Janelle's Blog

Mammograms Keep Saving my Life

The Beginning of My Journey

 “Mrs. Hail, I believe the lump in your breast may be malignant. You’ll need to come in for further testing.”

 Those were the dreaded words I heard from my doctor 28 years ago. How could I have breast cancer? No one in my family has had it, I thought. What I remember most vividly was the fear that griped me, like the tentacles of an octopus wrapping around my mind and squeezing off my breathing. Fear was my new reality. My youngest child was only three years old. My other two sons were ten and thirteen. How could they make it without me? Terrible thoughts like these raced through my mind.

 I slowly placed the phone on its cradle and sat down in disbelief. My journey had begun.

My Journey Continues

 Take a step into the present with me as I tell you about an experience I had last week. I was expecting a call from the nurse as a follow-up to my annual mammogram. As I walked down the hall at our NBCF headquarters to a meeting, my cell phone rang. I recognized the doctor’s phone number and quickly answered to go through the routine words I knew I would hear, “Your mammogram came out fine.”

 This time there was a hesitation in the nurse’s voice as she said, “Janelle, there’s an irregularity on your mammogram and the doctor wants you to come back for further testing.”

 “Should I be worried”?

 “You know how it is, Janelle. You’re in the business of mammograms. You know they won’t sign off on it unless they are sure everything is OK,” she said.

The same ugly fear came rising up to try to terrify me again. The physical sensations were the same – the thoughts, still bad.

I was able to get in for a sonogram the next day, which ended with good results. Sonograms can detect if there is a solid mass, that can be cancerous, or fluid-filled cysts from fibrocystic breast tissue.

Overcoming Fear

The instant we step into the unknown, everything in us wants to scream out, “I don’t want to be here!” Because we are women, we are vulnerable to having breast cancer. But, it would be emotionally unhealthy to walk around in fear of what could happen.

 There is upkeep on everything we own. The yard has to be mowed, the house has to be painted, even the car has to have an inspection sticker before we can renew our license tag. So, why do we postpone mammograms, something that can save our lives? A mammogram can detect a lump two years before it is detectable to the touch. Many women I meet say they were afraid of what they might find so they didn’t get a mammogram when it was due. It all goes back to fear. Fear of the unknown.

 No Fear Plan

Let’s set up mental roadblocks for fear. Here are some tips:

F- Find medical help as soon as you discover something different or unusual about your breasts, such as a nipple discharge, a dimpling of the tissue, a redness, or other symptoms. Go to our Symptoms section to learn more.

E-End bad attitudes, unhealthy thoughts, and stop imagining the worst things before you even know what you are dealing with.

A-Allow other people to put their arms around you and comfort you. Meet new friends on our MyNBCF online community. No one has to go through breast cancer alone. You are in a safe place at our NBCF website, where you can find hope and answers.

R-Run away from bitterness and anger. They fuel the fire of fear. While you are running, run toward God. He is the one who loves you and will help you as you call out to Him.

There is a limit as to what fear can do. The boundaries are placed around it by you.

Thought for Today:

“Fear can’t hold a candle to unswerving faith, much less muster up the guts to even attempt to blow it out.” – B.G. Jett

Live Life,


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