It is now October 8th and the schedules are packed for the rest of the month. Some of you will be doing mammograms on evenings and weekends to in an attempt to “accommodate” all that want appointments in October and some of you will be doing the Breast Cancer Awareness Mammograms well into November to pick up those who could not get in. These are the days that are jammed with screening mammograms; not an open slot in sight. Implants, Invalids, Scoliosis and Scooters, they are all here for their 10-15 minute (sometimes less) appointments which often require extra time. Other patients wait and get anxious about waiting. Some complain, but most, gratefully, wait their turn.

You arrived early today, after weeks of planning, in high gear making sure the giveaways and/or freebies are neatly packed and set out. Others come in early to decorate the department with ribbons, streamers (not to be confused with “screamers”) and balloons. Oh my, how to think of something different each year for the giveaways and the décor!! How about hanging a giant a pink ribbon on the front of the building??? That was my crazy idea one year until I realized that this would involve renting a giant crane to hang it. Apparently, me throwing the whole thing off the top of the roof (and hoping it would miraculously land in a ribbon shape) was not acceptable to the “authorities.” Oh well! I would run to the balloon store and buy every breast cancer awareness balloon (or just pink balloons!) they had and hope they didn’t fizzle by the end of the month and if they did, we would just tape them to the wall. It was no surprise that after just 10 days most of the balloons stuck to the wall were a premonition of those patients’ breasts we were yet to see!

Oh and don’t forget the homemade cookies and treats that several of you stayed up late last night (after dinner and soccer practice) to bake to make sure your patients have something special this morning/all week/all month. By the end of the month, you are so tired you will be stopping at the grocery store or local bakery to pick up anything edible (day old, anyone?) but hey, it’s a treat for our patients! I can’t tell you how many times I have seen patients leave with their purses full of free graham crackers even when Breast Cancer Awareness month had long come and gone. Never mind the fact that you are spending your own time and money to make your patients feel special, especially this month.

I hope all our patients realize how much you care, but they often don’t. They grab their goodies, tell us how much they hate mammograms and ask us (at least 100 times per day) “Is this all you do all day long?” But, you still show up with a smile on your face and take on the task of imaging all shapes, sizes, and demeanors. “No problem!” We tell the patient with AAA or ZZZ breasts. “We do all sizes and shapes!”…”EOBS” (Equal Opportunity “Breast Squishers”J). But then there are those who smile when you are done and say, “Thank you for what you do.” Ahhh, you do make a difference! Remember how valuable your role is in this life saving endeavor. Even if you don’t hear it often enough, please hear it now from a technologist/patient whose breast cancer was found on a mammogram. I thank you all for your dedication, passion and perseverance. Keep hanging in there! There are only 23 days to go!

Happy Breast Cancer Awareness Month to you all!

Louise Miller

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