In 2008 I had breast cancer at the ripe age of 33, and now every year I choose to have both a mammogram and ultrasound as part of my overall breast care program.
Over the past couple of years I have become more aware of how I am as I go into having my mammograms. I realized that for the first few years, I would pretty much check out so as to not to feel what was really taking place – which is that your breasts are being squished several times uncomfortably between two glass plates!
For the women who have experienced a mammogram, they will most likely confirm that it isn’t particularly pleasant – not quite as fun as having cups of tea with the girls! The room is a little chilly and you are asked to stand there exposing your breasts as the medical staff handle and place them on the machine between glass plates, that put them into a shape that I didn’t know was possible, as the x-rays are taken.
So another year had passed and today was the day for my annual scans. Today I made the firm decision that I was not going to check out this time but instead, remain super aware, present, joyful, gentle and take all of these qualities of me into having my scan.
I have had a tendency to walk into having the mammograms a little sheepishly – feeling what was to come, which is discomfort and the embarrassment of standing there in front of the radiographer baring my breasts. Standing there exposed, my body would respond by the rolling in of my shoulders to try and conceal my breasts (which is pretty much impossible given that you are standing there in front of them naked from the waist up) and I would feel myself inwardly shrink.
Today I decided to focus on staying super-connected and gentle with myself as I entered the room.
I was soon greeted by a trainee along with her supervisor in tow informing me that she would be doing my mammogram as part of her training. My initial thought was “oh no, I have the newbie, which could mean more pain and discomfort because she doesn’t know what she is doing”. But I soon let that go and surrendered with the process that was unfolding before me.
I stayed present and gentle with my body as I undressed and stood there in front of the ladies. I held my connection to me by staying with my body and breath as the trainee went through the usual procedure of placing my breasts on the glass slides and putting me in different positions as numerous x-rays were taken.
She was warm, caring and honouring of what I was feeling. She kept talking to me letting me know what she was doing and how I could assist her in the process.
At the end of the procedure I felt to let her know just how awesome she had been. I shared with her how different it felt when she pushed the buttons slowly and gently as the glass slides came down over my breasts and how her caring nature also helped to lessen the pain. I expressed to her at how great she was at her job and to keep up the communication and love that she was offering women as it makes a huge difference to the experience of having a mammogram.
She was taken by surprise with what I had said. She had a huge grin on her face and thanked me for saying that as no woman had ever given her any feedback or said anything to her before.
This experience led me to ponder just how much we hold back as women when there is so much to be shared and that this holding back doesn’t support or evolve anyone.
I know that the sharing I offered this young lady today would stay with her well into her career and the confirmation offered to her of the amazing job she was doing by truly caring, would be the gift that she would continue to give to many more women to come.
I also clocked on this day just how far I had come in my own self-nurturing since having breast cancer. Each year when I have my annual scans I have an opportunity to feel how I have raised the bar in the level of love that I am now accepting within myself.
I realized that I was only able to express the appreciation and confirmation to this young lady that I did, because of the tenderness, connection and care that I have been consistently offering myself. The level of care she gave to me was a clear reflection of these qualities I have been nurturing in myself and therefore was a beautiful confirmation for me too.
The love and deep care that I have developed for myself has been with the support from Esoteric Women’s Health presentations and through the Esoteric Healing modalities, in particular the Esoteric Breast Massage. I have learnt to listen carefully to my body and respond to its needs rather than pushing through my to do list. A couple of simple examples of this are that I quite often give myself a 15-minute lie down rest within the day where I come to being still and connect with my body, and that I now eat in accordance to how my body is feeling rather than eating from habit or to numb myself.
When we choose to honour the preciousness that we are as women and fully walk this, it is a powerful reflection to others in that they too have the choice to embrace these qualities for themselves. It is through our reflection that we offer each other evolution and therefore we hold a responsibility to not hold back.
By Donna Gianniotis, Age 41, Yoga, Universal Medicine Therapies Practitioner, Admin and Marketing but most importantly – a woman, Sydney, Australia
More Inspiration for you:
Women in Livingness Magazine – Edition 1 Breast Care – real women, real life, real inspiration.
Breast Screening with Mammograms – much needed but is there a more nurturing way? Jane Keep shares her experience and realisations.