Image courtesy of http://www.torontosun.com & the Ontario Health Ministry
Some years ago, just about three to be somewhat exact, I had and wrote about my very first mammogram https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/dont-be-a-boob-get-a-mammogram-if-your-doctor-tells-you/ I was a newbie back then to the process and didn’t really go back for my annual imaging like I was supposed to. After a recent physical and scolding from my family doctor, I’m not only doing annual mammograms, I’m also getting an ultrasound to go along with it. She is extra cautious, not a bad thing at all, but this isn’t necessary for everyone. Just a reminder, in case you don’t want to re-read my older post, I have a very strong history of breast cancer in my family, including a primary relative. I’m also at a high risk because I’m an Ashkenazi Jewess – just a fancy way of saying that I’m Jewish and of Eastern European descent. Lucky me!
Just in case there are any people avoiding mammograms due to the unknown, I’m going to give you the D.L. (that down-low to all of you people who aren’t as cool as me). After I changed into my elegant (she says with a sneer) smock, I had to sit braless in a waiting room filled with men. Yup, my lucky day. When they called my name, I tried not to jump up – I didn’t want to get two black eyes and was paranoid that my robe would pop open. I forgot and put my Secret on in the morning. My friends thanked me, but the technician didn’t. I had to clean my armpits with cold water and icky hand soap and to make matters worse, I had to dry off with those industrial paper towel which crumbled into little pieces. Note to self, don’t use deodorant on mammogram day.
I heaved one side of my bosoms onto a small ledge and looked at the “tray” that presses down on girl #1. I swear, it really does look like an in-tray, except they don’t put any papers in it. Remember, when they do the imaging, they do two per boob, breast, bosom or whatever you feel comfortable calling the girls. She helped me position myself (AKA I totally got felt up, but I already complained about not even getting dinner first in my previous post, so I won’t use that joke again). She was actually really great about everything and made me feel as comfortable as I could standing there topless in front of a complete stranger. The press down didn’t hurt one little bit, not even any discomfort. An ad came out in Canada using a panini press to remind women that even if they are pressed for time, there is always room to schedule a mammogram. A lot of people found it tasteless, but it sort of does represent that downward press that I was talking about. I made the mistake of looking down during the press and it really looked like one of those white Chinese buns that you can get with Dim Sum. Just being observational.
The side squish was definitely the more uncomfortable of the two, but it also doesn’t really hurt. If you are a guy reading this, skip over this part….don’t peak….Ladies, if you are going for a mammogram, schedule it after PMS time (if you aren’t menopausal) I guarantee you will thank me for this bit of advice. The whole process took under 5 minutes and that included washing my deodorant off.
Next up – I was called by a very unfriendly former Eastern Bloch honey to get my ultrasounds. She wasn’t a people person. All she said to me was move closer to the edge and put your arm up over your head. She kept making me move to the edge of the table. I had to stop myself from reminding her that it wasn’t a king size bed. It was actually more uncomfortable holding that position on each side than getting the mammogram – seriously. They do warm up the gel, so it’s not freezing, which was my biggest worry. It takes about 5 minutes per side. I had to bite my tongue and not ask her “is it a boy or girl?” when I saw the image come up on the screen. I could tell she would not have been amused. I just took myself to my happy place – Nordstrom’s – and it was all over in ten minutes. It’s quite a sticky mess after (no comments please) and I kind of wished that I could shower, but it was a small price to pay for piece of mind.
Breast cancer isn’t a joke, but if I can make this less scary for even one of you by communicating my experience, that’s all I really want to do. Remember, a doctor doesn’t want you to have unnecessary tests, but early detection with breast cancer is key, so like the title says, don’t be a boob and put it off.