I work at Blessing so you would think it would be easy for me to pop in the Breast Center and have my annual mammogram. But even though I have an office and regular meetings just feet from a mammogram room, I was a little overdue.
Life gets busy. At work, we have responsibilities that fill up our days and then some. As soon as we can, we rush to be at our children’s game, help with our friends and fulfill our family obligations. Before we know it, days turn into weeks and weeks into months and, for some, even years. We put ourselves, our health on the backburner. Even I am guilty.
In my 17 years working in the Blessing Breast Center, one of the most effective ways to get women in on time, each year for their annual mammogram is friendship. We see it time and time again, women scheduling their appointments together and holding each other accountable.
Rae Rees and Barb Frese are an inspiring example. In fact, their friendship started at the Blessing Breast Center in 2006. They each came in on their own, had their mammograms and went on their separate ways only sharing a polite smile in our waiting room.
However, their paths crossed again when they were both called back for additionally imaging. When Rae and Barb returned and saw each other back again they immediately recognized one another. Upon introducing themselves they realized they not only were they both back for the same reason, they were both scared. They kept each other company as they waited for their appointments and their results; even seeking me and a colleague out to find reassurance.
Thankfully, Barb and Rae’s additional images came back clear. But the comfort they found in going through that nerve-wracking wait with each other made an impression. They exchanged contact information and promised to always be there for one another at their annual appointments. Since that year, Barb has made appointments for the two of them and they make it something to look forward to with a lunch immediately after. They call each other “Bosom Buddies.”
I love their story. It is one of the most touching examples of friendship I have ever heard. They were frightened when they had to come back, and instead of allowing that fear to swallow them, they reached out to one another. They stepped out of the fears running through their own heads and saw a light in one another and they haven’t let that light dim since.
Rae and Barb are an example for all of us to remind those we care about to take time to care for themselves. When I finished my annual appointment I started popping in to my colleagues offices and reminding them how easy it is to have your mammogram. I realized they are my “bosom buddies.” I wanted to tell more people, though. And, that urge gave me an idea to make reminding friends and loved ones easy for our mammography patients.
Starting October 1 when you come into the breast center, we’ll have a selection of fun and heartfelt postcards that woman can pick out and write messages to encourage those they care about to make their mammogram appointment. We’ll even mail them for you.
We know early detection is our best protection, and everyone wants to protect their “bosom buddies” near and far.
Lori Wilkey is the Director of the Blessing Breast Center, Diagnostic Center and the Blessing Cancer Center at Blessing Hospital.
Mammogram Appointment Postcards