Thursday, November 16, 2023

Mammograms! Get 'em. They're on your side.

Recently I went for my annual Mammogram.  A few days later I received a call that I needed 'additional screenings.'  The news hit me with quite a shock.   A letter came saying there was an  'architectural distortion'; a term which describes a distorted shape or pattern visible on a mammogram, but a distinct mass is not seen. It may represent a benign condition or possible breast cancer.  Sigh. Of course, I wanted to have my re-screens done the very same day, but instead, I had to wait ten days for an appointment.

I began this collage during the first waiting period.  I typically create an 'avatar' of myself when collages are about or represent me; adding my distinctive curly hair, perhaps my crow feather & spiral tattoo, etc. The figure began rather dark, but then I stumbled upon the first pink flower, which I added to the dark dress.  As time went on, the pink flowers grew and the tenor change.  

It turned out that I did indeed have a tumor; just 7 millimeters and low-level as they grade these things, but it would require surgery.  So 7 mm was added to my avatar.  I had a similar situation 20 years ago, so the star on the left arrow marks the previous success. The questioning symbols on the right, were added while I waited for the pathology report.

All this waiting time gave me a great opportunity to get myself 'aligned' to the next steps that would be required of me and it was a great support to have art as my expression and distraction to move away from fear.

7 Millimeters - Mammogram collage series

I did have surgery, a lumpectomy, in which a 5 centimeter area was removed and a lymph node.  Everything was contained, no cells in the lymph node and I am recovering well.  As of now, it seems I will also have radiation therapy, so the red poppies came into play, representing the fire/heat of radiation.


5 Centimeters - Mammogram collage series

I shared my first collage with a few people and my friend Donna sent me a collection of paper flowers, which inspired me to use them to create this embellished mat with the two collages together.

The Mammogram Series with embellished mat

As scary as the words' breast cancer' are, finding something in its earliest, smallest stage is the gift of the mammogram.  Get 'em.  They're on your side.

Till next time.