Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mammy's Grammied

I have one of the best gynecologists ever.  She's chatty, thorough and you really don't mind she does the voodoo she does because you know that you're getting her full attention when it's your appointment time.  I knew this was the year that she wanted to do a baseline mammogram on me.  She likes to get them young so that when you have to start getting them when you're 40 she's got something good to compare it to when your ta-ta's were in tip top condition.  I have heard all of the horror stories and seen all of the cartoons...

The Mr came with me and I was fine until we were about a mile away and then the butterflies set in.  The girl checking me in was super nice and her South Carolina drawl was somehow soothing and I expected her to offer me sweet tea or a mint julep.  She took me back and showed me where to disrobe and put on the paper gown that opens in the front.  I guess when she went back out front she told the Mr. "she is so cute and sweet!"  I was not feeling so cute with no Ralph Lauren Blue to scent my wrists, no lotion to soften my skin and no deodorant to stop me from getting nervous pit sweat.  After I came out and sat down, the tech came out and took me into the room.  I envisioned them having to suspend me Mission Impossible style from the ceiling.

She would take my boob out as I dangle and they would clamp down with the big metal vice, turn it until I screamed in pain or my nipples blew out and then take the xray.  Or maybe they would have a guillotine style bookend deal going on and you'd stick your boob in there, the tech would run behind a bulletproof screen, push a button and the 50 lb. metal slab would drop and my breast would pop and the Mr would light a candle.  Thankfully neither of these scenarios were close to the way it actually went.

The tech felt me up for symmetry then put the left hooter onto the slab.  Just above it was a plastic piece that did the alleged smooshing. She had me hold on to that bar on the side there and then she lowered the boom the plastic smooshavator.  It gingerly sat on top of it and she walked back to the computer to take the picture.  I thought this is where she would hit some button back there and it would drop harder until I couldn't feel my extremities or dropped to my knees which would be physically impossible since I was trapped under a supposed vice and I'd be dangling by my boob just swinging there while she Youtubed it.  Nope.  She pushed a button and it took the xray and lifted up.  I whipped around and said "uh, that's IT?!"  She laughed and said "yep, can you believe the horror stories floating around out there?"  She did the other side and that was a little more uncomfortable because apparently it liked to wrinkle up or something so she was whipping the right one around like she was making cinnamon rolls or rolling homemade pretzels.  Push, flatten, knead, repeat.  Peel it off due to nervous sweat.  Push, flatten, knead, repeat.  Pin it under the plastic bookend, hold my breath and release.  Then it was time to contort to the side a bit.  The left one was on it's best behavior.  The right one said "yeah, the Mission Impossible thing would probably be the smart way to go."  They had to take an "exaggerated angle" on the left one and I basically had to get into the crab position like I was in 7th grade phys ed.  Awesome.

She said she was going to give the screenshots to the doctor and she'd be in to talk to me.  Oh!  You mean I don't have to wait for a week totally freaking out wondering if they found something?  Score!  They brought the Mr back as I sat in my glorious Brawny gown.  The doctor came out and said I had a completely clean bill of health and there was no reason to do the ultrasound they booked just in case.  She said I'm good to go until I'm the big 4-0 and unless there's any kind of change or pain, she'd see me then.  I cannot begin to tell you the relief I had when she told me that.  I was never worried about the actual mammogram itself, I was worried about the possibility of there being something wrong.  I am so grateful that I have a clean bill of health, that my boobs didn't explode or deflate like the cartoons elude to,  that I wasn't tender afterward, that I had the courage to do it because I know there are many out there who don't because they're afraid of what could be found and that I have a Mr who goes with me to all of my lady appointments even if it's just to give moral support from the waiting room.  So for anyone who has heard horror stories and is putting it off because of that, I can tell you if you have a B cup or above, you're good to go.  I've heard it can be a little more uncomfortable for an A cup but not by much.

Afterward, I felt like doing a little "trauma shopping" so I picked up some food bloggie stuff.  A few people who knew I was doing that wanted to see what I bought so here's the haul:

I got the plate and milk glass at Anthropologie and the other stuff from Sur La Table's sale section.  The Mr dutifully tagged along and when I offered to go to one of his man stores he said "no today is your trauma shopping day."  Man, I love him!

