Friday, April 9, 2010

Rescheduling My Annual Mammo . . . Why Does It Feel Like I Committed Crime?

As 2009 drew to a close my boob started to hurt. It happens like clockwork each year as my annual mammo draws near. It was scheduled for March 2. That and a followup visit with my breast surgeon.

In an effort to put myself first and explore new creative interests I came upon a flyer for a painting class at my local arts council. I have always wanted to learn to paint. I am a creative person. Being creative helps ground me and deal with fear. At times fear seems to be my daily companion. The painting class certainly peaked my interest. And then I saw the date of the first class. It was of course the date of my annual mammo. Now when I make these followup appointments it is 6 months ahead of time as I leave another appointment. Who knows where you will be in 6 months. I was pretty bummed. Then I had a thought. . . Why don't I just reschedule? Seemed simple enough at the time. Until I called and found out that I would have to wait 6 months to get one. I have to say that I was shocked the wait was that long.

What did I do? Well, since it had been over 8 years of remission for me without missing one single followup test or appointment I decided to give myself a break so that I could take the art class. I figured that 6 months would not make or break me and the art would help heal me.

I have to say though that I felt as though I committed a crime. That I somehow broke the unspoken rules. I hate feeling this way. I can't live my life in between medical appointments as if that is the only way I will feel ok. It is a hard habit to break. It is the fear that hangs over my head all the time. . .

Have you ever rescheduled a followup test? Ever felt guilty or scared about it? How do you handle your post cancer checkups?

1 comment:

cura said...

Benefits of Mammo :

* Imaging of the breast improves a physician's ability to detect small tumors. When cancers are small, the woman has more treatment options and a cure is more likely.
* The use of screening mammography increases the detection of small abnormal tissue growths confined to the milk ducts in the breast, called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). These early tumors cannot harm patients if they are removed at this stage and mammography is the only proven method to reliably detect these tumors. It is also useful for detecting all types of breast cancer, including invasive ductal and invasive lobular cancer.
* No radiation remains in a patient's body after an x-ray examination.
* X-rays usually have no side effects in the diagnostic range.