Today I’ll be getting a mammogram. Not because my cancer has spread……this is just a routine, annual mammogram. This may seem like “too much information” but lately it seems that I talk rather freely about things like mammograms, PSA levels, and colonoscopies. Last week I found myself having this conversation with my UPS man. He’s a very nice man who frequently brings cases of hooves for the dogs and the occasional bottle of wine for Larry and me. He has a basset hound and while we usually find ourselves talking about dogs, last week I found myself telling him to “keep an eye on those PSA levels” and “don’t put off that colonoscopy! They’ve got really good drugs these days…..you won’t remember a thing!” I walked back to the house with my hooves, shaking my head…….”I can’t believe that I just talked to my UPS man about his PSA levels!” (This, of course, would come as no surprise to Amanda who is convinced that if you sit two dog breeders down to a nice meal, the words “poop”, “bitch”, and “frozen semen” will always find their way into the conversation…..no matter how nice, or how crowded, the restaurant!).
If you’re due for a check-up or a routine test, please don’t put it off! If you have a nagging little symptom, get it checked out. The advancements that have been made in cancer screening and treatment are amazing and if it’s caught early, the prognosis, in many cases, is very good. I was very lucky! There are no tests for non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and its usually caught in stage III or VI. The indolent (slow-growing) forms of the disease are typically incurable but because my cancer was found early, there is a chance that I might be cured. If I hadn’t gone to the ER when I had shortness of breath, if the radiologist hadn’t taken that CT scan low enough, I wouldn’t have known that I had tumor in my stomach until the disease had progressed much further. Don’t let fear, or embarassment, or “its just a little shortness of breath” prevent you from getting tested! 😛