Rescheduling My Annual Mammo. . . Why Does It Feel Like I Committed a Crime?

Life After Cancer — By on April 9, 2010 at 1:23 pm

As 2009 drew to a close my boob started to hurt. It happens like clockwork each year as my annual mammo draws near. It was scheduled for March 2. That and a followup visit with my breast surgeon.

In an effort to put myself first and explore new creative interests I came upon a flyer for a painting class at my local arts council. I have always wanted to learn to paint. I am a creative person. Being creative helps ground me and deal with fear. At times fear seems to be my daily companion. The painting class certainly peaked my interest. And then I saw the date of the first class. It was of course the date of my annual mammo. Now when I make these followup appointments it is 6 months ahead of time as I leave another appointment. Who knows where you will be in 6 months. I was pretty bummed. Then I had a thought. . . Why don’t I just reschedule? Seemed simple enough at the time. Until I called and found out that I would have to wait 6 months to get one. I have to say that I was shocked the wait was that long.

What did I do? Well, since it had been over 8 years of remission for me without missing one single followup test or appointment I decided to give myself a break so that I could take the art class. I figured that 6 months would not make or break me and the art would help heal me.

I have to say though that I felt as though I committed a crime. That I somehow broke the unspoken rules. I hate feeling this way. I can’t live my life in between medical appointments as if that is the only way I will feel ok. It is a hard habit to break. It is the fear that hangs over my head all the time. . .

Have you ever rescheduled a followup test? Ever felt guilty or scared about it? How do you handle your post cancer checkups?

Cathy Bueti is the author of Breastless in the City. Visit her at

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