My first mammogram: What I learned

When I turned 40 and it was time to schedule my first mammogram, I was hesitant to do so. I’ve heard many frightening stories about how painful and terrifying they can be, and I had a lot of questions. Should I take a day off of work to mentally prepare? Should I not take a shower or wear deodorant the day of the appointment? Am I mentally prepared to accept the test results? Should I practice yoga poses before the procedure?   I was so nervous I researched on every website available, read every blog and watched every YouTube video until the mammogram was no longer my concern. Instead, I allowed the internet to diagnose me with all sorts of other illnesses and ailments. So, many months after my 40th birthday, I finally drew up the courage to schedule a mammogram. I work at MD Anderson, so I decided to make an appointment at MD Anderson’s Cancer Prevention Center. Surprisingly, the professionalism of the patient access representative calmed me immediately, and I scheduled the mammogram just four days later. My first mammogram On the day of my appointment, I had similar interactions with everyone I came in contact with. From parking to registration to the X-ray to meeting the nurse practitioner for the first time, the entire process was relaxed, organized and professional. Of course, the mammogram was a bit uncomfortable, and yes, the machine was cold. However, the procedure was quick, and each image took only about 10 seconds. The morning after my mammogram, the nurse practitioner called to tell me that the screening showed a “suspicious” area and...