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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Mammogram Morning....

Mammogram Morning

I talked rapidly as my doctor looked over my chart, hoping that he would not notice that Iíd not had a mammogram in two years.

"How long since you had a mammogram?" he asked. I had to admit to the truth since he had it right there in front of him anyhow.

"The nurse will make you an appointment," said the doctor, knowing Iíd probably never get around to it.

"Do you perform monthly self exams?" he asked. It seems you canít just go to the doctor any more and get a checkup. They always find something else that needs testing or checking, so you have to go back.

I arrived at the womenís clinic on the appointed morning feeling a bit like a watermelon before a Gallagher performance.

"I donít have you down for today," said the receptionist. Oh, good, maybe I can get out of this after all. "But we will work you in," she continued. Just my luck. I donít know how I got mixed up about the day. Selective memory, I suppose.

I filled out the mountain of paperwork that they required, answering all the highly personal questions again, even though I had been to this clinic before, and even though I was there only two weeks prior to this. Why they need to know how old I was when I had my first child, or whether Iím allergic to latex Iím still trying to figure out.

Anyhow, they finally called my name and I went in the little dressing room and put on the little cape, in preparation for my grand entrance. Iím sure I looked smashing in the latest designer medical attire.

"No history and no specific problems? Just a routine exam?"

Yes, I nodded dumbly, wondering why I just filled out all that paperwork since apparently nobody looked at it anyhow.

As I went into the room with the torture machine, my brain told my body to run away, out through the waiting room, past the other grim-faced women, and out the front door screaming, with my cape flying in the wind. But all I did was bravely step up to the machine and wait for Nurse Gallagher to perform her sadistic duties.

What man invented the mammogram machine anyhow? It had to be a man. No woman would ever invent a machine that feels so much like medical malpractice. No, I donít want to have cancer, and I know about all the women whose lives have been save by a simple mammogram. So why am I afraid?

"Do you perform monthly self-breast exams?" asked Nurse Gallagher, as if I could think of anything other than being smashed with a giant mallet.

This will only take a few minutes, " she promised, as the machine hummed and I held my breath, waiting to pass out.

At last the ordeal was over and I gratefully returned to the dressing room to check out the damage.

"We will call if there is a problem," said the receptionist. "Your doctor will have the results by tomorrow."

So, Iíll return to my normal routine, feeling a bit black and blue in unspecified places, but otherwise none the worst for my ordeal. But not every woman will. Of the eight women in the waiting room, statistics say one of us will have breast cancer at some time in her life. This year, 39,800 women will die of this disease.

As I strolled smugly out the door, I was very pleased with myself for taking care of my health. I felt a slight twinge of pity for the women in the waiting room diligently recording the history of their life, which will most likely never be read.

Now that it is all over, I canít imagine why anyone would feel embarrassed or afraid.


Copyright 2001 Sheila Moss


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Getting routine mammograms will help ensure that you are safe from breast cancer. Knowing breast cancer symptoms will help between check-ups. Learning about the stages of breast cancer will not only be informative but helpful in your own quest to be free from breast cancer. Wear a breast cancer ribbon as a daily reminder to self-check and see your doctor.

Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN  37219


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