Sue Spitulnik

Writing, Sewing, Travel, and Thoughts



No Incision Please


No surgery, no stitches, no scars…

We observe National Without a Scalpel Day each year on January 16. The first angioplasty, a ground-breaking procedure to open a blocked blood vessel, was performed on this day in 1964 in Portland, Oregon, by pioneer physician Charles Dotter. This angioplasty allowed the patient to avoid leg amputation surgery. She left the hospital days later with only a Band-Aid.

In doing so, Dr. Dotter created the cutting-edge medical specialty called Interventional Radiology, where doctors treat disease through a tiny pinhole instead of open surgery. These doctors use x-rays and other medical imaging to see inside the body while they treat disease. These advances changed all of medicine.

Today, minimally invasive, image-guided procedures (MIIP) can treat a broad range of diseases throughout the body, in adults and children:• cancer• heart disease• stroke• aneurysms• life-threatening bleeding• infertility• fibroids• kidney stones• back pain• infections• blocked blood vessels• many other conditions

Even though trained specialists perform MIIP throughout the world, many people do not know about MIIP or if they could benefit from these life-changing treatments. The Interventional Initiative was established to raise awareness and educate the public about MIIP.

Yes, I know, it is also Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Do Nothing Day, Religious Freedom Day and Fig Newton Day. This was the day I had not heard of, but know many people who have benefitted from no scalpel use, so thought I would share the history of it. A big thank you to revolutionary doctors like Dr. Charles Dotter and our modern medicine.

Go With a Friend

It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and today is National Mammography Day.  We all know someone who has dealt with this disease.  Some people beat it and too many do not.

Where I live, there is a large office that a lot of women choose to have their mammo’s at because it has the best reputation for early diagnosis, which is key.  But, it is so big, I shy away from it.  Women are funny creatures.  We are all there for the same reason, but we sit in the waiting room like we’ve never seen another woman before.  No one speaks and it’s more than tense.  Anonymity  doesn’t really exist because they call most of the woman to the same room in a parade.  Those are the ones that have no problem.  Then someone is called to the OTHER room and everyone knows her results were either inconclusive, or worse.  It’s scary.  I recently filled out a survey and it wanted to know what the worst part of the procedure was.  I answered; the sense of fear in the room.

I have a suggestion.  Go to your next Mammogram with a friend.  Plan far enough ahead so you can make your appointments at nearly the same time and make a fun day of it.  Go shopping, or to lunch afterwards.  At least have a buddy to pass the time with while you wait so the time goes faster and your mind isn’t playing dirty tricks on you.  I also have one request; please don’t sit chewing and snapping gum while you wait. It might calm your nerves, but not mine.  I happen to hate that sound on a good day, and in that situation it would make me want to  get violent. That’s supposed to make you smile!

If you think about it, there probably isn’t a handful days in any given month that you don’t see, or hear about the pink ribbon and/or breast cancer.  It’s a serious thing.  Take care of your ta-tas and go get them squeezed on a regular basis.  You might not want to but the peace of mind after is worth every minute it takes.  And go with a friend to make it more fun.

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