Stalling on Getting Another Mammogram

30 Jun

(I wrote this on April 16, 2013.  It’s now June 30th.  Clearly I’m stalling not only on getting a mammogram, but on sharing this with you all.)

Hi folks.  I decided it’s time to admit to you all (and me) that I have been stalling.  My last mammogram was January of 2012.  It’s now fifteen months later and I still haven’t gotten another one.  For the average woman, this would be just fine.  But I was diagnosed with early breast cancer (DCIS – ductal carcinoma in situ) during the summer of 2011.  General practice is to get six-month mammograms for a year or two after that to keep tabs on things.  I rejected that recommendation for reasons listed in a previous blog (concerns about radiation, etc.) however even I know that I’m kind of pushing the envelope here.  I was going to compromise and get a mammogram at ten months.  Then I pushed it back to one year.  And here I still haven’t had one.

Initially I tried to get one but found it too difficult.  I still don’t have health insurance and I was surprised to find that there weren’t any free or discounted mammograms available.  Or at least none that I could easily find.  Then I was caught up in caring for my parents, preparing for and leading a retreat, packing up and moving to Colorado, and I just didn’t feel I could put anything else on my plate.

I confess I am of two minds.  There is one part of me that is worried I might have cancer again.  I continue to second-guess myself about choosing not to follow the allopathic recommendations of my surgeon and the oncologists – ie, drugs and radiation.  I haven’t been as pure with my diet as I should be and I have gotten lax with taking the supplements that would help me.  (It’s kind of mind-boggling that I have let myself get so lax with the supplements.)

There is another part of me.  This is the positive-thinking, spiritual side of me.  (Some might call it a Pollyanna rose-colored glasses side.)  Although I may not be perfect in the care of my physical body, I have made great strides in the care of my emotional/mental/spiritual side.  I have made changes in my life that feel really good to my spirit.  I’ve moved to a place that makes me happy, I am doing work that I love, I have very little stress, and I am immersed in more spiritual practices than I have been for a long time.  I know of cases in which cancer has disappeared when the person began making much-needed changes and began living the life they always wanted to live.  There is a part of me that believes I am so on the right track now.  Haven’t I learned the lessons of cancer and embraced a new life for myself?

On the other hand, I worry that if I focus on cancer – ie, get a mammogram, I will be calling it to me.  As I write that last sentence I kind of cringe at how dumb that sounds.  Simply getting a mammogram does not exactly equate with “focusing on cancer.”  I’m quite sure the average person would say, “Just get the darn mammogram so you can set your mind at ease!”

I still have reservations about mammograms.  I still think they are unhealthy in many ways – not just the radiation, but the squishing of a breast that has already faced trauma multiple times.  It just doesn’t feel like a very respectful or safe way to treat an already injured breast with previous cancer cells.  (Why doesn’t someone invent another method???  Come on now!)

I realize if I get the darn mammogram and it looks clear, I don’t have to have these small niggling worries.  On the other hand, if it shows a possibility of cancer again, yikes.

I’m noticing I’m reluctant to share this post with my friends.  They’re going to get on my case and tell me to hop to it.  I know they are.

Well, I guess it’s time to be brave and ‘fess up.  I need a mammogram.

4 Responses to “Stalling on Getting Another Mammogram”

  1. starryeyedbeth September 17, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    I get your mindset completely. In a similar position. We all have our own path to healing and living your life as if you’re expecting cancer is detrimental to your mental health…and just no way to live!

    There is a breast MRI which is no radiation and considered more accurate. But they can all be scary. I’m dragging my feet on the breast MRI because my mental health has been taxed from all of this. I’d rather focus on my mental and spiritual and physical self and be the one in charge…not a machine.

    And DCIS is not early stage breast cancer. It’s potentially per-cancerous…there’s a difference.

    • cindygreb September 27, 2013 at 4:00 am #

      Hi. Thanks for your comments. A breast MRI sounds like a great solution, except for if you don’t have insurance or your insurance doesn’t cover it.
      DCIS used to be considered pre-cancerous. Now it’s considered Stage 0, meaning cancerous, but contained and very curable (assuming treatment regimes are followed.)
      Blessings to you. It’s all scary stuff. May you find peace.

  2. dp4peace April 26, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

    Hi Cindy, I just stumbled on your blog…we have some similar perspectives and I thought you and your reader may be interetsed in my blog ( and new website ( Lots of resources for anyone diagnosed with DCIS and especially for those looking for better, healthier, saner solutions for on-going surveillance and peace of mind. The medical system and standard of care currently in place is barbaric and harmful (from my personal experience)….and I believe it is up to us women to demand the necessary changes. I began refusing mammograms after my 3rd lumpectomy — and now I only do a dedicated breast MRI. Even if I had to pay out of pocket, this is what I would do….I would start a campaign and raise the $. It is the very best method (I believe) to know what’s truly going on in the breasts — without the high rates of false positive, false negative and over biopsying from calcifications which may appear on mammograms. My friend and co-founder of DCIS Redefined Sandie Walters and I have done extensive research over the past few years on this subject…and it is only a matter of time before things change. Thanks for openly sharing your views and being BRAVE enough to do so! You are a true hero for many women who need to question and investigate the current system and discover true breast health and well-being! Blessings to you and all your readers! 🙂 Donna Pinto PS: you can find my story here:

    • cindygreb April 28, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

      Hi Donna! I applaud you for your efforts! And thanks for educating me/us about the dedicated breast MRI. Thanks for questioning the establishment. Thanks for writing your own story! Be well! Continued blessings to you.

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