Thursday, August 06, 2009

Guys: Don’t read this

If you're a guy and you're reading this, come on. Can you not read? This is not a blog post for guys. The subject matter contained within has been known to cause grown men to put their hands over their ears while they sing "La la la la I can't hear you."

Yes, I'm going to talk about female things. You've been warned.

Guess what? I have a circle in my breast. Yes, I'm sure you've all been wondering if Lori has a circle in her breast, and the answer is yes. An almost perfect little hollow circle, about the size of a pin head. How do I know this? Because this evening I had my annual mammogram, also known as the beginning of the most vulnerable, nerve wracking couple of days women go through each year. You can go into the office feeling fine, and then you pick up a copy of some health magazine and read a story about Sheryl Crowe. Suddenly, you're thinking that she's gorgeous and fit, and she had breast cancer, so what right do I have to hope I'll be spared?

Anyway, back to my circle. I go down the hallway, put on the gown and go to the imaging room, where the nice lady puts me in place and lets the machine do its job. I'm recovering from the first squish when she says, "Have you had any surgery on your breasts?" I look down and think, "Lady, does it look like I've had surgery here? Because if I did, I want my money back." Instead, I say no, and she beckons me over to the screen. "Look here," she says, pointing to a perfect little circle on the image. "That almost looks like a piece of metal or something."

Being Lori, I say, "Do I need to freak out?"

"Oh no," she says. "It's probably just a calcification. They're not usually perfect circles, though."

Fortunately, I remember having been diagnosed with a calcification some years ago. I had to go back for a mammogram every six months to see if it changed. After three mammograms with no changes, I was given the OK to go back to annual exams. The nice lady suggests we do the second image from a different position, to see if it shows up again. Sure enough, there's the little circle, in the same place. Again, she tells me not to freak out. We finish the other side and she takes me down to a computer room where she can pull up last year's mammogram. Sure enough, there's the circle. A perfect circle. Same size. Same place. In a freaking out way, it's almost kind of cool.

Why do I share this story? Because those of you who know me know how much I freak out whenever I have a headache that won't go away. Those of you who know me know that I'm going to fret over the circle for the next few days, until I get the call of "all clear" or (gulp) "come back for more pictures." As I said above, it can be a horrible few days for women. It's almost horrible enough to put it off for a while.

But I don't. Again, those who know me know that one of my best friends was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. I lost an online friend to the disease a couple years ago. So if my circle story serves as a timely reminder to someone who's reading this and thinking maybe, just maybe she should go ahead and schedule her annual mammogram, then I'm glad I shared this story.

And guys, if you've completely ignored my warnings and read through this, do me a favor. Tell the woman you love to make sure she gets hers, too.

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