So, it was time for the yearly mammogram. Oh, joy. One of the few times someone squeezes my breasts and I don’t enjoy it. It’s like getting groped by Optimus Prime.
But, as we women all know, it’s a necessary task as we age, especially if we have a family history of breast cancer, which I do. So, I go. And I’m grateful for the kind, gentle technicians who work with me. (The technicians are gentle. That machine, though, is another story.)
They’ve updated the tech since last year and now it takes 3-D images, meaning they lock one of your girls into place, squoosh it almost flat, and the camera machine thingy circles around the smooshed breast to get images from all around it.
Yeah, it’s about as much fun as it sounds. Especially when the technician has to remind you to hold your head back so the camera doesn’t swing around and whack you in the face. It’d be just my luck I’d get bonked with the machinery and end up unconscious but still trapped, smooshed up against the plate, waking up later with a monstrous headache and a big square bruise on my boob. Try explaining that to my insurance company…
Beyond all that, let’s review what we need to do, friends, to keep ourselves healthy:
- Do a self-exam at least once a month in the shower. Or have your partner do it for you for extra fun. Think of it as an Easter egg hunt for very, very, very tiny Easter eggs… that you don’t really want to find.
- If you’re over 40, schedule a mammogram once a year. This is especially important if you have a family member who’s had breast cancer. Or if you’re a masochist.
- Remember not to put on deodorant or powder or perfume the day of your mammogram. These will interfere with the results. Besides, you’re not there to entice the technician, right? Save that smelly crap for your spouse.
- Try not to flinch when that technician comes at you with her blue latex gloves and helps you place your girls on that cold, clear plastic squishing plate. And don’t blink when she tries to engage you in normal conversation while manipulating your armpits so the camera gets the image right the first time. (“How about those Steelers?” is a good conversation starter almost everywhere. Almost.)
- Getting pictures taken of your girls is a vital health screening for us middle-aged women. But, before you leave, remember to ask the technician for a few wallet-size pics for your husband. He’ll thank you. Well, mine would, but then again, he’s an engineer, so the rules of normalcy don’t always apply to him.
I made it through another mammogram last week, and I get to breathe easy till next summer. (Literally. You can hardly breathe when that machine clamps down. Yikes.)
I hope all you womenfolk out there suck it up and get your mammos! They could save your life. Just try not to take them too seriously while you’re in the middle of them.