Have you had a mammogram?  What tips would you give for those who haven't had one yet or if you haven't had one, what would you want to know going in?

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  1. Good job getting that baseline done! Boy, I had to laugh out loud when I saw the Mission Impossible pic!! I swear, I looked at that and nodded, "Yup, sometimes you feel like you're doing tricks!"
    "OK, put you hand up here. Good! Now, turn in with your body just a bit... FINE! :fumble, rearrange, spreeaadd: OK, lean in a bit more, and hold it..."

    Hokey pokey time! WTG!!! Nice therapeutic haul for your food photography! I can't wait to see them in use!!

  2. So happy you got a clean bill of health!

    I always plan a special treat for those sorts of appointments, even if it's just going to a coffee shop for reading and/or people watching for a while.

  3. your first was much better than mine. They called me back, thought they saw something. After the lesbian, yes I am sure tech applied the "markers", I felt the room close in and ended up fainting with my girl still flattened in the machine and hanging from my chicken wing! I woke up on the floor with 3 people standing around me trying to give me orange juice. Subsequent exams were a different location.

  4. Being 26, I havent had one yet.. but I work in healthcare - and I am so proud to work in a facility that has teamed up with Revlon and built two mobile mamography units.

    Basically its a big pink truck that goes around to rural areas and provides mamograms free of charge to anyone who other wouldnt have gotten one due to distance and/or finances.

    Makes me proud to work in a place that is so proactive about womens health :)

  5. Good on you for getting your baseline done. I am so glad you had a positive experience and a clean bill of health!

    I started having mammograms over 2 years ago, at the age of 39, and had them every six months until the last one when I was put on an annual follow up basis. I have a large lump in both breasts which called for a mammogram and ultrasound. Luckily, they are just fibrous. I dreaded the heck out of going due to horror stories of how bad it hurt. Didn't hurt a bit.

    However, I have a horror story of a different matter, and it is how long the whole appointment took. To this day I dread ever going again because each time I've been I have had to wait a ridiculous amount of time, and that is even with getting 7:30 AM appointments. The first appointment was the worst. I was forgotten about between mammogram and ultrasound. There I sat half dressed in the lounge for patients waiting... waiting... waiting. I finally flagged down someone who got the ball rolling again, but not after spending about 4 hours there. Lovely. The subsequent appointments I was probably there for 2 hours. From what I hear from others, this is not normal. With that said, I will be using a different imaging facility for my next (now overdue) mammogram.

  6. LMAO @ "Brawny gown"!

    Glad all went well...I like your new goodies!

  7. I had my first one last fall. I was supposed to have one starting at 35, but I kept getting pregnant and then nursing, so I started at 38.

    It was not bad at all. Frankly, I'd rather have a mammogram than have my teeth cleaned! My only advice would be not to listen to the horror stories!

  8. I was terrified of my first mammogram. How silly! It is absolutely harmless. There is a wee bit of discomfort but no pain at all. Mind you, after I cut my little toe off in a treadmill accident, the daily wound care during the following six months redefined my concept of pain. lol Mammo is a cakewalk. GET IT DONE.

    I'm still chuckling over the tech making cinnamon rolls and gown by Brawny. You crack me UP. lol

    Good finds there! Looking forward to seeing them in your beautiful photos!

  9. "or dropped to my knees which would be physically impossible since I was trapped under a supposed vice and I'd be dangling by my boob just swinging there while she Youtubed it"

    Oh my goodness, this made me laugh... out loud... sitting in my office! I've never had a mammogram done, but I can just envision the above scenario!

    I'm so happy for you that you were given a clean bill of health! I lost a dear friend to breast cancer 1 1/2 years ago - she was only 31 years old. Breast health is SO important so thank you for reminding your readers of that along with a great laugh as well!

