In 1993 I was being trained in the field of Mammography, by the U.S. Air Force. I really did not want to do Mammography. I was young and silly, I thought it would be very odd to handle other women’s breasts, even though it was a medical test. I became increasingly aware of the importance of getting a Mammogram. I happened to think about it while having a conversation with my 67 year old Grandmother.
I asked if she had ever had a Mammogram, her reply was, “NO, nothing hurts so why bother?” I told her that not all cancer hurts, and not all medical conditions have symptoms such as pain. She agreed to get a Mammogram. Two weeks after her test, she had a double mastectomy. The Doctor told her that had she waited another six months they would not have been able to do anything for her.
My grandmother was very lucky. She is 76 years old now and is doing great. She had a hard time adjusting to the scars and the fact of not having breasts, as she was well endowed, but she’s glad she’s alive and escaped with only losing the breasts. She gets regular checkups and will probably outlive us all, she’s got grit!
I tell women all the time about Mammography testing. It’s amazing that so many women out there are worried about the discomfort of the test and therefore don’t get the test done. A few minutes of discomfort is a lot better than losing your breast to cancer, and possibly having metastases to other parts of the body.
I thank God that I was put in a position to do Mammography, otherwise my Grandma would not be here now. I feel someone was looking out for us when given that opportunity. I am much wiser now and don’t think a thing about performing the test on patients. I had gotten on a first name basis with many of the women and they come back every year.
When I was separating from the Military, many of those patients told me how sad they would be. It was very touching, and I miss the interaction I had with them. I am currently a Cat Scan Technician, but hope to soon be able to do both positions. I urge all women to do self breast exams monthly, and get yearly checkups and Mammograms.
Thanks for sending your story. Someone was definitely looking out for your grandmother. I am a firm believer that everything in life happens for a reason. Six years ago, at age 32, I had a tender area on my left breast. I was too young for routine mammograms and I didn’t do regular breast self-exams, but when this tenderness persisted for a couple of months, I examined myself and found a lump. It turned out to be invasive ductal carcinoma. Thank God my breast cancer was painful, or who knows when I would have found it! I had a left mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and reconstruction and all has been clear.