I had it written on my calendar as a reminder. The script has been sitting on my desk since December. But in true ADD fashion, I kept putting off the appointment.

A good friend had hers done recently and emailed me that there were some concerns. That kicked me into gear, so I called up to make my appointment. They had an opening that day.

The lady who greeted me was easy going, with a face softened by a sweet smile. I got the orders and froze:

“TakeEverythingOffFromTheWaistUp…HangYourClothesOnThe HookButTakeYourPurseWithYour…PutTheGownOnButLeaveItOpenInTheBack”

Now I have a problem. You see, I am not an audio learner. When people talk too fast or throw too many directions at me, I get lost. It’s like swimming in a pool of words that I can’t make out.

Normally, in the old days when I was still very insecure about my challenges, not knowing there was a name to them, I would have nodded, and then blundered my way through the whole thing.

But yesterday was different. I simply said, “Do you mind repeating that? That was a whole lot for me to take in!”

And she did.

Now…if YOU are procrastinating about getting your mammogram done:

1. Stop what you are doing.

2. Call your OB/GYN or family doc.

3. Ask for a prescription to get your annual mammogram.

4. Write it on your calendar/planner…whatever you use to keep track of your day. I’ll wait. Ok, good. More than good- good for you!

5. Post here to let us know when your appointment is. Let’s see how many posts we can get. Because I’m officially calling today:

ADD Mammogram Day!

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Comment by Debi Banzhaf, MSW on April 14, 2010 at 3:02pm
Thanks, Kathleen, for your comments on colonoscopy. The part about the procedure itself is very helpful. I would love to see my colon; however, they are going to sedate me. The part about the prep is what bothers me - silly as I am. The thought of drinking stuff that my daughter said would give me horrible intestinal cramps and diarrhea bothers me.
Comment by Kathleen Christensen on April 14, 2010 at 2:13pm
Colonoscopy: Put off my my first for several years after it was indicated. Part of this was pure procrastination; part was difficulties with decision making about whether to have an upper GI endoscopy at the same time (for unrelated reasons). For me, drinking the prep was not too bad at first (I didn't flavor it), but it got harder and harder as the evening progressed. The doctor's office had stressed drinking it all. But in hindsight (and after reading a little), I think I could have stopped a little earlier. I did my procedure without sedation (I hate that woozy feeling), and it was not bad at all--a couple brief periods of discomfort, but not terrible. Not as bad as drinking all that stuff!

The funniest thing was that I had rented a DVD on insects as one of the things to watch while I did the prep. One scene was a fiber-optic look down a termite hill. It looked so much like what the doc was going to be seeing the next day! (One benefit of no sedation: I got to look inside my colon too, on the monitor. Cool! Although I realize it's not for everyone ...)
Comment by Kathleen Christensen on April 14, 2010 at 2:05pm
Go, Sumbuny! I'll be cheering you on!

Thought I should add that the table I use to track doctor appointments is in a Word file on my computer. A hard copy would be too likely to end up in a pile or a box somewhere!

And sorry--didn't see that someone else had already addressed the thermography issue.
Comment by Kathleen Christensen on April 14, 2010 at 1:58pm
Thank you for the nudge! Just made an appointment for a mammogram, as well as a gyn exam, and an eye checkup. Only 6 or 8 months behind schedule!

A few years back, I got a couple years behind on doctor appointments. Obviously, I'm still not totally up to date, but am doing way better keeping up with this. One thing that's helped me is making a table of all the docs my daughter and I see, along with their phone numbers and squares to fill in with the dates we see them. Before, I often had no idea how long it had been since I'd seen a practitioner. If a reminder post card got lost in a pile ... no appointment made!

Probably not a good forum for discussing the pros and cons of mammography versus alternatives. I did want to add, however, that the International Academy of Thermology says this: "The proper role of thermography is not as a replacement for mammography." (See http://www.iact-org.org/patients/breastthermography/mammography-vs-....) Dr. Weil has a brief and, to my mind, balanced piece about the radiation risks of mammography (something I've worried about) here: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400672/Mammograms-Too-Much-Radiation.... Decisions about mammography can be complex and personal.

