Cornerstone Client Relationship Manager, Stephanie Gerrits, FPQP®, recently talked to staff at Huron Regional Medical Center (HRMC) about their campaign to promote the importance of mammograms to women. A wife and proud mom to three amazing boys, she had her first mammogram at age 40 – a recommendation that all women don’t follow. She believes early detection through regular mammograms is a crucial part of self-care, saying, “I want to be in charge of my health so I can live my life to the fullest and be with my family.”
Her willingness to share her experience to benefit this crucial health advocacy campaign is a testament to Stephanie’s belief in the potentially life-saving health screening and her commitment to the community. And it brilliantly reflects Cornerstone’s core value, Invest In People, which drives us to build genuine connections and make a positive impact.
Here’s Stephanie’s Mammogram Story:
Q: Do you have any friends or family that have been affected by breast cancer?
Stephanie: Yes, including a few who have lost their battle. They have all been diagnosed at different stages of life – 20s, 40s, 60s and beyond. And several of them, like myself, have had no close family history of breast cancer.
Q: Why did you get a mammogram?
Stephanie: During my annual physical in 2022, shortly before I turned 40, my doctor recommended that I schedule my first annual mammogram. I wasn’t looking forward to it, so I kept putting it off. However, in June of 2022, I lost a classmate and friend to metastatic breast cancer. It hit me hard because she was a wife, a mother, and 40 years old just like me. Her passing, combined with close relationships with others who’ve battled this disease, pushed me to get an appointment scheduled.
Q: Was it hard to schedule or get an appointment?
Stephanie: For whatever reason, I felt awkward about calling to schedule an appointment. So, I used Huron Regional Medical Center’s online form to make my first mammography appointment (I’ve had two now.) I provided my information, chose appointment dates and times that would work with my schedule, and then they called me with available options that met my criteria. The day of the mammogram was just as easy, I simply checked in with Admissions and went back to the Radiology department. I would guess I didn’t have to wait more than 10 minutes either time I’ve had a mammogram.
Both times I have scheduled a mammogram I’ve been offered an appointment within two weeks of the scheduling phone call. They work with you to find a time that works best for your schedule. I was only gone from work for around 30 minutes for my appointments.
Q: Does having a mammogram hurt?
Stephanie: It isn’t the most comfortable experience, but it isn’t anywhere near as bad as I had imagined. I think that there are a lot of things that women do for the sake of beauty that are far more painful. It is just a little discomfort for the sake of your health once a year.
Q: What would you tell other women about getting a mammogram?
Stephanie: I wholeheartedly recommend getting a mammogram! The brief discomfort of a mammogram is significantly outweighed by the potential benefits of early detection. It can save lives! As moms, we often put everyone else’s needs before our own. But we need to do better, especially when it comes to our health. Making our health a priority gives us the power to be there for our loved ones.
Call HRMC at 605-353-6334 to schedule a mammogram. Or, visit https://www.huronregional.org/services/radiology-imaging/3d-mammography to learn more or access the online appointment request form.
Logan, Evan, and Dilan
Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse Huron Regional Medical Center. 2023.10.17 #312962