First Timer...Needs Support

anna_in_quebecOctober 23, 2007

Hi there...I have just turned 49, and haven't had a period since last December, so it seems "it" is just around the corner, or is it? I am going for my first annual in two weeks. I am sooo not a doctor person, only going when I need my asthma meds renewed. So, I am ashamed to admit, I haven't had blood tests before - terrified of those - needles. Terrified of the "down under" exam...etc etc. I am thinking of skipping the mammogram for now as I have heard so many contradictory things about it - basically I am afraid of the pain, and worry about all that radiation. There are a lot of things wrong with that test, and it is unreliable. But, I am also afraid of the unknown, and wondering what might be wrong, hence my ground-breaking decision to "volunteer" for a check-up.

I have been tying myself up in knots worrying worrying (but as the saying goes: "worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but gets you nowhere"). For a few months now, I have had vague "feelings" in the right pelvic area (I really can't call it pain), and lower back pain (the latter I have been attributing to a very bad mattress which is soon to be replaced), but now wondering if it may be related. I have also had a change in the bowels activity, although I have had "bad bowels" since I was a child, always prone to diarrhea. You see, I have a habit of rationalizing things and also googling symptoms for everything from cervical cancer to bowel cancer etc.!

I have read many of the posts here - you all seem so helpful. So, help - I am afraid, and worried! Where's that rocking chair!


PS - I don't have children - just cats!

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Lets start with the blood work. They make a salve that gones on the arm (it has to sit for 20 mins) to numb the area. You should not feel a thing. Call them ahead of time so they will have it for you.

I took a pain pill the first time I had a mammogram (I was 30 ) fibroid cysts.But I was a real baby. It wasnt bad at all and have had one every year since then , I am 53..without pain pills.

STOP GOOGLING. ,I just about drove myself nuts doing that with every symptom! If you have to change drs. a few times before someone listens to you, then do it. We are all on your side. You are right about worrying, especially when you dont know what to worry about. Worrying is the interest paid on a debt that isnt even do yet! Shotzy

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 7:48PM
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As for mammograms, they are what I call uncomfortable, but not painful. It's just that they maximize viewing area of the breast tissue by "smushing" the breast in the xray machine. It's really not that bad.

A gyn exam is not what I would call fun, but keep in mind that a gyn and his/her nurse do them ALL the time, and have seen it all before. It's very impersonal and almost mechanical, and is not painful. You don't hardly feel it when they do a scraping or swab for a lab sample. The worst part is when the doctor palpates to feel your ovaries, but it doesn't cause pain unless there is something really wrong, in which case you would want to know what is wrong. Labwork is not fun because the lab techs who draw your blood have usually been doing this for so long that it becomes routine and they become kind of mechanical with their technique, not paying attention to what they are doing. Some of them are really good at it as far as causing minimal discomfort, but it's a short process and easy to get over.

I have occasional ovary area pain, but I figure it's just my ovaries in their death throes, lol. Just go ahead and go get it over with. If this is the most discomfort or pain you have ever had in your life, you are a very fortunate woman :) Good Luck!
Mrs H

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 7:03PM
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Thanks very much Mrs H and Shotzy - your words and advice are very helpful. I really do appreciate it. - Anna

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 2:07PM
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Hello Anna,

Yes, please get your gyn exam done every year. It is just something that women must do. If you should develop a cancer it will hopefully be caught in the early stages when it is most treatable. I do prefer a female doctor so make sure you have a doctor that you are comfortable with.

A pap and a mammogram are not things that most women look forward to, but it's over in a few minutes. If we didn't have to undress it would be even faster!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 11:17AM
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Exactly what hgtvme said -- It's over in a few minutes. All the worrying takes much, much more time! I always tell myself that I am doing myself a favor and treating myself well by getting these tests done. Sure, it doesn't exactly feel like a spa visit, but the idea is the same -- taking care of the body.

For those of you that are bothered by the discomfit of mammograms, take heart. I have been getting mammograms for 20 years. I'm 65. The older you get, the less uncomfortable they are, one of the perks of unperky breasts!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 2:49AM
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