Self-Care Challenge (Day 71): Getting a Mammogram

On day 71 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I spent the morning getting a mammogram.

This post is a bit more personal than many of the others to date. In fact, I debated about whether it was too personal. But after considering the many women who put off critical preventive care, I decided it was a necessity.

So, let’s just put it out there, getting a mammogram can be stressful. I’ve been reduced to tears a number of times over the years just sitting in the waiting room.  And my reaction wasn’t even related to the procedure itself–it was the fear of what the procedure might unearth.

Frankly, that’s why so many women don’t get mammograms in the first place. For whatever reason, we convince ourselves that if we don’t think about something, or don’t address something, it doesn’t exist. If only reality worked that way.

And it doesn’t help that there’s little, if any, transparency when it comes to most health insurance plans. When scheduling my appointment, I asked if the procedure would be covered by my insurance, and I was told to call the number on the back of my card. No problem.

What was my insurer’s response? “It will depend on the procedure and the billing codes that are submitted.” That call ended with the customer service agent wishing me “Good luck.”

Nice.

Regardless of the cost, which I’m sure will make my jaw drop since 3D procedures are still considered “experimental” (even though they show calcifications more clearly than standard mammograms), preventing diseases is still cheaper than treating and managing them. Choosing to delay or ignore tests and procedures that can detect critical conditions early just doesn’t makes any sense.

Preventive care is one of the basic tenets of self-care. Whether it’s getting blood work or age-specific tests, it’s smart to talk with your provider about your health risks, and decide together what is necessary.

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