It can be hard sometimes when you walk into an empty place with bare walls and cold floors to imagine what it could be. How could this stark space ever become a warm and inviting center where women can relax and feel cared for?
And yet, it happens. It’s been my great joy to watch the process. Soft colors on the walls, carpeting on the floors, elegant fixtures, and beautiful artwork set the stage. Add comfortable chairs and we’re almost there. Stock the cupboards with cozy robes and hang pretty beaded chains on the keys to the private dressing rooms. Set up the aromatherapy, and turn on the soothing music. But we’re not ready yet.
All of this really comes together when we bring in the right people. Mammo techs and patient services staff who are eager to make you comfortable and provide you with the best care possible. They are the ones who will be offering a heartfelt greeting when you come in. They are the ones who will guide you through the process, answer all of your questions and make you feel enthusiastic about coming back every year for an exam that can save your life.
All of this is for the simple reason that we want to provide a place that makes women want to do what they know they should – get a breast cancer screening exam once a year starting at age 40. We know it’s important and yet some of us feel too busy taking care of everyone else, or we’re nervous about it, or we’ve had a bad experience in the past, and so it gets put off.
I’m glad I didn’t. I found out I had breast cancer because of a routine mammogram. With that information, I was able to get the treatment I needed so that I can be here to help other women take care of themselves.
That’s why I get a little thrill when I see the bare walls. I know what’s coming. I look forward to having the coffee and tea set up in our lounge and plugging in the free WiFi and charging stations. These are the special touches that let women know we see them as individuals, not numbers.
All of this is happening now in Bel Air and Hagerstown, Maryland. The pictures are on the walls and soon the doors will be open. In fact, we’re already taking appointments.