Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Get Your Mammies Grammed

OK, so I know that this message should have come back in October, what with Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all. However, you know just as well as I do how the "system" works. After being slammed with pleas and urges to get my mammogram, I finally did get on the phone to make the appointment. Lo and behold, they told me they could fit me in around Easter. Well, that's not altogether true because they had a cancellation, and they wound up fitting me in for late November. That brings you up to speed on my tardy blog entry. Forgive me if I seem a little crabby. My boobs are still bruised from yesterday's annihilation. Let's just recount the tale, shall we? Now, I know that we women in the know aren't supposed to tell anyone that a mammogram causes any discomfort, but god almighty, geezy pete, cowabunga (threw that one in for good measure!), HOLY CRAP! I thought I was going to wet my pants! The first time I got one, they must have gone easy on me, so I'd come back. That was my BASELINE. Well, if that was the baseline, then this one must have been the homerun. I seriously thought the technician was going to pull off some of my breast. And what about that? Generally speaking, I think people in the healthcare field are saints, but who wants this job? Handling other women's breasts all day? Every day? Especially if you're in a center where that's all they do, which I was. I switched from the first place that did the baseline because I figured a center that solely does breasts has to be the best, right? The best equipment, the best technicians (with the best technique for not squishing my boobs flat like pancakes and then asking sweetly, "Is that ok?"), superior radiology department, etc. I thought I was doing myself a favor. WRONG! I know I'm venting here, but please bear with me. Therapy is in session. My mother died of cancer, after having both breast and ovarian, so the family history is there. I'm already doomed if I do say so, but I do my best to be proactive. First mammogram well before age 40 and my second now that I'm almost 41 (yes, I'll have bruised boobs for my bday on Sunday). Out front in the waiting area, they had this little pamphlet about their extra gentle equipment that was available. If you paid just $5.00 extra out of pocket, they would use the special apparatus that would spare you such discomfort. "If I pay $100, is it even better?" I asked. This was greeted with a blank stare. No bells. Forget it. Here's my five bucks, lady. Bring on the kid gloves. The room was freezing cold. The technician was syrupy sweet and about 11 years old. She reported that she was sorry but her hands were a little chilly today. "Then find a vat of hot wax to dip them in before my procedure!" I wanted to yell. Is this so much to ask? Is there not water in these offices? And a water heater? So, we start with the right breast. She tells me to put it on the little shelf thingie (OK, that is not how she said it, but that's what it feels like - like you're putting your breast on a shelf.) and lean as far forward as I can. OK, so that's where the special comfort was supposed to happen. Well, it looked to me to be a piece of felt. Yep. A piece of felt. That was supposed to make the whole experience like going to a spa. Uh Huh. So, I stick my boob on the luxurious piece of felt, half expecting it to heat up and play soothing music. (Nope) She then begins to push, prod, pull, squeeze and massage my breast until she seems satisfied that she has mauled me into submission. That's when she starts turning the vice wheeliemajig. And turning . . . and turning . . . and turning. Until I'm about to pass out. So, they tell you it's supposed to be uncomfortable, not painful. Yeah, right. Well, then I must have had a bad technician this go-round. Every so often I get the, "Are we doing ok?" with a sickening smile (who's this 'we'?) or the "How does that feel?" How do you think it feels, Nurse Ratchett? Then, finally comes the picturetaking. She tells me to hold my breath. Like I could be drawing breath through this ordeal? I swear if she had told me to smile... Then, the other side and then the side view of each breast, as well. But here's what I can't figure out. I have to say it again. Who wants this job? This woman literally had to squeeze my boobs, flatten them out to nothing, shush them around, etc. for about 15 minutes. And if you do the math here, she must do this approximately 20 to 25 times per day. EEEOOOW! So, I left the breast smashing center, knowing full well that I had 5 pumpkin pies to make to take to my domestic goddess sister-in-law's house for turkey day (no, she's not a muffy). I knew I was in a rush. I just couldn't get myself to get going. So, I stopped at a bakery, bought out what they had left, and then I stopped in my fav Chinese joint and treated myself to a late lunch. My hubby called later and asked how the whole experience went, and I told him it was SO GOOD for me, let me tell you! And then, I whined a little (ok, maybe a lot), and he listened and pretended like he could possibly understand (what more could he do?), knowing he wouldn't be getting anywhere near my knockers for a few days. Yes, dammit, they still hurt today. But WTM's, in spite of my bad experience this time around, am I going to continue to subject myself to the humbling and harrowing trial of the annual boobie stomp? You betcha! Because early detection is the key. And if we're smart, we'll steer our kids (the smart, sensitive ones, anyway) toward the field of women's healthcare. Perhaps, one of them will come up with a better way to do this. Until then, ladies, GET YOUR MAMMIES GRAMMED!!!!! (And then, treat yourself afterward like I did!)


