Posts Tagged ‘mammograms’

Almost the end of October! My, how time flies!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Everyone knows that.

And everyone knows someone who has battled this terrible disease. Some have lost the battle but many have won.

I recently attended an American Association of Malaysia benefit for this cause. One of the things I learned was not just that one in eight women will be stricken with it. But that many more women are living with breast cancer today than dying from it.

Because of early detection. Get your mammograms. Check yourself.

For you hipsters with iPhones there is even an app. Check it out. And check yourself.

http://www.upworthy.com/this-selfies-worth-taking-because-it-could-save-your-life-it-saved-hers?c=ufb1

It matters. You matter.

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I headed to the medical center, this past Friday, for the big, annual, one stop shopping. The all-encompassing physical examination. First time I was to experience it in Malaysia.

It was on my to do list. Since the end of summer. It was either that or address other things on the list. Like train my dog.

What does that say about me? That the poking of needles and exploration of every orifice of my body wins out over dog training.

When I was younger I prepared for a visit to the doctor’s like I was embarking on a honeymoon. Extra care taken here and there.

Then I got older (and wiser) and figured out that I am a neat, clean, fairly well-groomed, presentable person and I don’t need to prepare an extra minute before heading to the appointment. The way I present myself to medical professionals should be the same as if I were meeting my kids’ teachers. With or without clothes.

I also don’t hide my underwear under the pile of my other clothes in the examination room. Nothing wrong with my knickers so you can usually find them displayed proudly (somewhat boldly) on top of the heap.

The forties are such liberating years.

Back to the actual appointment. As is usually the case, a urine sample is the first of their many requests.

I ask, “How much?”

Not as in,”How much do you want for it?” As in, “How much do you really need?”

She told me a half full cup would be great. Isn’t she the eternal optimist?

Then I am told that I should catch the sample mid stream. Not the beginning. Mid stream. Like I am fly fishing in Montana catching a carp or salmon.

It’s a tricky business. You want me to get started? Then kick it into idle so I can have that cup, at the ready,halfway through this thing? And how, just how, do I know when it’s half full? I am not a contortionist. And staying in synch during an aerobics class is a chore for me. Following this choreography was bound to be messy.

Well, I always try to follow directions. But it wasn’t easy. And then it was getting heavy so I looked and it was full! Like “my cup is about to runneth over” full! What should I do? She said half.

As I said, I am a follower of directions. I poured some into the toilet. It somehow felt wrong. Like I was trying to hide the evidence.

And then I put it in the box with the others. On the side of the sink.

I’m not a competitive person by nature. But I couldn’t help comparing my urine with the others. I know. I am so twisted.

Not a close up comparison. But a mere scanning of the inventory from a good distance. I wasn’t reading the names on the labels.

In the United States it’s a private business. No cups would dare fraternize with other specimen cups. You take your little cup and put it in a secret vault in the wall. Someone on other side will come along and collect it. No one’s the wiser. No eight packs of yellow gold just sitting together at the watering hole.

Mine was nearly colorless. Could have been a contender at a Russian vodka tasting. Others were bright yellow. Too many vitamins?

And none of them were full like mine. I am not sure how they managed it but they were not even a quarter full. I yelled at the specimens, “She said half full! What didn’t you understand about that?”

Anyway, that was the beginning.

I had my mammogram, pap smear, bone density test, stress test (yes, sometimes I get a little stressed) hearing test, vision test, abdominal scan, chest x-ray, lung capacity test and blood work.

Of course, I had to have a full bladder for the abdominal scan. Ummm, can we wait just a little awhile? For the love of God, I just filled up a thermos of urine! So, I had to chug water like I was in a beer drinking frat house. Okay, that’s an oxymoron. But you know what I mean.

The doctor was great. It was determined I still have a heart. And I guess I am a bit competitive if the buckets of sweat produced during my stint on the treadmill is any indication. Mary versus the peaks and valleys of electrical activity from her own heart. At least I know the competition. Honestly, I’m just not right in the head.

Results at the end of the day? The usual wear and tear but overall pretty good for an old dame.

And while I laugh during the experience, tease the doctors and the nurses and generally act the fool, I do, in fact, take it seriously. Was relieved that all turned out well.

When I was a kid I would ask my dad what he wanted for his birthday. He always replied with the same answer, “My health.”

He truly meant it and so do I.

Put health screenings and examinations on your to do list. Make sure it’s the first thing on that list. It’s always going to be more important than a barking dog.

Best of health to you all.

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