Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Boob Job: Another Year, Another Mammogram

They can put a man on the moon…………..right? We’ve heard that cliché numerous times when we wish for some new breakthrough in technology that will make our lives easier, but for Cripe’s sake, can’t they make getting mammograms easier?????????

Yesterday was my dreaded yearly appointment. I don’t usually have too much trouble but this time it was a pain in the boobs! Men just have no idea the indignities women have to put up with to maintain a healthy body. I won’t go into the stirrups and the foot-long Q-tip used to check the nether regions; today it’s all about the squish-machine. Try taking my considerable breast flesh and making it as flat as a Sicilian pizza! Not a pretty picture and a painful, and if I had any shame, humiliating experience to boot.

First, you walk into the room with all your own clothes on except the cute little pink hospital-type top they give you. “Take it off,” the attendant says.

“Off completely?” I ask like I don’t know – I’ve done this enough. But the feeling is awkward just the same. I tried to be cute and hummed the stripper’s song as I disrobed but my new soon-to-be-intimate friend replied, “We don’t need the dance, honey, it’s no big deal.”

Next it’s time to step up to the plate – literally. The machine has these transparent plates that can be set at different angles: flat and sideways. You are told to get close, really close and then the kindly woman hefts your breast and lays it upon the serving platter.

You lose all sense of shame here as she manipulates your boob like it’s a roll of dough ready for kneading.
It’s pushed this way and that, getting it into position and THEN the top plate makes its way down, down, down until it cannot go any further. YIKES. For someone like me, someone whose OB-GYN doctor once described her as having “large, pendulous breasts” (I was as traumatized by that description of me as I was when, in high school, someone described me as “spastic”) this is not a pleasant experience. Although I can’t imagine it any easier or less-painful for an A-cup woman, as one of my blessedly-smaller-breasted friends once shared, because the plates just scrap down on the chest trying to gather some flesh to squish.

Anyhow, once the two plates are in place with my boob looking like Madonna donning those cone breasts she used to wear in her act, the attendants rush to safe cover so they can zap me. “Don’t breathe, don’t breathe,” I’m told. “ZZZZZZZZ (the sound of the radiation going off), then, “Okay, breathe and relax” and the plates are released. Whew! But, it’s not over yet! Remember, we got two of these puppies and they both need equal treatment. After the pancake squish it’s time for the sideways shot. This time when the plates come together my boob looks like an enormous pimple about to be popped; now isn’t that an even prettier image?

The whole process takes about fifteen minutes; that is if you don’t breathe or move while the X-ray is being taken and if the position of your boob on the plate is just right. I had to do one of the takes over again and by the time I was released my breasts looked like I’d been on my honeymoon – but without the fun memories.

I said to my new breast-friends, “I feel sorry for you having to touch strangers’ boobs all day long.” The response was, “I like this job much better than the one where I have to stick a probe up you-know-where.” I guess I would have to agree. Anyway, both of my mammogram technicians, Laurie and Lori, were wonderful; they joked with me, were as gentle as they could be given the technology they had to work with, and they had warm and soft hands – what more could I have asked for?

It will be another year before I have to have another exam. By then my breasts will be a little bit lower due to gravitational pull and most likely a little heavier, too. If Laurie/Lori keep doing this kind of work they’ll never have to go to the gym to lift weights, they are getting plenty of bicep work on the job. In the meantime, I’ll nurse my girls with ice packs and thank them for staying healthy. And I’ll begrudgingly thank modern medicine for providing technology, no matter how cumbersome, because they are saving lives. But seriously, if we can put a man on the moon……………..

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm laughing as I'm writing! A very entertaining post! Having gone through the very thing you describe...I know too well that you speak the truth.

Guess I'd better make the dreaded appointment...