Blogger kari said...

Mine got smashed yesterday and I swear we had the same techinician. Lost my Mom too. Hugs to you!

11/23/2005 9:30 AM  
Blogger Serra said...

You do know what your hubby was thinking don't you?

"Heh--all they did was moosh your boobie. You don't get an annual finger up your butt."

My faith in the kindness of humanity is shaken today--I had to go to a grocery store today.

11/23/2005 9:51 AM  
Blogger Christina_the_wench said...

~cringes~ I've been told my next yearly includes one of these fun-filled adventures. Soooooo looking forward to it now. Thanks, Queen.

Seriously, I do know they are important.

Enjoy Turkey Day!

11/23/2005 9:52 AM  
Blogger Crazy Lady said...

It runs in my family, so I started "the yearly smoosh" at age 30. Thanks for reminding me I need to make my appt.

11/23/2005 10:24 AM  
Blogger Pinky Toe said...

I had my baseline done almost 2 years ago, and it was pretty much how you described this one (minus the felt) so you were lucky the first go round! It was really annoying that I expected not to need one until I was 40, but NOOO they changed it.

You know, you should tell your husband, when I asked how they did this for women who were really flat chested, she said they do it for men, they just grab the tissue and squeeze. Considering they got me right up against the ribs (I really was afraid I was going to have my boobs ripped off), I guess I can beliebe it.

11/23/2005 10:27 AM  
Blogger Pinky Toe said...

Oops, make that belieVe :)

11/23/2005 10:28 AM  
Anonymous missy said...

Okay, this is going to be looooonnnngggggggg, but in honor of having your mammies grammed, I present "The Boob Poem":

For years and years they told me,
Be careful of your breasts.
Don't ever squeeze or bruise them.
And give them monthly tests.
So I heeded all their warnings,
And protected them by law.
Guarded them very carefully,
And I always wore my bra.
After 30 years of astute care,
My gyno, Dr. Pruitt,
Said I should get a Mammogram.
"O.K," I said, "let's do it."
"Stand up here real close" she said,
(She got my boob in line),
"And tell me when it hurts," she said,
"Ah yes! Right there, that's fine."
She stepped upon a pedal,
I could not believe my eyes!
A plastic plate came slamming down,
My hooter's in a vise!
My skin was stretched and mangled,
From underneath my chin.
My poor boob was being squashed,
To Swedish Pancake thin.
Excruciating pain I felt,
Within it's vise-like grip.
A prisoner in this vicious thing,
My poor defenseless tit!
"Take a deep breath" she said to me,
Who does she think she's kidding?!?
My chest is mashed in her machine,
And woozy I am getting.
"There, that's good," I heard her say,
(The room was slowly swaying.)
"Now, let's have a go at the other one."
Have mercy, I was praying.
It squeezed me from both up and down,
It squeezed me from both sides.
I'll bet SHE'S never had this done,
To HER tender little hide.
Next time that they make me do this,
I will request a blindfold.
I have no wish to see again,
My knockers getting steamrolled.
If I had no problem when I came in,
I surely have one now.
If there had been a cyst in there,
It would have gone "ker-pow!"
This machine was created by a man,
Of this, I have no doubt.
I'd like to stick his balls in there,
And see how THEY come out.

Author Unknown

11/23/2005 11:22 AM  
Blogger mama_tulip said...

(((Yer mammies)))

11/23/2005 1:17 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

That was so funny and so scarey.

And my b-day is Tuesday! I hope you get to sleep, spend your day with some good desserts and get a good buzz. I get to send my child off to Children's Day Out on mine. SO that, ain't all that bad.

11/23/2005 2:44 PM  
Anonymous Nilla said...

It's a long story but I actually had a mammogram at 27. I have an AA cup.... imagine. They tried to pull the breast tissue off my body just so they could have SOMETHING to smash. OW. I complained to my mother, who informed me that my grandmother went in for a mammogram and they had to pull up a second machine to catch the overage. Yep, that's what I said- her boobs were SO HUGE (double II, I think) that they flopped right over the end and they had to get a second shelf to squish the ends.

As for men, can you imagine if they did they same kind of thing to detect say.... penis cancer? (And I mean IT, not the testes, thank you very much). There would be men passed out all over the place from having IT smashed FLAT. Actually, I can recommend an ex-husband of mine that should get that procedure done......

11/23/2005 6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you know that the overwhelming number new breast cancer cases each year (somewhere above 80%) are in women with no history (zero, nada, zilch) of breast cancer in the family? I found out when I had a pre-cancerous tumor removed (before age 40) and I have zero family history there.

But I'm with you on the titty torture, it's awful and they all tell me that I'm their only patient who experiences "disomfort"! Yeah right.

11/25/2005 8:22 AM  

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