My first mammogram

first mammogram

What my first mammogram experience was really like

Turning 40 last year, I was all ready to embrace this new milestone.  I also knew that it was time to undergo a mammogram.  My gynaecologist scheduled an appointment for my very first mammogram.

She managed to book me in for a 09h00 appointment on 8 August 2016.  I was instructed not to wear deodorant, powder or perfume on the day of the screening. Apparently this leaves a shadow on the X-ray.  I’ve heard so many negative stories about how painful it is.   With that in mind, the procedure scared me.  Nevertheless, even though fearful, I adhered to the appointment as it was for my best interest.

After completing the paper work, the radiologist directed me to the changing room.  I had to remove all my clothes from the waist up and covered myself with a white robe.  Four ladies sat in the waiting room waiting for screening.  Everyone seemed so tense with their eyes just focused in the magazines they were paging through.  And I must be honest the suspense was killing me.  The four ladies screened before me, received their results, got dressed and left.

Then it was my turn.  The radiologist was friendly.  She explained the procedure and ensured me that should I feel discomfort at any time I need to tell her.  So many thoughts rushed through my mind at that moment. What if they detect an abnormality and how will I deal with it? I also looked at the machine and from what I imagined based on stories I heard, it would be metal plates that will squeeze and squash the living daylights out of your boobs.  This machine was different though and there were no metal plates in sight – to my delight of course.

The radiologist positioned me in front of the machine.  Checking my comfort levels at all times.  Before proceeding; she explained the procedure to me.  My left breast was first placed between the two plastic plates.  The top plate came down and compressed my breast for detailed imaging or should I rather say X-ray.  She took three images of each breast. I swear the screening of both breasts didn’t even take 5 minutes and it was pain free.

After examining the images, the radiologist couldn’t get a clear view of any abnormalities. I then had to go for an ultrasound.  At that moment, I started to panic as to why they couldn’t see anything – once again so many things raced through my mind.  Something had to be wrong that I need to go for an ultrasound.

The doctor performing the ultrasound explained that I have dense breast tissue and they couldn’t make a clear analysis from the mammogram images. Although dense breast tissue is normal, it is very difficult to detect breast cancer via a mammogram and therefore the risk of having cancerous lumps is higher as you can’t easily feel it with self-examination.

I kid you not, the ultrasound was more painful than the mammogram.  The ultrasound probe pressed my breasts, making it extremely painful.  Long story short, the results were clear and both my breasts were normal.

I wouldn’t have been aware that I have dense breast tissue if I didn’t go for a screening. Knowing what I know now, I will not hesitate to make my next mammogram appointment.  I suggest that if you never had one, make an appointment immediately.  Don’t let your own fears stand in the way of your health and don’t believe everything that you hear about mammograms.  Your experience might not be the same as someone else’s.  Get screened, early detection can save your live.

This is a third post focusing on women’s health.  If you haven’t read my other posts on this feature, please have a read Love your heart and Know your numbers.  You might find Are you covered? an interesting read as it links up with previous health related posts.


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Smartphone – why our daughter doesn’t have one

 

Smartphone

Smartphone usage for kids

My eldest daughter will be turning 11 next month and doesn’t have a smartphone.

We bought her a tablet for educational purposes only. It contains educational apps and a few games. This tablet has no social media apps on it.

She can use our laptops or her tablet to access the internet for information. We monitor her internet usage when sourcing information for projects or assignments. But having restricted use of a tablet or laptop is not the same as having your very own smartphone.

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Know your health numbers

 

Know health numbers

It is important to know your numbers in terms of health numbers

Continuing from my previous blog post on Love your heart, I indicating that during the month of August a few posts will focus on Women’s health issues.  Know your numbers is not exclusive to women and is of utmost importance to men as well.

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My first herb garden

I never thought of myself as having green fingers, although both my parents seems to have a knack with growing plants and making the most beautiful garden with rose bushes, lushes trees and a vegetable garden.  Somehow gardening was just always so intimidating to me even a first herb garden, perhaps because whenever I attempted to plant something it would die on me.

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Love your heart

 

Love your heart

Ways to love your heart and keeping it healthy

August is Women’s month in South Africa and we are celebrating all you wonderful women.  Women are no longer the less visible gender.  But saying that, do we often place focus on ourselves and our wellbeing.

Therefore, I’ve decided that during the month of August a few of my blog posts will focus on women’s health issues. Love your heart places focus on cardiovascular disease.

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Little Helping Hands

Chores for those little helping hands

Feeding the dogs, making their beds, setting the table, unpacking the dishwasher, wash and dry the dishes if the dishwasher is not loaded, fold the washing, vacuum and dust the furniture, unpack the groceries and organise their cupboards. These are the chores that my kids do around the house and their little helping hands make a huge contribution.  (more…)


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Should we scrap school “homework”?

Should we scrap school homework? Or are we as parents making a big deal out of nothing?

 

scrap school homework

I remember being in primary school in the 1980s and finishing off high school in the early 1990s, receiving homework; perhaps not every day but we received homework.  Homework back then was about doing the odd assignment, completing a worksheet or two, writing an essay or doing a few math sums. Most importantly we had time for play.  Some form of punishment was given for incomplete homework.  But homework back then was minimal with almost no parental involvement.  Teachers taught in class. With that background, I was all set on kids getting homework.

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I failed at breastfeeding and my kids turned out fine

failed breastfeeding kids turned fine

You might think why am I blogging about this topic as I am no longer a mom of an infant. I can relate as I was once a mom of two infants and I failed at breastfeeding. Even if it takes me back almost 8 years I can remember clearly.  A conversation with friends, inspired this post. Let’s just say – there are still some people that are divided on this.

My blog post today is about the breastfeeding vs formula debate.  In all honesty there shouldn’t even be a debate. It is all about choice and what is best for your baby. I have great admiration for mothers who breastfeed their babies, in actual fact I find it to be a beautiful sight.  They make it look so easy and they seem to be so content to nurse their little sprouts.  (more…)


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Time to get PG Wise

PG wise

Apologies for only posting a new blog post now.  Not to worry I didn’t disappear off the radar. The thing is I’ve been so busy during the school holidays that I simply didn’t have time to write or post anything.

Are you PG wise when it comes to what your kids are watching?

So the deal is my kids don’t watch much television. In fact they don’t watch television at all during a school week. We limit screen time over weekends. This will include a rental movie. Although they limited to watch television, we very conscious of the PG ratings. (more…)


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