Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Linda Martin

  • Chambersburg
  • Massage Therapist and Material Requirement Planning (MRP) Planner/Buyer
  • Family history of breast cancer

I wasn’t a sick person. I hated going to the doctor and filling out all the paperwork. But, I knew the importance of getting a mammogram. I was pretty faithful in getting them every year after I turned 40.

In 2009, I had heard that Rhonda Brake Shreiner Women’s Center didn’t require you to see your doctor before you could get your mammogram. So, you didn’t have to do more paperwork! That sounded good to me. You could just schedule your mammogram, make your own appointment and go in (as long as your insurance was okay with that too.)

Unfortunately, I couldn’t avoid the paperwork. That mammogram showed a lump that looked suspicious, so they called me and told me I needed an ultrasound. That would require me to go visit my doctor first.

I knew something wasn’t right – I just knew it. They performed the ultrasound and took a sample of tissue, and it was cancer.

For me, when I found out I had breast cancer, I needed to take some time with it. Everyone is different. I needed to pick my care team, but I just couldn’t do it right away. I needed a few days to digest this big, life-altering news. Laura Umbrell, the breast health patient navigator at Rhonda Brake Shreiner Women’s Center talked to me encouraged me to confront the situation. She said, ‘Linda, you can’t not do anything. Let’s start to fight this.’

Do you have advice for other women?

Mammograms save lives. Had I not gotten my mammogram, I might not be here today.

Women need to educate themselves. I know. Trust me. Until you are diagnosed with breast cancer, you don’t really pay attention to the stuff you see out there. But, you need to start paying attention and learning. It could save your life.

You also need to put all the excuses away and just do it. Some people talk about mammograms being painful. It might cause some discomfort for some, and none at all for others – but it only lasts a minute. What’s a minute in exchange for years?

Associated Service: