Day 27:365 Gratitude Challenge and April 15th A to Z Challenge
Today I am grateful for mammograms. I was going to write about being grateful for my (m)edications but, given that you have read the previous twelve posts of mine, you have already figured out that I must be medicated to write like that, so basically it would be redundant for me to talk about it. But I know that you have never heard my mammogram story so ‘grateful for mammograms’ it is. Aren’t you excited?
When I turned the magical milestone age of 50, suddenly the magical milestone tests that come along with it were ordered. The highlights of the tests were the screening for colorectal cancer and the squishing of the boobs mammogram. Yay! How can a middle aged woman not get excited by that? The screening test for colorectal cancer wasn’t too bad because the only humiliation of the test was my own. No one else had to help me perform it. But the mammogram? Nope. For that I had to see a professional.
The evening before the mammogram, Sauerkraut was standing at the stove stirring some soup when I came in from work. After the normal chit chat of the day, I mentioned that the next day was my mammogram appointment.
Sauerkraut: How exactly do they perform a mammogram?
Me: Well, a technician will place one boob at a time in a sandwhich maker-type press, squish the living daylights out of it so that the boob will flatten the most it possibly can, and then she will take an 8 x 10 glossy of the boob from a couple of different angles.
Sauerkraut: You mean flatter than they already are?
The silence was defeaning. Sauerkraut didn’t even realize what he had just said and he continued stirring the soup. How is it possible that the only piece of information he extracted from that explaination was that my boobs couldn’t be flattened any more than they already were?
I cleared my throat and walked over to him.
Me: Are you saying that my boobs are flat?
Sauerkraut: Oh, shit.
That’s right. Oh, shit. The rest, as they say, is history.
The next day I showed up bright and early with bells on (no, not tassles on my nipples like you are probably thinking) but bells on as a figure of speech. I have never been nor will I
ever be a stripper. I do not know where you get these ideas of yours. Anyhoo, I have never been one to get worked up about tests or surgeries because I am always of the thinking that “it has to be done so I may as well just get it over with”. I bounced in, announced my arrival and was told to change into a dressing gown which was a pretty little pink half gown. It was quite the fashionable look with my blue jeans and sneakers, let me tell you.
When it was my turn, the technician called me in and explained the procedure to me. I nodded along, making the odd wisecrack here and there. She called me over to the boob sandwich press and proceeded to pick my flat saggy boob from off the floor to place it between the press. While making sure that my flat boob was properly placed, she remarked how calm I was about the whole thing given that this was my first mammogram. I explained my philosophy about tests and how there was no point getting worked up about them. I also added that since I had given birth three times previously, I did not have any humility left. We began to chit chat while she was setting everything up.
Nice Technician: I wish more women were like you. It would make the mammogram run much more smoothly for everyone.
Me: Well, I figure that you have already seen a million boobs by now so my flat saggy boobs are not going to be that much of a shock. Since you haven’t run screaming from the room, I figure we’re okay.
Nice Technician: Exactly. I once had a woman come in for her appointment and she had not slept the entire night before because she was so nervous about it. She also wasn’t able eat breakfast because she was so worked up about it.
Me: Oh, no, that’s terrible!
Nice Technician: Her appointment was late morning and she was so jacked up on coffee by the time she got here that she could hardly see straight.
Me: I can’t even imagine.
Nice Technician: After I explained the procedure and reassured her that there was nothing to worry about, I asked her to stand up and come over to the machine. The poor woman stood up too quickly and proceeded to faint. I caught her just as her knees began to buckle!
Nice Technician: I gave her some orange juice and waited until she regained her strength before continuing on with the mammogram. After that everything went smoothly and we got some good images.
Me (ever the visual one): It’s a good thing that her boob wasn’t already in the machine before she fainted. Can you imagine fainting and then dangling there by your boob????
Then the nice technician burst out laughing. And, yes, my left boob was still in the press and I was letting on that I was flailing about with just my arm movements because, well, nothing else could move because my boob was in the press, silly goose, so get your mind back on track.
You’ll be happy to know that the rest of my mammogram was uneventful and that the girls were good and no abnormalities were found. Piece of cake. Seriously.
So, yes, I am grateful for mammograms not only because they are a diagnostic tool used to diagnose or rule out a breast problem (such as a lump or suspicious area) but because, if approached with the right attitude, it can result in a really good story. Honestly. I can’t possibly make this shit up.
The girls: 1
An X-ray of the breast that is taken with a device that compresses and flattens the breast. A mammogram can help a health professional decide whether a lump in the breast is a gland, a harmless cyst, or a tumor.
an image obtained by mammography.
Me: Are you saying my boobs are flat?
Mark: Oh shit.
The rest is,as they say, history.