I had my mammogram yesterday or what I’ve come to lovingly refer to as my “slammogram”. Can I just say up front ladies that IF this were the only way that men had to determine if they had testicular cancer two things would happen: 1. the entire medical profession whould stop whatever they were working on and focus on an ALTERNATE form of detection and 2. a whole bunch of men would die. It’s not that I don’t advocate having this procedure done annually (and if any of you reading this don’t get checked regularly–well if you’re on this site you’re probably a parent and if you’re a parent you owe this one to your kids), but I digress. I appreciate that there is the opportunity for me to stop the progress of such an incredibly devastating disease but come on…what’s with the smooshing? We have satallites that can see hundreds of thousands of miles into outer space. We have heat seeking missles that can focus on the size of a car exhaust but we can’t penetrate the 5 inches of my breast tissue without putting it into a pannini machine?
I have to laugh too that I’m not allowed to wear deodorant when I go to have my mammogram. Have you ever wondered why? Well apprently most deodorant sprays are made with aluminum. Yes, aluminum. So here I am, a relatively intelligent woman staying up with different aspects of health threats to my life and I realize that I’m worried about breast cancer but I’ve been spraying metal under my armpits everyday for at least the past 20 years. I guess they’ve tested the stuff on rats and determined there’s no carcinogenic effect; although I have no idea how they got those poor critters to hold their little arms up.
So this poor technician has to try to make me feel comfortable while I’m standing there in a freezing room with a little gown over my upper half (trying to hold it over the side NOT getting examined…like THAT makes a difference) and her feeling around to position my breast properly. By the time I’m pretty sure she’s reached at least third base from the Meatloaf song “Paradise in the Dashboard Lights” she tells me to let her know when the pannini maker feels snug around my now deflated breast. I’m a pretty tough chick so I wait for it to feel really uncomfortable and say in a pretty high voice “okay, that’s it”. Little did I know she was then going to proceed to come over to me and CRANK the panels closer-to the point where my deodorant free armpit hairs are now at the front of my chest tickling my nose. THEN she has the gall to tell me to hold my breath. Now I’m up on my tippy toes, with one arm grabbing onto anything that it can white knuckle too and praying that the flatness of my breast will not translate to them drooping any further than they were before the test. Does she really think I’m still breathing?
FINALLY, I’m released. You may have read the email that circuclated a while back that talked about the process feeling somewhat like having your breast slammed into a refridgerator door. I would correct that by saying it’s like having your breast slammed into a refridgerator door REAL, REAL, S-L-O-W. Okay–first shot done let’s move to the left breast–WAIT A MINUTE….she didn’t say to turn. What’s she doing moving that machine — OH MY GOD–IT ROTATES? So now that we’ve made your breast nice and flat, let’s just stretch that bad boy a bit. About now I’m realizing how glad I am I never had my nipple pierced. I’d hate to trip on the earring walking out of the exam room. As she goes to check the left side, all modesty is done. I’ve thrown the stupid little top they gave me over to the chair and stare there at the technician like a gladiator who’s just made it through the first round of the death games only to hear that the big guys are coming into the arena in 2 minutes and I’m still the main event.
So there we are again, pushing, positioning and slamming, R-E-A-L, S-L-O-W, and then, like some caged animal I’m released from my trap, told to go get dressed and then “Wait to make sure everything looks okay”. Does she really think she’s gonna get a second shot at this?
So, my tech was very good. She didn’t give me a clue as to whether she’d seen anything or not. I wanted to wait around and see how she treated the other women. Did she come out smiling and say “okay honey, don’t you worry about a thing…you can go”, which of course would have put my pretty stoic goodbye into a whole different perspective.
Now it’s all about the waiting. Like everyone of you who’s had this exam routinely done, you never really think there’s the possibility that something is wrong and it fades from my mind most of the day. I hope that’s how this little trip stays. A few unpleasant memories that will fade until about this time next year. It’s like the Nike commercial…”Just do it”. Let somebody else be the statistic. Besides, if we don’t take care of us…who’ll take care of them.
Save the Ta-ta’s