I have begun to “put myself out there” a bit more as I have been writing. Sometimes I surprise myself with what I actually reveal, like in my self – image post, https://aprojectforkindness.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/inner-beauty/ I actually had to share that one with a friend and fellow blogger before I could get the courage to actually post it!
Today I’m going “outside of my comfort level” and going to write about something that should not seem embarrassing to write about, but since it is personal, I decided to put myself out there and try to go with a humorous side of “The Mammogram”, so if you’re the type who gets ill at ease when reading about “woman things” then you can stop reading here….
Ever since I was 35, I have had an annual mammogram and fortunately they have always been fine. I am sure that most woman who have had one can and will agree with me, that they are not something that we look forward to having. While I understand the importance of them, and I know that early detection of breast cancer saves lives, I still dread that annual appointment of having my boobs squished by a cold, hard machine almost as much as I dread my annual appointment to the gynecologist.
My appointment was scheduled for the middle of the day, so I left work to rush home and take a quick shower to remove the deodorant I was wearing, (thankfully – since I had spent the day outside with my campers in 100 degree heat.) There are no lotions or deodorants allowed on the machines, because it can interfere with the images, so I got dressed, sans deodorant, and drove with the air conditioning blasting so that I’d keep from sweating both from the heat and anticipation of what was about to come.
I was led to a small room where I had to strip from the waist up and get into an unattractive, scratchy hospital gown that ties in the front leaving very little to the imagination! Those gowns, obviously not meant for beauty are to be tied in the front, so instead of revealing my backside for all to see, instead, it is my front side. These gowns do nothing for patients’ dignity as we are led from one room to another.
I was brought to the procedure room where the technician began to prod, flatten and position my left boob on the cold machine. After getting that into place, it was time to position my feet and body – all with my squished boob firmly in place. Feet in one place, arms in another, cheek against the machine – it is like a game of twister but only I am being twisted! Then, after holding my breath for what seems like thirty seconds, but is probably more like ten, I got to do it all again on the right. Just when I thought we were done, the machine, (and I), are twisted to the side and we do another image with more pressing, squeezing and pushing on each side. Finally, when I was released from the machine, now even flatter than I was before the mammogram, I was able to slip the gown back on, choose a rose from a bucket in the room and I led back to the dressing room to get back into my own clothes.
I have been told that this hurts more for “small breasted women” and though I can not speak for all women, since I am on the small side I am in total agreement!! I read a quote from Ellen Degeneres that said, “I cannot believe they haven’t yet come up with a better screening process than the mammogram. If a man had to put his special parts inside a clamp to test him for anything, I think they would come up with a new plan before the doctor finished saying ‘Put that thing in here so I can crush it'”.
The rose, I was given has always been part of the procedure where my mammograms are done. I never really understood the significance behind it and although I think it is a nice touch, I often feel that as I walk down the corridor leading me back to my car, holding the rose, I am wearing an, “I just had a mammogram” sign sprawled across my chest.
Honestly though, for the fifteen minutes of discomfort it actually gives, don’t be afraid to get one. A mammogram isn’t an unspeakable procedure. They really do save lives. So talk about it. Laugh about it, joke about it, but no matter what, just get it done.