Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thanks for the Mammogram, Ma'am

I still need to catch up on blog reading in a BIG way, and have several posts to do, but thought this was important enough to trump both of those. On Tuesday, I had my first mammogram.

Yay. I know...funny word. It usually conjures up funny cartoons of metal vices and all that. But let's get real, ladies. It's important. A lot of my friends (via request from their doctors) are starting to get an initial baseline mammogram before they turn 40.

I realize there was all the hoohah and what not about the "study" (I use the term loosely) that came out this past fall from the U.S. Preventative Studies Task Force (don't get me started on that name) that women don't need mammograms until age 50. Now, speaking as a math major and former actuary, I can relate an old saying...there are 3 kinds of lies: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics. (I love math humor, don't you? It's just so ridiculously dorky.)

Conveniently enough, a new study from the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) and the American College of Radiology (ACR) came out (oh, you mean the people who do this for a living?) - the day before I was scheduled - affirming that the original guidelines were correct, that the screenings do save lives, and that the previous November study was flawed. You can read all about the newest/original guidelines here.

Gigi had a fantastic post back in mid-December on health, especially on women's health. I assume most (all) of you read her blog religiously - but if you don't, you should read this. Now, I'm not a doctor and I don't pretend to be in spite of years of viewing ER and Grey's Anatomy. But I do trust my doctor. And if she recommends it, I'm going to do it. As Gigi discussed in her post and the resulting enlightening comment thread, and as I'll say here today - you need to take care of yourself. You need to be your own advocate. If you don't do it, who will? Don't let fear stand in your way, whatever your issue or issues may be. Sure some of these tests aren't as fun as a Saturday afternoon picnic, but they're ALL better than the alternative.

So you want the nitty gritty on the mammogram? Really, not that bad. (I understand the curvier ladies may disagree, but you all actually fill out your bathing suit tops, so we're even.) I will say that going to a Radiology center that uses digital imaging made for a less unpleasant experience. The tech (so nice, so kind, lots of explanation, very gentle) told me that with digital, you have 10 lbs less of pressure. I didn't ask how many pounds of pressure it actually was. The other advantage to digital is that they were able to read the images right there and give me my (all ok) results, so I didn't have to come back. Those of you in the DC area, I highly recommend Shady Grove Radiology in Germantown.

Honestly, I think getting dental Xrays is worse - ugh, those little rounded but sharp cardboard corners digging into my gums? I always have to ask for the numbing gel. Not that this is an excuse for neglecting your dental health. Links between gingivitis and heart disease...and all that.

What did I wear? Well, you keep your bottoms on, so it was boots for warmth and boyfriend jeans for comfort. Like I said, it wasn't *that* bad, but still...comfy bottoms help. And then a nice cozy cashmere turtleneck on top - yes, it feels just like a hug. This is the divine dark charcoal or dark slate? J Crew cashmere turtleneck (#99166, orig $158, got on promo for $99, online $119.99, some on FS+20% off in store for $99.99) that I got with some birthday money from my parents. Love love love this. I've probably worn it about 4 or 5 times in the last month (yes, I know, I've been bad on posting and on pics, but getting better now that the holiday are fini). I do love this charcoal/slate color that J Crew has.

Sizewise, I got an M. When I was at my B&M on Tuesday ( yes, errands after mammogram - lots to post on that soon), I tried a light gray on in store - I don't think it was the light heather gray that appears online - it seemed a good bit lighter than that, but I didn't look at the tag. Anyway, I felt the much lighter M in the cashmere turtleneck looked, er, lumpy on me...even with a cami. So, at $99.99, plus 20% off but FS, I left that one there. However, the dark gray is just fab. One of my fave JC colors. And I am so happy I got it. I know I should have done more accessory-wise that day, but didn't feel like it with the mammogram. Plus, with a yellow Winnie on top, who needs more? (I will note that it's a great backdrop for just about any necklace.) sum up...take care of you. Lecture over.

And Polyvore from Tuesday...
01/05/10 by HeidiGblog featuring J Crew


AppGal said...

Haha...when I first read this post, I read "mammogram" as "monogram" and was like, "why would I not want to get a monogram sooner?" hahaha. Oh, yes, my brain is still in winter break mode :)

Thanks for the info. I haven't had a mammogram yet, but the day is coming when I will need one. It's so good to be aware. Simply awareness is the most powerful thing we can have when it comes to our health.

You looked great, as always! :)

Pamela said...

Great post! I am with you sister. I am all about PREVENTATIVE measures. Now, if insurance companies would only catch up...but that's another issue entirely!

Love the turtleneck! looks so warm!

Kristin said...

Love the mammogram pic in your polyvore! They have pics of everything over there, don't they?

Good for you for going and thanks for the PSA and encouragement.

DaniBP said...

Great post, HeidiG!
Love the outfit too. The yellow over the gray is terrific.

Kathy said...

Congrats on your first mammogram! I do remember going for a baseline and do go every year now.

Great post to let those who haven't gone yet know that it isn't so bad!

Cate said...

Awesome post- preventative measures are SO important, esp since breast cancer is very very treatable if caught early. Love the turtleneck, you look way better than I do when I have doctors appointments :)

dinagideon said...

I love monograms, AppGal, both hubby and I now each have a monogrammed v-neck sweater from J. Crew. Eventually so will the kids (but we should wait until their insane growth stops a bit).

As far as mammmograms go, I have nothing to said it all so well.

I wish all of the other cancers had some way of us finding out about them early dear Grandma Jane died of one of the worst (as far as early prevention goes) ovarian cancer...supposedly by the time you have symptoms most people are too far gone. I have only seen my Grandpa cry once, and it was after she died...he was a mess. SO LADIES get least let's take care of the things we can find and prevent early.

'Nuff said. HeidiG., wrote you an issues. GRRR!

Suzy said...

Hi Heidi, great post today! Made me remember back to my first one years ago. Just in the few years I've had to go for screening, the equipment has improved greatly! I never thought it hurt, even though I get pretty "squished" during the process - it's really not worth complaining for the peace of mind it brings.

I don't get Pamela's comment about insurance co's catching up? My insurance has always paid 100% of mammogram costs - not even a co pay!