properly and exercising.
- Limit your alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day.
Take care of yourself. Listen to your body.