Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hold Your Breath


Friday was my routine mammogram...I used to get excited about this routine screening...but this time I just went into the room...with that huge machine staring me down...and I was ready...no anxiety...I just can't worry about my breasts right now I thought to myself...there are other more important things to worry about...but it was important that I took the time to go do this screening...keeping up with my yearly mammograms is so important.

Then it was time...the technician slid my right breast and then my left breast under the machine (whatever little there is to slide...she slid...always wanted more to slide...but I was blessed with little breasts...and at 49...I'm not going to do any surgery to get bigger ones...it's too late now...however, I'm going to continue to do my mammogram each year to ensure my little ones stay healthy).

"Just two more pictures," said the technician, "hold your breath just two more seconds," she added....okay...okay...how can I do anything else...of course I have to hold my breath...you have my boobs flat as a pancake in this machine...who can breath...and you almost have my shoulders too......why is it every year I feel like I have to lean in a little bit more...and this year it seemed like I was literally hugging the machine...(I know I'm lacking bear hugs from my hubby, but hugging this machine was just not going to cut it)...after the silence and the click came the five golden words..."okay, you can breath again!"

I was talking to the technician (who was very nice by the way...considering the discomforting situation I've been lucky through the years to always have nice technicians)...we chatted about the new digital mammography that is now on the market courtesy of GE Medical Systems (thank you GE for thinking about women's health)...while this new technology will enable doctors to provide better screening...the process will still be the same...yes...the pancake routine will continue for the near future...but maybe GE will soon develop a machine so we can make muffins instead.

As I waited for the technician to check my xrays, I read the GE Medical Systems brochure that had some tips to reduce a woman's risk of breast cancer, including:

- Have your children before age 30 (okay...I had one of my children before age 30...but my son was born when I was 32...and there is no concern of anymore children when I'm 49...I'm not going to have anymore kids...not going to be one of those 52 year old pregnant women...like some I've been reading about lately...no comment on those women right now...everyone is into her own thing...for me...I love my kids but I'm preparing my empty nest.

- Breast feed your children. (Didn't do too well here...I was not a "good cow" as my doctor told me years ago...I tried to breast feed my children...they both received about an ounce or too...I was so determined to breast feed my daughter 21 years ago that I rented an electric pump...I tried hard to pull a few ounces out of each breast each day...if you think being a pancake is tough...having your boobs squeezed by an electric breast pump 21 years ago was 10 times more painful...so my kids both went on formula after a week...but maybe since I did try...this counts on the positive side...and for my son...I used a manual breast pump and got a few ounces out too...so he had his few ounces of breast milk the first week of his life as well).

- Limit your alcohol intake to one drink per day. (I do this...I'm not drinking too much...a little more now that my husband is ill...I do like my glass of white wine at dinner...Pinot Grigio is my favorite...I did purchase a wine stoppper...one that actually works...so now after each glass I can close up the bottle...and since reading this tip...I'll try extra hard to keep my intake to one drink...anything I can do to keep my little breasts healthy is all for a good cause.)

- Maintain a healthy weight. (I'm trying to maintain my healthy weight...not much of an appetite lately with my hubby being ill in the hospital...but I am trying to keep my weight up...and eat healthy food...I made hard boiled eggs the other day...couldn't remember how long to boil them...I looked the recipe up in The Joy Of Cooking...the Joy said to cook them for 10-15 minutes after the water boils...very specific directions to follow...and I followed each one down to the very last step when I poured cold water over my very warm eggs...I was so proud of my perfectly hard boiled eggs.)

- Exercise regularly. (I'm trying to exercise too...a little lax at times with everything going on in my life...but I'm trying to get to the gym about twice a week...and with the NuStep recumbent cross-trainer...I'm doing double time...wonder if I can count this as really four times a week at the gym since the NuStep is a cross-trainer?)

Now that my mammogram is over for my 49th year...next up is my nuclear stress test in early August...never had one of those...but don't think I will need to hold my breath for that test...they will want me to rev up my breathing...to see how fast I can go on the treadmill...better start practicing at the gym...I'm going to pick up the pace and get ready to go the distance.

Judi

To learn more about breast cancer prevention, check out the Komen Foundation at www.komen.org

1 comment:

Laura said...

what a wonderful treatment of an annual torture! I'm so proud of you. I can't wait till they can scan muffins instead of pancakes. I wind up with pizzas!