In Which We Put On Our Big Girl Pants

by Cate on July 29, 2012


Just the Facts
My OB-GYN gave me the piece of paper nearly two years ago. Her handwriting scrawled on the top with my name, age, and the current date. Her signature on the bottom. Just a routine formality. I was months away from turning 40. It was that time.

The dreaded mammogram.

But why so dreaded? As I explained to Nick, who waited in a private waiting room, doodling and watching TV, it’s the fear of the unknown. I knew it was no big deal. I have had many friends who have gone for theirs. I was making it a bigger deal in my head than was necessary. I knew all this.

I had run into an old neighbor at our local bagel shop last year, and she had just come back from hers. I mentioned that the piece of paper had been in my wallet for over a year at that point; I kept putting it off. She urged me to go.

She told me, “Really, you’ll be fine!” She even told me to call her when I went and she would go with me and hold my hand if I wanted.

Um, yeah. Because having your boobs on display in front of a stranger isn’t bad enough. I should bring a bigger audience with me. Yeah, no thank you. So it took about another year from that chance encounter for me to actually go, or to follow through with an appointment.

And the real reason I did it? These two.

all stars

I have three great fears in life. Getting old. Dying. And house fires. So says the control freak. There’s no shortage of irony in that my three great fears are pretty much things I can’t control.

But here’s the thing: I can sort of control something. Although getting old scares me sometimes, not getting old scares me more. I would hate to have my life cut short because of something I could have prevented. I have so much left I want to do with my life, and so much I want to do, share, and experience with the kids. And I’ll be darned if I’m going let a five minute exam stand in the way of getting old.

These days, we live longer. We live better. We’re better educated. About everything. I went for the mammogram for the kids. And now that it’s no longer an “unknown,” I’ll go every year. No question.

“How was it?” a co-worker asked me when I got back to the office.

“Well, as long as you don’t mind getting felt up by a complete stranger and getting squished and stretched between two pieces of glass, it’s no big deal.”

And, of course, it wasn’t. Whatever scenario we create in our mind is always way worse than the actual event. And that little piece of paper that arrived a few weeks later? Proclaiming a normal mammogram exam? Made it all totally worth it.

Although getting old still makes me a bit uneasy, I’m going to do everything I can to get there. While I was at the mammogram facility, I took picture of some scary statistics and forwarded it to a few people who I knew were behind in going. If those numbers don’t motivate you, I don’t know what will.

In the meantime, getting old is a slightly, ever so slightly, less scary situation.

The folks at Pfizer have a fun web site that they’ve put together if getting old is on your mind too. Did you know that 36% of people are uneasy about getting old? At least my worries aren’t irrational. Or I have great company in them.

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How do you feel about aging? What are you doing to help make yourself more comfortable with the process? Leave a comment and be entered to win one of three $500 SpaFinder gift cards. Please note winners will be selected from the comment pool of all participating bloggers

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PS – The Weekend Photos in Review will be back tomorrow night.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Caron July 30, 2012 at 12:48 am

Great message! And so true. It’s important that we do these things — not just for ourselves, but for our kids.
Sarah Caron recently posted..Crispy Garlic Herb Oven Fries

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Mellisa W July 30, 2012 at 7:34 am

I have felt old for years, the number does not matter. I may feel old, but I am happy.

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Kim of Mo'Betta July 30, 2012 at 10:01 am

Great post! Cancer is so bad in my family that I will be 40 next week and have already had to have a mammogram, colonoscopy, AND an endoscopy! But, like you, I would rather be proactive. Thank God everything has been normal so far! (and a mammogram is nothing compared to the colonoscopy! Which isn’t as bad as I had imagined…but still!)
Kim of Mo’Betta recently posted..Healthier Chocolate Truffles and Haystacks!

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Joanne July 30, 2012 at 10:22 am

Colon cancer runs in my family and so I’ve been trying to convince my mother for years to go for a colonoscopy since really, if you have them regularly, colon cancer is pretty much totally preventable. I’ll have to show her this post.
Joanne recently posted..Recipe: Roasted Potatoes, Zucchini and Corn Tostadas with Romesco Sauce (food matters project}

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Ramona July 30, 2012 at 10:27 am

I hate going. I call it my yearly poke and torture exam. But, I go. And I survive.

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Jeri July 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm

I don’t want deep wrinkles and have lived under sunblock and moisturizer since my late 20’s. I have a Shar Pei, and I don’t need to look like one! Whatever I put on my face, I put on my upper chest. The skin on my chest and face will match when I hit my 60’s.

The part I like the least is the milestone reminders from my doctor. It’s the mental thing. I don’t feel 40, so it’s not my favorite thing to have her comment on it. The mammo itself was not a big deal. Now it’s just a necessary item on the to-do list.

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Linda August 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I want to see my kids grow up and get married some day, getting old isn’t all bad

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Mel August 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm

I look forward to retirement and traveling in my “old age”

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Sean August 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm

31 is already too old for me, but with age comes freedom to say whatever you want and get away with it!

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Kelly D August 14, 2012 at 7:42 pm

I feel uneasy, but I look to older people around me who are doing well as an inspiration.

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Kerry August 25, 2012 at 10:04 pm

I feel very uneasy about aging – but I know I will just have to deal with it!

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kristine August 29, 2012 at 10:42 pm

I’m trying not to focus on age… just keeping busy, keeping active, and enjoying the moment. It’s just a number :)

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Betty C August 31, 2012 at 12:15 pm

My children and even my grandchildren are adults so I don’t worry about leaving them alone. My worry is about my ability to take care of myself. I don’t like relying on other people so I want to be able to physically and financially take care of myself.

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anash August 31, 2012 at 11:31 pm

i feel good about it. as long as i am getting old, it means im still living, and to me ::wink: thats a good thing
Thanks for a super giveaway!

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