I often contemplate writing a letter to WebMD requesting that they ban/block me from using their symptom check feature on their site. On any given visit, I have been self diagnosed with Chron’s Disease, Adult meningitis, Lyme Disease, just to name a few. So it’s to my great surprise that when I was given the order to receive my first baseline mammogram this past August, I avoided the event like it was the Plague. Excuses, cancellations, weather conditions – everything kept me from keeping this appointment. For someone who is so eager to self diagnose online, when it comes to the real deal, I panic and retreat.
Just when I had “forgotten” to make the appointment, I had to make an unexpected, but routine visit to my gynecologist. Of course, I was reprimanded for my inability to follow through with her original mandate. I left her office with the promise to make the mammogram appointment.
And I did make the appointment, but that is when the panic set it – A panic unlike any WebMD self diagnosis. I began to think…
…what if “God” willed it for me to make that unexpected visit (as if he is sitting up in heaven plotting such things) since I was unable to take the initiative myself.
…what if my inability to shed more weight is my body’s way to tell me something is wrong (and eating Girl Scout cookies has nothing to do with it, of course).
Luckily, I did not wait long for the appointment and soon I found myself sweating in the waiting room of the radiology center, my hands literally shaking. I was not afraid of the test, but afraid of the results.
The test itself took no longer than five minutes. Yes, my boobs were squished and squeezed, but that was no more painful than my days breastfeeding my two little “gavones”. As the talkative technician concluded her work, she asked to take just one more photo. Immediately, my panic level raised. Initially, the technician told me she would take just four photos. Why take the fifth? Did she see something? Before I could muster the courage to say something, the test was complete and she began rattling off information. “We will call you within 12 hours.” “Don’t be surprised if you receive a call back. This is your baseline and its very common.”
I walked out of the medical office shaken. She would call me in the next 12 hours because she saw something in that fifth photo and that explanation about the call back common for baseline test was just a way to ease the fear she saw in my eyes. Needless to say, I could not rest for the remaining 12 hours. But true to her word, she called me and told me the news that my boobies were OK. All my fears were laid to rest and barring any self-examination diagnosis, she would see me in five years.
In those hours that I dwelled on the possible results, I couldn’t help but think of several acquaintances who have fought the evil monster and not only won, but kicked the monster in its ass. Time and time again, whether in person or on Facebook, their message was always the same – I will fight this / Prevention is key. I always admired their resolve and strength and was embarrassed by my lack of not only courage, but common sense to just get tested.
So I write this post today to share my experience, in hopes, that anyone who is avoiding to schedule a mammogram will do so today. It will only help you, not harm you.