I’m not a procrastinator, but with scheduling my mammogram, I am.
It doesn’t make sense; I know it’s the right thing to do. I know it’s more than important. My usual Type-A self never misses a deadline; I am incredibly timely, task-oriented, meticulous, and plan way more than I probably should. I’m the kind of woman who has her client schedule memorized, generally does laundry and folds it in the same day, never misses an oil change, remembers everyone’s birthday, has most of her Christmas shopping done no later than November. As I type these things, it really illuminates my delay and trepidation when it comes to going in for my mammogram.
Why though? Why am I like this when it comes to something so important? I have reflected on this, and I am pretty sure I know why: I know I’m not alone when I say most women do not ever look forward to or idealize their girls getting smashed during the X-ray process. It’s not fun. It’s not comfortable, and it’s just downright stressful. It’s very common to get irregular or indecisive results at first.
My mom, sister, best friend, and myself, and probably countless others, have all been asked back for a follow-up mammogram after our initial mammogram. Thankfully the follow-up visit proved no problems for us, yet, the anxiety induced by the “callback” was real. In my case, there was an “unknown particle” on the X-ray that incited a return visit. Besides the stress and anxiety, what a hassle it is to return to the doctor’s office.
Many also fear the potential effects of radiation exposure, and we question if any of this is even necessary. Bring on the pandemic, and all the reminders I was getting about my mammogram fell to the wayside because there was no way I was going to prioritize the mammogram amidst COVID-19. But deep down, I’m sure that procrastination has always been a fear of the results: The “What If?” factor. Avoidance and sweeping it under the rug can be much easier than hearing there might be a problem.
But, I realize an annual mammogram at my age is necessary. So is anyone’s physical/annual exam. With preventive exams, you can unravel any issues that have developed and address them before they get worse or become untreatable.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the objective is women will be reminded early detection can strengthen the fight against breast cancer. Breast cancer is very real, and as much as getting a mammogram can be stressful, it’s essential. Procrastination is the best friend of cancer and other diseases.
In my case, I mustered the courage to get online and make the appointment. Next up, the most important part when next month rolls around: Keeping the appointment. I know I need to do the mature, responsible thing by showing up, putting on that pink robe, and stepping into the exam room, inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply a few times. The whole time I’ll probably be joking with myself, “Suck it up, buttercup!” but I’ll be getting it done. Why? Because it is important.