In memory of Stacey, Sharon, and another Kathleen ...
Comment by Sumbuny on April 14, 2010 at 1:51pm
Terry, it is eery that you posted this....I am getting ready for my community's Relay for Life as I read this....

Last year, I had my second mammogram at age 44 (despite what the "new guidelines" say--don't even get this impulsive ADDer started on *that*! ) . I was asked to come back in for another viewing, because I have "dense tissue"....good thing that I did, because they found a small (1.2 cm) cancer deep inside one breast. Even knowing where it was, the doc could not feel it--there is now way that *I* would have found it!

A year later, after surgery, chemo, and radiation, I am still here, getting ready to walk in the relay wearing the purple of a survivor...and plan to do so for many years to come.

If not for the mammogram, or if I had waited until I was 50 (and it was much larger), the outcome would be much different.

Is it uncomfortable? Sure--but not as bad as as other things could be....the few seconds of being "squished" for a mammo were much less painful than the longer procedures I had to deal with later....

It is all in perspective.....

One of the best things I have learned from this is how to actually slow down (big joke with someone with ADHD, right? ) and appreciate at least one thing every day...but I am doing that now. I am learning how to live in the moment a little bit more....

...and that's not so bad
Comment by Debi Banzhaf, MSW on April 14, 2010 at 1:14pm
Suzy, I'm so glad you mentioned *gulp* colonoscopies. I am 53, just changed PCP's and he asked if I'd had one. I have not. He told me I needed to ASAP. Has anyone had experience, good or bad, with this?
Comment by Jacqui66 on April 14, 2010 at 12:43pm
Thanks for this timely blog, Terry. About 2 months ago, I managed to get every appointment made and completed in 1 day ~ Yes, I did start early, and yes, being part of a network where all of my physicians are within 2 blocks of each other facilitated that! ~ The point I am making though, is that I reserved a chunk of time for my health, and I am glad I did. It was something I nagged myself constantly about as everyday constituted one more day of not making myself a priority!! I take my kids to the doctor when they need it, and they each have yearly check-ups!! Why not me?
ps Karen, I appreciate the link regarding Breast Thermography. Since I live in Northern California, I am located close to four or five offices. I clicked on one, and read the entire site. One thing I did note several times on the site, which i think bears repeating is this: A fuctional imaging test (thermography) cannot replace a structural imaging procedure (mammography). These two imaging tools complement each other. Thermography is to be used in addition to mammography, not as a replacement. Good to know there is more than one avenue of prevention. Seems to me that general good health, mammograms, and thermograms all work together to help women protect themselves, kind of like gloves, a coat, and a hat in the winter - you can navigate the trails without one or two or all of those things, but using them together feels better and protects you better!!
Comment by Karen on April 14, 2010 at 12:02pm
Oh-please don't get a mammogram as your 1st diagnostic tool! It is radiation to your chest- a risk factor in breast cancer! Thermograms use heat instead, and they don't involve squashing your breast. And they detect cancer years before a mammogram can. Only if they show something would one get a mammogram. To find a thermogram doctor: http://www.iact-org.org/links.html. For the 88% of us who won't get breast cancer, there is no reason to have radiation shot to your chest annually!
Comment by Terry Matlen on April 14, 2010 at 12:01pm
Sorry I wasn't more clear- that was for the others who, unlike you, are stuck with doctors that aren't right for them. You did good!

Suzy: Good for you for getting all of these things checked!

I am so happy to hear that you gals are taking care of yourselves. : )
Comment by Suzy on April 14, 2010 at 11:36am
I went without Insurance for a year and a half so when I finally got it I made all my appointments. Just got my 2nd mammogram on my left side yesterday as there was a spot. But it turned out to be nothing. And don't forget colonoscopies if you're over 50. I have my 1st in a week. Oh boy! My ADD has my job on this ice so I'm not sure how long I'll have the insurance so I'm getting it all done now.

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