Last week I had an experience that shook me, angered me, and inspired me to write this blog. As much as I really didn’t want to share something so personal and knew it might invite criticism, I felt I had to. Because if we stay quiet nothing changes.
Spoiler Alert…This is not a blog about breast cancer or the pros and cons of mammograms. But that’s where it begins.
For a number of years, I received annual mammograms as women are encouraged to do. And I didn’t have a problem with them – despite the discomfort. In fact, I’m so grateful that for the most part in the U.S. we have access to the latest medical technology.
But as I became more knowledgeable about alternative and holistic medicine, I chose to forego mammograms and instead began using thermography. Once again, I’m not here to talk about the pros and cons and I know many of you will vehemently disagree with my decision. That’s fine.
We don’t have to agree to respect each other. But please hear me out.
So a recent thermography appointment revealed a spot on one of my breasts. There was no concern associated with it and I was told to return in a year. However, in speaking with my holistic practitioner about this he suggested exploring the option of having an ultrasound rather than a mammogram just to double check.
So I reached out to an imaging center, explained that I did not want to have a mammogram, and inquired as to whether I could have an ultrasound instead. They said yes and made the appointment.
When I arrived, the technician escorted me into a room with a mammography machine. I politely told her I was here for an ultrasound and she said she needed to ask me some questions. She then told me that their protocol is to do a mammogram first and then decide if an ultrasound is warranted. I replied that I did not want to have the mammogram. “So you’re refusing the mammogram?” she asked. “Yes,” I responded.
The technician then left to speak with the doctor. When she returned, she told me they had decided to go ahead with the ultrasound, but that they couldn’t issue a complete report without the mammogram. I was fine with that.
But something had shifted since I first arrived. No longer was there a sense of caring in her voice. Instead, a wall went up.
I was now viewed as a trouble-maker. I wasn’t playing by their rules. And they didn’t like it.
Now I can understand that they might be concerned from a liability standpoint. But I was more than happy to release them from any liability if they had requested it.
In any event, I’m taken to the ultrasound room where an equally cold female technician performs the exam barely speaking to me throughout. She then says she’ll be back, but I need to stay on the table as the doctor will want to perform the exam as well.
Now I’m starting to get a little nervous. Because anytime I’ve had an ultrasound in the past the doctor has not needed to come in and perform the exam again. So I’m starting to think something’s wrong. And if you’ve ever had a diagnostic test of any kind for what might potentially be a serious disease, you can relate to the fear in wondering if everything’s alright.
A few minutes later a male doctor walks in and introduces himself. He then proceeds to use his hand to perform a breast exam. He doesn’t ask permission. He doesn’t explain what he’s doing or why. He just helps himself while the female technician looks on. When he finishes, he proceeds to do the same ultrasound exam.
Once he’s finished, and while I’m still lying on the table, he launches into a lecture based on his 25 years of experience about why my decision to use thermography and refuse a mammogram is ill-informed. This despite the fact that he can find nothing wrong from the exam. (Thank-you, God!)
I said nothing as he spoke waiting for the nightmare to come to an end. Frankly, I’ve come to expect this type of reaction from the medical community.
But once I was in a vertical position and fully clothed the anger started to build…
What right did he have to touch my breast without asking me?
What right do they have to treat me like I’m an idiot?
Why am I not allowed to make decisions that affect MY body, My health, MY life?
And why didn’t I speak up during the exam?
Why? Because I was scared. I was afraid that something was wrong and I just wanted to know what was happening. His unprofessional and uncaring behavior was secondary to me at that moment.
And the fact that I was lying in a horizontal position, half-clothed, as he stood over me made it more difficult for me to “stand” in my power.
How often does this happen to women? We’re “put in our place” by an authority figure. We’re made to question our intelligence, convictions, and rights because we want to do things differently. And even worse, while other women stand by and watch it happen.
What will it take for each and every one of us to take back our inherent AWE-thentic Power?
To find our voice again and speak up for what we know is Our Truth?
To trust our gut, our intuition, even when nobody else agrees with us?
From the bedroom to the board room, from hospitals to universities, from Washington to London to Baghdad, it’s time!
It’s time sisters to re-claim Our Voice and begin using it to speak Our Truth while encouraging others to speak theirs. For our own evolution and the evolution of our planet.
To become heroines of our own lives and support women around the globe in becoming heroines of their own.
The feminine is rising and it’s time. Time for the feminine and masculine to come back into balance for the sake of our families, our communities, and our world. Let’s do this together!!
Be bold. Be daring. Be AWE-dacious!
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