Thursday, September 4, 2014

My first mammogram, plus some birds and orchids

First let me just say sorry for disappearing last week and part of this one. It was a pretty hectic last week in Colombia, and I didn't manage to write what I wanted. As always, I managed to leave for the last minute lots of things that needed to be done. Now that I am back, I hope to share with you some of the wonderful things I saw there.

In the meantime let me get back to the title; my first mammogram. It did feel like a big milestone for me. Granted it was one I had been dreading for quite some time, but a milestone nonetheless. There is a history of breast cancer in my family so I knew the day would come (it should have come a bit sooner actually, but I kept postponing it).

My visit with the gynecologist went smoothly, except the part where he opened his eyes with a questioning look while doing my breast examination, and said; "I want to make sure that there is nothing wrong with what I am feeling, so just have a mammogram."

I should have panicked with thoughts of cancer, cysts, tumors, anything, but I didn't. The only thing I was panicking about was the exam, not the result. See, every time the word mammogram had been uttered among the women I know, lots and lots of faces were made, and lots and lots of bad words were said. Faces of discomfort and pain, words of complaint and basically every bad word you can imagine.  So this was one of those exams I wasn't looking forward to doing.

I managed to miss my first appointment, so it was postponed for the next one. Of course the day arrived, and there I was again, with no body lotion, perfume and deodorant. I told the woman who was doing the exam that it was my first time, and we just started talking about her first time. I decided to breathe and be grateful for my breasts (I am flat as a board in case you were curious), but I have always been grateful with what I have.

In the end, it took no more than 5 minutes and absolutely pain free. Nothing that I heard about this exam applied to me. I will tell you very bad words about the gastrointestinal endoscopy (I've had 8 or 9 of those done), but not about this one. All I will say is; Don't postpone a very important exam for fear of it, even if it hurts a little, early detection will be your greatest strength.

The things that helped me with the exam:

- Talk to the person who is doing the exam, listen to her story.
- Think happy thoughts. I thought about all those times breastfeeding my kids and it made me happy.
- Be grateful.
- Breathe. I had to remind myself to do it.
- Think about the millions of other women that have gone through this exam.
- When they tell you to stay still, stay still! Otherwise they have to do it again.

Have you done this exam before? Was it a good or bad experience? I'm glad mine was over. I am also glad that nothing that I thought about it was true. I'm also happy the result was fine, I just have to keep getting regular check ups, and hopefully they will all be like the first time (I'm crossing my fingers just in case).

Wishing you a most relaxing weekend,
Fun fact not involving mammograms: Colombia has the largest number of orchids in the world, and the biggest diversity of hummingbirds of any country (147 recorded species).


  1. I think that is my favourite blog post title ever. And I too missed my appointment for a mammogram but didn't bother rescheduling yet. But after reading your post I'll get on it. Unfortunately here it's not a women who does the mammogram but a twenty-five year old with tattoos and low slung jeans with his underwear hanging out. I've also heard he's kinda cute which makes it so much worse! Ack. In any case, I'm glad you're home safe and sound and back to blogging. Jill xo

    1. So sorry to hear that there a woman is not the one doing the exam, it would have been so much easier. On the other hand you get to say a 25 year old squashed your boob ;)
      I couldn't come up with a more random title, so I'm glad you liked it!!

  2. Oh finally one of comments is actually posted! I've tried for ages to comment and it wouldn't go through!

    1. I don't know what is wrong with the "system" because a bunch of people have been having the same problem. Argghhhh!! There is always something wrong with it!

  3. Ufff thank you for that! Now I'm just less scared which is huge because I've always been dreading it in panic!
    Aaaahh and those orchids and birds well that was nice touch

    1. I'm glad I was able to be your guinea pig and soon off you will go to have your first mammogram! I really is a very quick exam, and compared to all the other ones you have done, this is easy breezy!!

  4. Hi Giova. Great to have you back!
    Look forward to seeing more photos of your trip to Columbia.

    Well done for feeling the Fear and doing it anyway:-)
    Happy you had good results... Have a great weekend.

    In 2 weeks I'm soft launching my project. Will let you know x

    1. Thank you Tina. I will be showing more photos next week (I hope).
      Can't wait to read more about your project ;)

  5. Valiente!!! Ademas, los pensamientos se tejen entre el color de las orquideas, los azulejos y los "picaflores".......... eso ayuda aunque sea un "poquitico"......................

  6. And yep, another comment didn't get through :s Wise words to never postpone an important exam because of fear! I don't think I'm up for a mammogram yet until in a few years (no idea at what age they start these in France... although I'm sure they have some prescription drugs to get you through it ;) ). Lovely wild orchids, are these birds really eating bananas?

    1. Something is seriously wrong with the comments setting and the worst part is, I've no idea how to fix it!!
      The age to do a mammogram is usually 40, so you still have plenty of time!
      Yes, those birds love bananas!!


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