Mind Your Own Mammogram

Andrea Freedman

Recently, while attending a social gathering, I spent some time chatting with a group of five or six other women. Everyone was getting along fine until one of the women began badgering a friend of hers who was also sitting with the group about whether or not she had booked a certain medical procedure.

As I noticed the other woman become visibly upset and from bits and pieces of what I heard of where the conversation was going, it was clear that this was not the first time that this poor lady had been harassed by her friend to get an unpleasant, personal health-related test.

I decided to excuse myself, not wanting to get involved in a conversation of this nature with people I really did not know that well and I certainly did not want to fall prey to the relentlessness of the woman who had started the whole thing.

As far as I am concerned, some things are private. Perhaps some people do not care to discuss what happens between them and their physicians or for that matter, their bodies. It is bad enough when someone makes it his or her mission to get someone else to have something like, let’s say, a colonoscopy, but I found it even more appalling that anyone would be cornered about this topic in a group setting.

Personally, I think some people are a little too gung-ho about getting overly frequent mammograms, colonoscopies, prostate screenings and other such delicate and let’s face it, sometimes embarrassing medical screenings. They can hardly wait until they turn a certain age so they can immediately book one doctor’s appointment after another and undergo invasive tests and disgusting preparation and after-effects often involved with them. I have even known some people who use their first big medical test as a gateway to thinking they need to be tested for everything else under the sun that one could think of being tested for. It is one thing to be diligent about one’s health but, just like with anything else in life, there is such a thing as going overboard. Having said that, whatever other people do is their business, as long as they don’t use it as a platform to preach to others.

While friends and family may mean well when they strongly suggest that others tend to their health, and while I am not suggesting that keeping on top of one’s health is a bad idea, it is up to an individual if and when he or she is ready to do whatever that might mean. Furthermore, I do not think anyone is obligated to provide their personal information to others.

Nagging will not help – in fact it may do completely the opposite. Actually, if it were me that had been the subject of the interrogation that evening, I think I – I who gets irritated when someone even bugs me to get a flu shot – would have been so angry I might have actually left the get-together.

In my opinion, some things are not necessary to discuss in a group setting. I am also just as happy not knowing the details about others when it comes to certain things; I find it fascinating that anyone would think it was okay to bud into someone else’s business in this way, and at a party no less.

Our bodies and what goes on with them are our own business. If someone tells another person that they think he or she should do something, all in the name of concern, one or perhaps two times tops, and especially if they get a sense that it might be getting on that person’s nerves, it is time to stop and wish the person you are giving advice to all the best.

On the other hand, if you are on the receiving end and feel that you are ever pestered about your personal business, try tactfully thanking the person for his or her advice but that you will take it from there. If that doesn’t work, there is always call display and cancelled plans until the person finally decides to either take the hint or take their own advice and shove it – and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you where.♠

Copyright © by Andrea Freedman 2014


About andfreed

I am a Toronto based writer of articles, columns, essays and novels.

Posted on February 13, 2014, in Weekly Thoughts and Observations and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. You are absolutely correct about friends coming on too strong. I think there comes a time in a person’s life when they have to take matters into their own hands (or mouths) and let whoever is giving the advice know that it will be taken care of in due time and not to worry themselves about it. They could be absolutely correct, but we are adults, and know when it is the correct time for us to seek appropriate advice from one’s doctor.


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