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The Mammogram

I am on a Doctor spree roll! It all started with the dentist. I decided to try a new dentist cause my previous one is on the Westside of town, and I live Downtown. So, I made the appointment for a cleaning, and when I got there they did some x-rays and discovered I needed a deep cleaning. A deep cleaning as in do I need numbing for that? Yes. I glanced at another client beside me and saw the needle and started to panic. Do I really need a deep cleaning? What’s wrong with just the regular cleaning that I’ve done my entire life. Why did I decide to try a new dentist?!

When I spoke with the dentist he showed me the x-rays and I saw that I needed it, mostly cause I am negligent when it comes to flossing and, although I know I should do it on a daily basis, I just don’t. So, I agreed to the deep cleaning and surged ahead. I closed my eyes waiting for the needle. I guess I was shaking cause the dental assistant tried to calm me down. I must have looked like I was getting electric shock therapy or something.

Anyway, all that nerve racking nonsense was a total waste of energy. It was soooo not a big deal. The cleaning was harmless, and I wondered why I put myself through so much mental stress. For what? Fear of the unknown I suppose. When I walked home I started to think about another big doctor avoidance I was neglecting: The Mammogram.

I’m 41. My Mom had breast cancer, my Dad died of cancer, and here I am with a prescription from my gynecologist that was dated ten months ago. It’s not like I forgot that I had it, I just forgot where I came from. I forgot how I was raised.

I was raised in a family where you, “gotta learn to play hurt” or “walk things off” or “stop your sniveling” so, it’s no wonder I neglect my health. A couple year ago I had to switch my insurance from a PPO to an HMO, and in order to get my skin cancer treatments I needed to see a general practitioner in order to be referred out. What is a general practitioner? I had never been to one before. I had never had a physical before so when I went it was a whole new world. Yes, again I stressed over the unknown however, it was no big deal. But the thought of getting my breast squeezed in some plates seemed way over the top.

But, just like the thought of a deep dental cleaning, maybe I was psyching myself out for nothing. So, I made the appointment and spent a few days stressing over it. The morning of the appointment I almost canceled but, I was at the gym watching ‘Good Morning America’ and saw an interview with Rita Wilson who discussed her battle with cancer and thought, ok this is a sign. I have to go. So yesterday I went to the appointment. The breast presser person asked me when was my last period and I took out my phone to check my Flo app. It’s an application that tracks your period and ovulation and I saw that I was ovulating and freaked. Are my breasts going to be extra sensitive? I asked the breast presser and she said usually only when you are on your period. I breathed a sign of relief and braced myself. So when the squeezer started lowering down to my breast I felt my heart pounding and then the presser stopped. Is it broken? I wondered why I wasn’t pressing down hard, well, guess what, it’s only some slight pressure, it’s absolutely nothing. Why do I put myself through mental stress and work myself up? It made me frustrated to think I spent all that time worrying about the unknown, and I walked out with a whole new perspective on things.

Next time I go to the dentist, next time I go to the breast presser, next time I go to the gynecologist, next time I go to the dermatologist, next time I go to the general practitioner, I am going to chill. It’s not that big a deal and a weight has been lifted. Thank God!

The Mammogram

Erica Loberg

Erica Loberg was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She attended Columbia University in New York and graduated with a BA in English. She is a published poet and author of Inside the Insane, Screaming at the Void, What Men Should Know About Women, What Women Should Know About Men, Diamonds From The Rough , Undressed, and I'm Not Playing.

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APA Reference
Loberg, E. (2018). The Mammogram. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 15, 2020, from


Last updated: 4 Oct 2018
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