Today, I will make the annual trip to the gynecologist's office. And likely get scheduled for my first mammogram. It isn't something I am looking forward to, but for the health of my body, and the sake of me and my kids (and Timmy), I'll do it.
Imagine my surprise yesterday when I told a neighbor and friend that I had my annual appointment booked for today. She looked at me like I was crazy and sheepishly admitted that she did not visit the gynecologist each year. That the only times she visited a gynecologist's office were when she was pregnant and had to see the OB. That the first time had been with her first pregnancy and the last time, with her last pregnancy, six years ago.
It was my turn to look shocked.
I wanted to say, there is a reason we have pelvic exams, Pap smears, breast exams, and mammograms. I wanted to say that she was being irresponsible, not only for herself, but for her family. I wanted to say that her behavior would be mimicked, most likely, by her girls. I wanted to say so many things, all of which, I knew, would be met with excuses.
So I didn't. Instead, I said that I wasn't one to judge, but that I thought getting an annual exam (where not all of the above are even given anymore, i.e. Pap smears are recommended every 2-3 years depending on the age of the woman) was very important. I'd always done it, and I always will.
And I hope that it's enough. Had it been a student, I would have tried harder to sell the annual exam. Had it been a family member, you can bet I'd go to bat. Had she even asked my opinion, I'd have tried to pull out some long ago learned facts that might have persuaded her to behave differently. But sometimes, you just have to move on and hope for the best.
I hope for her sake, that she doesn't regret the decision she's made not to get an annual exam.