You Must Be a Woman Over 40 to Relate To This One

mammography-machineLast week, I finally got around to getting my mammogram done again.  It’s been 3 years since my last mammogram, and it might have been longer too, if I hadn’t gotten sick with a sinus infection last month and gone in to see my doctor, who then promptly reminded me that I was overdue on my mammogram.   It’s no wonder I forgot.  Getting a mammogram is definitely not one of those things I look forward to, and my last experience didn’t help to make me want to do it again.

The last time I had a mammogram, I was told to come back for another mammogram in 6 weeks without any explanation (and yes, I asked, but all they said was “Don’t worry.”)    Those 6 weeks were the longest 6 weeks of my life as I wondered what could be wrong, and fearing the worst.   My aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer not long before that, so I couldn’t help but wonder if I had it too.   And to top it off, when I went in for the second scan, they had to do “additional views”  as well as an ultra sound.   The whole time, they never told me anything except the direction for where to go and what to do so they could get a good image.  Being a worrier with an active imagination, as I laid there on the table while they did the ultra-sound images of my breasts, I was already seeing myself on my deathbed, saying tearful good-byes to my children, violin music in the background and all.

It was a relief then, when after all the poking and squishing, I was told all was normal.  It turned out that they didn’t have sample images of a woman who had breastfed so many children, and they were having difficulties interpreting my breast tissues, so they had to create a whole new baseline for me with my own data, thus the two mammograms 6 weeks apart.   Thankfully there was no indication of any abnormal tissue growth.  I wish they had told me this from the beginning!  Why do the medical professionals seem to think we’re not capable of handling such information?  I do hope they can use my baseline for other women who had breastfed many children like me, so they won’t have to be subjected to two mammograms in 2 months, and go through the worries like I did.

I did some research online, and couldn’t find who actually designed the first mammogram machine, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a man who had an issue with women.  I can’t help but wonder if it is possible to find out the same information without subjecting our tender boobs to such squeezing and flattening.  All this squishing sure can’t be helping our already sagging boobs!  Can’t they come up with something like the scanner in Star Trek, where you don’t even have to get undressed? 

As much discomfort as this machine can give though, it also gives a lot of women a chance to survive cancer by early detection.  I am thinking of other women for whom the fear of breast cancer became a reality, like my aunt and one of my friends.   I am thankful that mammography technology has saved their lives.  And I am thankful that my mammogram report came back as negative, meaning that I don’t have any cancerous tissues.

Even though I don’t like having my boobies squeezed flat in that monstrous machine, when I think of my family and friends, I am more willing to go get my next mammogram.  I think it is worth it to go through some discomfort to ensure that I am around for them a bit longer, assuming, of course, that they do want me around!  LOL!   Well, even if they don’t, I think it will be fun to stick around and bug them, so I have written a reminder for myself to set up my next mammogram appointment in December of 2009.   Maybe by then, they’d come up with something like Star Trek.


Easter in Winter

This last Easter of 2008, we had been so busy that Easter just sneaked up on us, and Paul and I were not prepared with our filled plastic eggs for the annual Doell Family Easter Egg Hunt.  The older 3 kids who had moved on from hunting to hiding the eggs (a rite of passage in our family) understood it well enough, but the 3 younger ones were sorely disappointed.  To them, looking for the eggs was an important event they look forward to each year.   Given how Paul and I had been telling them over the years that the plastic eggs with the surprises inside symbolize the surprises in life that God bestows upon His children because He loves them, and how literal young children are, you can imagine how it would seem to our children to suddenly not have the eggs one Easter.

So, Paul and I, for the first time, took advantage of the after-Easter sale at Costco and bought pre-filled Easter eggs (5 bags at $1.97 each–total of 240 eggs).   We figured getting pre-filled eggs would save us the effort of filling them, and at that price, it was cheaper than buying the candies and eggs separately then filling the eggs ourselves.   But because of our busy lives, those plastic eggs sat in our closet for months until last Wednesday evening, when all the proper elements came together (meaning that we had nothing scheduled on our calendar, nobody was sick, and Paul and I weren’t so tired that all we wanted to do was vegetate).   So the 3 older kids hid all the eggs with great enthusiasm all around the house (it’s too cold to do anything outside), and the 3 younger kids went on their hunt with gusto.   Never mind that it’s in the middle of Winter and months after Easter was gone, to the kids, it’s Easter!   They had fun finding the eggs (and as always, they missed one and it wasn’t found till a few days later–this is why we stopped using real hard-boiled eggs).  After counting who had the most eggs to determine the winner, they pooled all the eggs together, emptied them of their contents, and divided up the loot into 6 equal parts (we’ve taught our kids that sharing the candies equally symbolizes how we are to share with one another in God’s family).  Paul and I get the remainder.

Some people might wonder why we would go through such trouble to give the kids an egg hunt in the Winter when Spring, and another Easter, is just around the corner.  Why not just save those eggs and wait till the next Easter?  Why don’t we let the kids learn the harsh reality of life that their parents are just too busy (or forgetful) and that they will just have to wait till next Easter?   If you were here to see the smiles on our children’s faces, to witness the love that the older kids were showing the younger kids, and to experience what a great time we were having together as a family, then you will understand why we feel the effort was all worth it.

Another important reason we did the egg hunt was to keep a promise to our children.  When last Easter came without an egg hunt, we promised them that we would do an egg hunt sometime later.   To our children, that means sometime soon after Easter, and not till next Easter.   Since we believe that we are our children’s first glimpse of God’s character, it was important for us to keep our promises to them.  We want them to know that God always keeps His word.  Of course, we also had to tell them that, unlike their increasingly forgetful parents, God, being perfect, never gets so busy that He would forget to do something to delight them.  It may not happen when they expect it, but God always comes through with His blessings and surprises.

This next Easter we have a new problem.   The one thing we didn’t think about when we bought those pre-filled eggs was that they will become 240 extra plastic eggs to fill the next Easter.   Better get going on that project and be done before Easter arrives this year.