By Corby Winters, Winters Media & Publishing Inc.

So I walk through the door and the nurse quickly checks my chart. In a few moments I hear these words, “Mrs. Winters, don’t breathe, don’t move … NOW Breathe… DON’T BREATHE, DON’T MOVE.

And I’m thinking to myself, “really, how can I move?” It was my yearly mammogram and my breast is smashed in this machine. I’m not going anywhere.

I feel like I’ve heard that phrase, “don’t breathe, don’t move,” more than a million times now. Taking care of your health and being your best involves hearing those words many times over a woman’s lifetime.

One mammogram a few years back was, at first, like all the others. Twenty minutes of the “don’t move, don’t breathe” routine. After we finished, the nurse looked at me and said, “We will call you if anything seems out of the norm within two or three days.”

So I was shopping away in one of my favorite stores and having the best old time when I got a call.

“Mrs. Winters?”

“Yes.” I said.

“We need you to come back,” the nurse said. “We need to take a few more images.”

My knees went weak and I held back some tears.  I said to myself,  “do not freak out. Don’t overreact. It is probably nothing, but who knows, maybe not. It wasn’t nothing for many other women.”

As I headed to the hospital the second time around I wasn’t quite sure what to pray. But I prayed anyway. I prayed I was healthy. I prayed the doctors and nurses had great wisdom and discernment. Then I simply said “Lord whatever I face and whatever the tests show we face it together.”

There I was back for more images … don’t breathe, don’t move …  Don’t Breathe, Don’t Move …NOW Breathe, DON’T BREATHE, DON’T MOVE. Again, I am thinking,  “How could I breathe or move when my breast is flattened like a pancake and the pressure feels like a Mack truck?”

The pain can be rather intense so you couldn’t breathe or move if you wanted too. I have friends who all go together to get their yearly mammograms.  I have never done that, but I think it is a brilliant idea and why not finish off the day with a mani and a pedi!

Mammograms aren’t necessarily fun and they may not catch everything, but they are still an important part of breast health. And since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month,  I urge you to get your yearly mammogram and do your monthly breast exams.

I have many friends who are breast cancer survivors and many discovered their own cancer.  More than ten years ago, one of my dear friends who did just that was not even 40 years old when she had a double mastectomy and is alive and well. As for me, I feel grateful, they did not find anything in the second checkup nor since.

We live in amazing times, which includes huge advancements in medical research and specialized equipment. And we are blessed to have many of the top breast cancer centers right here in our community.

Now available is 3D imaging for breast exams. These machines require much fewer images and provide greater clarity. So needless to say you will hear “don’t breathe, don’t move” a whole lot less.

Getting your mammogram and yearly breast exam might just save your life. Don’t put it off because you’re too busy or you don’t think it is necessary, it is. Do it for your family. Do it for yourself.

Be blessed and encouraged.