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2009-07-09 digital edition

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2009-07-09 / Community News

A Ticking Time Bomb

My Mom was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a tiny lump and it hadn't had a chance to spread, so she's fine now. People say she was lucky, but I say she was smart.

She had her yearly mammograms religiously, and no matter how many times she had to go back to get a repeat one, only to find out that the "spot" they found was just a benign cyst, she doggedly pursued every suspicion.

She and I share a gene that apparently collects all kinds of stuff in our breasts as if they were a set of luggage. So it is not uncommon for us to have repeat mammograms every year because the doctor saw something odd in there.

"Mrs. Snyder, is that a clock radio in there, or a bomb. I'm afraid you'll have to go through it again."

Well, that was the metal detector attendant at the airport, but you know what I mean.

With all the amazing advances that have been made in medical technology, you'd think that someone would have come up with a screening technique that did not include smashing your mammaries into a vice. I swear I feel just like the Play-doh that a six-year old has just pushed through the spaghetti maker.

"Easy now! You cannot make pie crust with these, no matter how thin you make them! For one thing, they are attached... at least they are so far. Though, I'm not sure what kind of condition they'll be in when you're done with them!"

"Now, now, Mrs. Snyder. Just stand very still and take a deep breath."

"Should I count to ten as well, you wacko! Because that's what I do when I know I'm about to smack somebody! Guantanamo's got nothing on this place!"

So yeah, mammograms do not make it to my list of favorite things. In fact, I have been known to blow off my mammogram appointments in years past because of my If-It- Ain't-Broke-Don't-Try-To-Fix-It attitude.

However, it's just like my Mom to put to the fear of God in me in order to make me do something I don't want to do. It's the only thing that's ever worked for me.

You can bet that I will be getting those mammograms every year from now on. I will be going back repeatedly every time the doctor sees a Volkswagon in there or a mosaic of the Virgin Mary done in fibrous cysts. And I will even do my best to hold back a slug when the technician tries to mold my boobs into wafer-thin pancakes. I know now, that it's better than breast cancer.

If my Mom had been as blasé about her mammograms as I have been, she'd be a dying woman right now; all of her choices taken away from her.

Instead, she had a lumpectomy and some radiation and the cancer is gone, answering the question my son asked years ago: "If you get a hole in one of those, do they explode?"

The answer is no, of course. But if you don't get your mammograms, you just might be a ticking time bomb.

Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more info.

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