Eventually, I got an appointment to be examined at a county hospital, in hopes of getting a referral for an ultrasound. After spending three hours in the waiting room, my name was called. Sixty seconds later, an overworked physician told me that I was fine; that I had cysts and that was normal. She told me to get dressed, and away she went. Somehow, I expected a little more attention, but to no avail.
After a month or so, the cysts went away, and the pain subsided. That is, until a few months later, and this time, it was worse than ever.
My girlfriend told me about a free health fair sponsored by a local radio station that was providing free mammograms. Reluctantly, I went.
Dilemma #4: This is getting old. The program offering the service told me that their policy was only to service women 40 and over; I did not qualify. Needless to say, I was irritated – and that’s putting it nicely. Tell a person with some drive and dignity ‘no’ long enough, and you’ll get, at the very least, a challenge and at the most, an all-out-war. I’m not sure where that leaves me, but after passionately protesting about how hurt and outraged I was – with threats of going to the press – wouldn’t you know? I got some attention after all.
The next week, I received both a mammogram and an ultrasound. Thankfully, I do not have cancer, and what I experienced was a result of too much caffeine. However, for too many of us, by the time we get the attention that we need, it’s too late. The good news is that early detection saves lives.
Please check your breasts, and if you feel something abnormal, get it checked by your doctor. And do not accept “no” for an answer if you want tests done.
For more information on breast cancer, please visit Komen.org.
Deya “Direct” Smith is a lead producer on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, creator and host of Girlfriend FM. She is the author of Touch Yourself, 30 Ways to Boldly Live, Love and Let Go! (www.touchmebooks.com)