I got a rose today!

March 26, 2008 at 10:30 pm | Posted in Flowers | 5 Comments

Isn’t it pretty? Do you want to know more?

I would love to be able to tell you that the flower was a gift from a special man, but that isn’t where it came from. As a matter of fact, it didn’t come from a man at all. For that matter, it technically didn’t even come from a person.

Today I had my second-ever mammogram. I’m 99.999999% sure I’ve never blogged about the fact that my mother is a two time survivor of breast cancer. She’s been really lucky with the types of cancer she has had and the way the tumors were discovered. The first tumor was discovered during a routine mammogram (which I had nagged her to get for a few years). It was so small that even the surgeon was unable to palpate it, so it probably would have been a while before she noticed it during a breast self-exam. She had surgery and radiation and went on to follow-up care. The second tumor was found during a follow-up mammogram six months after she finished radiation therapy. It was in the other breast and was a different type of cancer than the first. I know it sounds strange, but this was actually good news. Because it was a different type, the first cancer hadn’t spread/recurred. Even better, the second tumor was a less invasive type that is often first discovered on autopsy of women who died of other causes. This meant that after the lumpectomy she didn’t have to have any follow-up treatment.

My mom was 64 when the first tumor was found. We have no other family history of breast cancer and yet . . . I couldn’t help but wonder about my own risk. My primary care physician wrote a prescription and at the ripe old age of 32 I had my first ever mammogram. It was an interesting experience. I talked to a number of people ahead of time about what to expect- including a friend who has a significant family history and had been getting annual mammograms since her mid-20’s. I know everyone says it hurts, but the mammogram itself wasn’t bad. A little pinch for a few seconds on each image, nothing more.

I moved, got wrapped up in life, and didn’t follow up with another mammogram for several years. Until today. I’m glad I went and had it done. After the mammogram was over and I was headed to my dressing room, the technician pointed to a bucket of plastic wrapped roses and told me that I could take one. Each rose was individually wrapped and had one of the plastic water bottles inside to keep it fresh. I loved the bicolor of this rose and gravitated toward it immediately. There was a card attached to it that had the information for the florist the roses come from on one side (oddly enough the florist I use) and a reminder about scheduling the next mammogram including the hospitals contact information on the other side. I think this was a really cool idea. I brought the rose into work after the mammogram and it instigated several conversations about mammograms. I don’t know if part of the idea behind giving out the roses is to encourage people to talk about mammograms, but that’s what happened with me. Heck, I’m even writing about them now!

Like I said before, my mom’s first tumor was discovered during a routine mammogram I had bugged her to get for several years! If you are a woman, find out what your insurance covers and have a mammogram as soon as you can. Be diligent about your follow-ups. I also encourage all of you to get the women in your life to follow through with annual mammograms. Nag them if you have to. Trust me, it’s worth any grief you might get in return.



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  1. I wish everyone would read your account! What a wonderful idea to give a rose with info on it. What a wonderful idea to take that rose to work and instigate conversations about it. What a wonderful idea to blog about it, where so many people will see it and, hopefully,be inspired to follow in your footsteps. Whatever pain is involved in the mammogram pales in comparison to the pain of breast cancer.
    I have a photo of advanced breast cancer, ignored by the woman even after it had eaten through the skin. She just didn’t want to hear someone tell her that it was cancer. Wake up, Women, and be in control!!

  2. Ewwww…a picture????

    Sad, sad, sad case. With a rack like mine I should heed your advice!

  3. I’m late to reading this post, but I really love your story and it’s so similar to my own experience. I shall blog about it. That is a beautiful rose and I love that the florist you use is involved, that’s good business to me.

  4. Wow, what a neat idea! I’d love to see it applied in even more ways to help people become aware and stay reminded of important issues. Lo and behold, flowers have even one more use.

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