I can't say that I'm particularly looking forward to it (at all) -- but in another couple weeks, I'll be getting my very first mammogram. And I honestly didn't think I'd be having one for at least a few more years. I'm only 36 and I always thought mammograms weren't anything I'd have to deal with until I turned 40.
But in an effort to conquer my anxiety about having one and go ahead and get it over with -- my appointment is booked and I'm taking the plunge.
And I guess since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, my decision to have one couldn't have come at a more appropriate time. Plus, it's no secret that mammograms are such a huge part of early breast cancer detection, so to say they are a little important is a huge understatement.
Still -- having that appointment looming over my head already has my stomach churning, and something tells me it's not going to get any easier as the date approaches.
More from The Stir: 5 Things You May Not Know About Mammograms
Here are the six main reasons I'm absolutely terrified of getting a mammogram.
- It's going to hurt -- I might as well start with the obvious fear-inducing factor, the pain. I know the darn thing isn't going to feel like a massage, and friends and family members have given descriptions of their mammograms ranging from "it's a little uncomfortable" to "it hurts like hell." Needless to say, I'm a bit apprehensive about having my boobs squished by a machine.
- I'll feel claustrophobic -- The older I get, the more I dislike feeling like I'm confined and can't freely move about. I know this won't be as bad as an MRI, but I still don't like the idea of having to sit still while this contraption grabs me.
- It's a sign of my age -- Yes, I know that's really shallow. But having my first mammogram is like crossing some invisible threshold into over-the-hill territory -- and I'm just not sure I'm ready to do it.
- It might show something -- OMG. What if a lump pops up on the scan? Yes, I know that's the whole point -- but screening for breast cancer and actually having breast cancer are two different things.
- It might miss something -- What if everything is all clear on the scan, so I figure I'm totally fine, and then I get complacent and don't do monthly breast exams because I figure if there was anything there the mammogram would've caught it? It's like a false security blanket, or something.
- Some studies say mammograms do more harm than good -- Ugh. Way to fill my head with all sorts of "what the hell am I supposed to do" kinds of thoughts. What if the scan does the complete opposite of what it's supposed to and my breast cancer risk isn't any lower?
So there you have it. I'm having my first mammogram, and I'm freaking out a little bit about it. (No really, I think I might start to cry.) That's totally normal, right?
Have you had a mammogram yet?
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