Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's that time of the year again/Public service announcement

Well, for me anyway. Today I went for the exam dreaded by women the world over.

That's right, the mammogram.

[Let me quickly inject here that this test, really a simple x-ray, must have been designed by a man going through an ugly divorce with his wife. Really. It's that barbaric.]

In America, I'd go to this test with my friend Sarah. It had become an annual ritual for us to see "Lucy" (the radiologist's name) together. Sarah, I wish you could have accompanied me this time too!

Here in Israel they don't start doing annual mammograms until the age of 50. No way, I thought. In the US I believe it's recommended to start having the annual test at age 40. (I started having them earlier than most women due to my medical history). I obtained the referral from my primary physician ages ago, but neglected to make the appointment. One thing Aliyah has done to me is make a me a terrible procrastinator. Anything I can leave for tomorrow, I do, and it takes me months to make appointments and the like. When I finally made the call in July, the first available appointment was for today! Which was fine with me.

In truth, I'm posting about this as a public service to women in Israel (or those of you who intend to one day live here). I went to a facility called Machon Hala (I searched but could not find a link). This was a clinic to rival any top clinic in the United States. Professional, kind, efficient and I even got a cover-up so I wouldn't have to sit in the altogether while waiting for the doctor to come. I was told that the wait would very long, and to bring a book and some food. (It wasn't bad at all). First I had the mammogram, then the doctor came in and performed a breast exam and did an ultra-sound. He discussed the results with me immediately and made his recommendations on the spot (Thank G-d results were all negative, and I am to return in a year).

And the best part was not an agura left my hand: this is completely covered by my kupah (health insurance). [Actually, that's not true; the best part was hearing the results].

HAVE YOUR ANNUAL MAMMOGRAM!

If you live in Israel, do it at Machon Hala--you deserve this high level of care. The clinic is located in Givat Shaul, Jerusalem. You can reach them at (02)-659-5533.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

that was a very thorough exam, over here you get only the mamo and get the results in the mail a few days later.
FYI I recently heard that breast cancer is more prevelant in Ashkenazic women.
i am glad you finally went and the results were negative.
sz

SuperRaizy said...

What a coincidence-
I'm having my first one in two weeks.
Glad to hear that it hurts so much.

rutimizrachi said...

Baila, post your last paragraph on Israel Easy: http://israeleasy.blogspot.com/. It is a great site for exactly this kind of helpful "living in Israel" tip.

I was impressed with one difference in particular: In the States, when your x-ray is inconclusive, you get a call or a letter saying as much, and that you must schedule a follow-up. You then have to wait, agonizingly, for the appointment. This is followed by another angst-ridden wait to hear the results. In Israel, they read the results immediately; and if there is a question, you are asked to stick around for additional testing. You get an ultrasound and a physician's exam... and the results before you leave the building! Also, in the States, you have to shlep around gigantic x-ray films. Here, you are handed a computer disc in an envelope. Nice to be able to say that some things are MORE efficient than in the US. :-)

Leora said...

Glad to hear that it hurts so much
Huh? Raizy, it doesn't hurt that much! Just a little annoying.

Now, consider a colonoscopy. That one takes a whole bunch of prep...makes the mammogram seem like a cinch. They are getting closer to finding new methods to replace colonoscopies. Meanwhile, they are important exams.

ilanadavita said...

I had the first one a couple of months ago but normally the"normal" age in France is also 50.

A Living Nadneyda said...

I've been to Hala a few times, for ultrasounds, mammogram and biopsies. Thank G-d, everything has always been fine, although there were definitely some moments of worry until the test results came in.

I agree with your assessment: On every visit, the staff was courteous and professional and did their best to create a calming environment. The physicians are knowledgeable and communicative. It goes a long way toward making an unpleasant experience, as pleasant as possible.

I'm glad your results came out fine.

Baila said...

Girlfriends,

I'm glad to hear everyone is on top of this. Unfortunately we all know people who have fought or a fighting this dreaded disease. Raizy, it does hurt, but it's literally only a few seconds and completely worth it. And Leora, sure there are alot worse, more invasive tests.

May all our test results be NEGATIVE, NEGATIVE, NEGATIVE for as long as we have to have them, AMEN!

Fairion said...

Thank you for this announcement. My mother is currently fighting a losing battle to breast cancer because she missed two years in a row. I don't want anyone else to have to do that.

Asher said...

follow this link

http://www.clalit.co.il/clalitsystem/medserv/zoomclinic.asp?id=980103&md=&st=1&md_t=&noHeader=0&noFooter=0&noButtons=1

Asher

westbankmama said...

I heard that in Israel they don't recommend testing until age 50 because there are so many false-positives before that age.(good excuse for me to wait a few more years....)

Anonymous said...

I am 37 and going to Machon Hala in one week. Having gone through menopause at 21 and having a family history my kupah (clalit) didn't fuss at all about making sure I had my follow-up. I had my first at 35 and it was such a horrible experience. I left with a paper saying "there is something but it is probably benign" PROBABLY? I went ballistic and cried and cried until my prime doc told me not to worry.

I have heard Machon hala is a really special place...suppose I will find out soon enough!