  10. I have not had a mammogram, but thanks to your post, I will dread it a little less. :)

    I have that plate and that ceramic berry container (although you already knew that!)--I love them! I so wish we had Sur La Table here. :( And I also wish my husband take me shopping after my doctor's appointments! ;)

  11. Oh my god I love this! You crack me up! So glad all came out clean :)

  12. I have to get one next year. My mom died at 43 from breast cancer, so my OBGYN wants me to get a baseline 10 years before the age my mom was before she was diagnosed. Not looking forward to it, but happy there is something available to help diagnose early!

  13. A clean bill of health is amazing! I've heard the worst stories about boobs being squashed :p

  14. LOVED this post! The cartoon is hysterical! That's exactly how I felt. I've only had one.

    WooHoo for the clean bill of health!

  15. Thanks for the comments! I made light of my experience but it really is so important. I had a friend whose mother died of breast cancer and she didn't get mammograms because she was afraid of what they'd find. Thankfully she got over it but it's important that we are proactive towards our health in all aspects, not just weight loss!

    Keep the comments/experiences coming! I believe knowledge is power!

  16. This was hilarious! I'm so glad that you're in good health. I'm scared to death of a mammogram, but BOTH of my grandmothers had breast cancer, so I know that I better get on board soon. Thanks for sharing!

  17. I had my first at 25 because of the extensive cancer history in my family. It was terrifying only because they "found something" and I was alone at the docs. There was no real pain involved. I had to have a sonogram and thankfully, it wasn't anything. I suggest going with someone, like you did. Other than that, it really isn't a big deal. I'm glad your girls are good to go! Like the new loot = )

  18. Love the trauma shopping loot, you scored big there. While a mammogram isn't the most fun thing in the world, it's not that bad--with a good tech, it usually gets done pretty quickly with minimal discomfort. It's more the contorted position you sometimes have to get into for them to get their pictures that's the problem than the actual "compression." Mammograms ARE important; my mom beat breast cancer because a mammogram caught it early.

  19. Honestly, I think I relate to the nervous boob sweat comment the most because if it ain't degree clinical strength, it ain't strong enough for this woman. My first mammo was a little scary because it was the first, but the second was worse. Only because I had to get xrayed, wait, xray, wait, xray wait, ultrasound only to find out at the end it was "extra breast tissue" that I read as "fat" because thats exactly what it was LOL but now when I go back in 6 mos, it should be a cake walk.


  20. That account was hilarious! I have fibrous lumps, and I've been having mammos for years because I'm old. They are somewhat painful, or maybe extremely uncomfortable would be more truthful, but I go anyway because it's not going to kill me, unlike the alternative. My daughter works for an imaging center, and when they got a new digital machine, she called me and told me the technician would like to know if I would VOLUNTEER to have another one for her training scans! Because I have 'perfect breasts' for it. Well, of course I'll volunteer for anyone who tells me I have perfect breasts! 'Perfect' means rather floppy D cups, apparently. She sent me a nice gift card to a restaurant as a thank you, so both my daughters and I had a nice lunch.

  21. Been having them for years. The key is not to have one during your 'tender' time of the month. They are uncomfortable but not painful.

    You are lucky your Mr. goes with you. I always go alone to a place by my office, so I just go back to work afterward. Kinda' sucked the time they thought they found something. After 3 visits 6 months apart, they determined it was just scar tissue from a needle biopsy when I was in my 20s.

  22. My last mammogram was probably 20 years ago--I got the baseline one when I was 40, and then didn't ever get another one, so we've got nothing to compare. I do a monthly self-exam and my doctor checks them out every chance he gets (seems like it anyway)!
    I like your technical term for the plate that comes down on your breast-smooshavator--great word! When I had mine they did indeed SMOOSH my boobs, painfully I might add. My girls back then were HUGE (as was I), now they're just drooping flaps, sad, but at least a good bra holds them up and only hubby knows my secret. Might have to have another one of them there Mammograms--sounds like they've improved the process a lot since 1990!

  23. I am glad all went well! I am supposed to start getting them at 35 because of the history of cancer in my family. I've heard all kinds of stories, but I am mostly just nervous about some person seeing my hideous books. After having 2 kids, nursing them and losing over 100 pounds, my boobs look terrible. In the past I've also had a tradition of treating myself to something after a scary Dr visit. I have major anxiety about the Drs office, any Dr basically.


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