I had my first mammogram today, because I found a suspicious lump in my right breast. A few years ago, I was told it was most likely a clogged milk duct, but since I haven’t nursed in over a year, and the lump was still there, I got concerned, spoke with my doctor, and that is how we are here today. Before I go any further, I will say there may be some language in this blog, so if you’re eyes are sensitive to certain “taboo” words, you better run now.
I get to the hospital, I’m given a gown, and I’m asked to strip from the waist up. Before the actual exam, I was taken to a small office and asked a series of questions – any history of breast cancer in the family, any history of ovarian cancer in the family, how many pregnancies have I had, when did I first feel the lump. You also need to make sure not to wear any powdered deodorant, or perfumes. At first I wasn’t sure why, but I understood later. As I was answering these questions, I thought to myself, “I need to find out a lot more about my family history.” While I’m pretty confident there is no history of cancer, it doesn’t hurt to check.
Following the Q&A session, I’m then taken into the exam room, where I come face to face with “the machine.” When I first saw it, I honestly wasn’t sure what to think. I did hope that thing was adjustable because at first it was waaaaay too high and I didn’t see any step stools anywhere. One thing I have to stress is this, you need to make sure your insecurities are left at the door because this is no place for being timid or shy and you better get comfortable having your boobs lifted, stretched, pulled and touched by someone other than your “significant other”. A little “pastie” was placed on my right breast where the lump was, so the technician would be able to check that area more closely once the films were ready. I was then told what would happen – I’d have to stand in 4 different positions, and there might be some discomfort, but as long as I keep still, the actual pictures are a few seconds.
Then the fun begins.
First was my left breast. I thought she would have started with the right one, the “worst” first, but that wasn’t the case. I had to lean forward and keep my shoulders relaxed, my arms to the side, while my poor breast was lifted on this table and positioned in the right spot. A lift here, keep my shoulder down there, head forward, neck up, try to relax. This took a few adjustments and boy were they fun. Ha, lots of fun!!! Then it was covered with a clear top, and when that thing came down, Holy crap!!! I remember an episode of Sylvester and Tweety, where Sylvester is swinging trying to get enough height to reach Tweety in a window. There’s a pounding device he keeps swinging through that eventually catches up with him. That’s what that initially felt like. My poor baby was flattened like a pancake. Then the machine was turned on, a light came on and when it was done, the top lifted automatically. Then, my right breast followed, and once again, my poor boob was put through a lovely ringer of adjustments and flatness, but once it was in place, it was over fairly quickly.
I thought I was done, and I was getting myself dressed, but I forgot there was the side view that had to be done. Well, if you thought that was fun, oh the side view is one for the books. Starting with my left breast, I had to hold up my left arm, step forward with my left foot, lean in with my left shoulder, keep still, make sure my left shoulder was relaxed, keep my right hand to the side, rest my head on the device once the top came down, and make sure not to move Zip, zip, zip, image taken and on to the right boob.
We went through the same process and all that’s running through my mind is, “Dang, how does a gal with Size ZZZ breasts survive this?” I mean, seriously, if I ever had any question about whether I would ever have breast implants, THIS VISIT confirmed my reasons NOT to!!! I can also understand why they want to make sure you’re not breastfeeding. If you haven’t gone through the process, you have to understand, your breasts gets flattened almost like a pancake – there is no other way to describe it. Just the positioning of your body and breasts alone is enough to make you love and appreciate your tatas even more.
The films are being examined and I hope to hear from the doctor some time this week.
I just realized after describing this process that my chest and shoulders are a little sore. I thought my TurboFire workouts were tough!!! HA, try getting a mammogram!!! But I have to say, it’s not as bad as going through labor. I don’t think ANYTHING can top that, but we shall see.
All kidding aside, what this exam has taught me is if you have any suspicions or concerns about your breast, go get them checked out. A few minutes of discomfort is worth it if it can save your life. On the flip side, now that I know what to expect, I don’t think it will be so traumatic when I have to do it again. And ladies, have a sit down with your family and find out as much about your medical history as possible. After finding out the results, I’ll keep you posted.
Until next time, be well and stay safe.