Yup. That’s right. I’m old now. I had my first mammogram the other day. I wanted to share my experience with you.
First off, I didn’t have my paperwork with me (yay! Moving! Can’t find anything!) I had the address plugged into my phone, but didn’t manage to enter the suite number, doctor’s name, or anything helpful. I arrive at the complex and look around, trying to figure out how I was going to find out where I was supposed to be. Should I walk into each one and say, “Am I supposed to be here?” It was awful!
I walked into my first choice (which boldly said, “radiology” outside the building). However, once I walked in, it spoke of removing tattoos. Um… probably not.
I walked back out to my car to try to call my PCP. Yah, that’s not going to happen. The only number I have is for my insurance and they’re completely unhelpful when you need to talk to your doctor. I could e-mail her, but there’s no telling how quickly she’d get back to me. Ugh!!!
I got out and started walking around. As I passed my initial first guess, I notice that it says, “Mammography.” I’m doing it. I’m just gonna go in and ask.
Yay! It was the right building!
Now, do I sit and wait or do I go to the bathroom? Is this doctor one who is always on time, or will I be sitting here for half an hour? I don’t want to be in the bathroom when my name is called, so I wait.
A few short minutes later, my name is called. Phew!
“How ya doin’?” she asked.
“Terrified. How about you?”
She laughed. “You’ll be fine. We’re going to do a 3D mammogram. It’s much less painful.”
I walk in and see a “robe” with a small box of chocolates on top. Boehms chocolates. Okay. We’re off to a good start here.
She leaves, I undress and put the robe on. She re-enters and the fun begins.
I swear – I got more action there than I have at home in a while. She was all about man-handling my massive boobs. She did it very nonchalantly, reminding me that she does this all day, every day. Touching another woman’s boobs is probably no different than shaking someone’s hand to her.
It was weird!
And then I remembered that I had forgotten to brush my teeth. She was right in my face as she touched my underboob sweat (ewwww!!!) I didn’t want to add insult to injury by making my morning breath wash over her. No talking!
Much to my delight, she was right. It didn’t hurt. Much. Due to the type of mammogram, it didn’t take as much squishing – only enough to keep my boobs in place. Yay! And someone had forwarned me that I’d have to stand on my tippy toes during the whole process – nope. Flatfooted the entire time. She raised the machine to my height, so I was completely at ease the whole time. Woo-hoo!
It was done relatively quickly. I re-dressed and then was escorted to the viewing room, where the image of my x-rayed boobs were larger than life. Wait – were those lifesize? Exactly how big are my boobs, anyway? Yikes!
I was left sitting for a while. As I studied my images, worst case scenarios starting running through my head. What are those streaky things? What are those bright spots? Oh my god! I’ve got cancer! I’m gonna die!
I’m supposed to get a job to help pay rent. Once I get a job, I’m going to lose my insurance. Then I’ll die for sure.
Mr. C isn’t here to hold my hand while I get the bad news. I’m going to sit here and break down with nobody to hold me. This is gonna be the worst!
As I was planning my funeral, the doctor walks in, shakes my hand (very firmly – not something I get a lot of, as a woman), and walks to the image. I join him, bracing myself.
He explains the 3D process, explains why it hurts less, and tells me that I don’t need a reference, so I can just call in a year to reschedule. He makes the image come to life, starting with the skin (visible pores – ick!) and then moves through my breast tissue, showing me that there was no cancer.
“What about those streaks?”
He assures me that’s just breast tissue.
“And those bright spots?”
“So, I’m good?”
I shake his hand and walk out, my health and life restored. Yay! I’m gonna live!
So, long story short (too late!) the worst part about my mammogram was my imagination. Yay!
For those of you who have yet to have a mammogram – I don’t know about the regular ones, but the 3D ones are about about as painful as a dental cleaning (and much faster).
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