Monday, March 3, 2008

The First Mammogram

To all of my male will likely find this post of little interest, so feel free to sign off, or read on.

Today I took the leap and finally had my first mammogram. I had planned to do it last year when I turned 40, but my intent was not followed up with rapid action. First, I didn't realize I would need a prescription from my doctor, then when I finally tracked that down and made the call - trying to squeak it in before I turned 41, I was confounded by the need to wait 3 months for an appointment....who knew?

After all of the horror stories I'd just like to start by saying - women need to stop bitching about this and scaring our younger sisters! I've had worse discomfort from sitting in one position on a plane for 14 hours!

The whole thing began with a female technican positioning me in front of the x-ray machine and matter of factly sticking little pasties with steel tips on my nipples. She was talking about whether rain was expected and I think I blinked once or twice before answering her due to the incongruity of having someone handling my breasts and talking about the weather. Then she hefted a breast up onto the plate, set the motor to "SQUEEEEEZZZE" and kept chattering, with brief interruptions like:

"still ok?"
"just about there"
"There! Hang on I'll be quick!"

After the two base shots I thought we were done, but she still needed to do the diagonal shots. This was a little more awkward and can catch your rib or your shoulder/collar bone a little, but still NOT PAINFUL. Just uncomfortable.

When done, she gave me a fact sheet and went off to make sure the film was good for analysis. Two minutes later I was getting dressed and on my way to work. The entire appointment, including insurance paperwork, took all of 25 minutes from entry to exit. Piece of cake.

When driving to work, I suddenly realized I had never removed the pasties. I reached inside my shirt and bra and tugged one off and I would have to say THAT was the most painful moment of the morning. And hopefully did not give the truck driver in the next lane a moment of pause.

So ladies, if you are of the 40+ range and have not been getting your regular mammograms, I dare you to go and I promise...the bark is much worse than the bite.


KiKi said...

When I went for my first mammo two years ago, I was terrified. I kept hearing horror stories. The experience was so ridiculously easy (freezing cold but painless). Initially I was going to need them every six months (I'm high risk) but now it's once every other year.

Ladies - ya gotta JUST DO IT.

lyndaspix said...

Excellent post, and I agree, it's not so bad. The stories make it seem much worse than it really is.

My first mammogram showed something "suspicious" which prompted a lumpectomy, only to find out that said suspicious area was nothing more than a lymph node in an unusual, but not unheard of location. UGH!

Melissa said...

Yeah, I had one two years ago due to a scare and it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Just uncomfortable.

You just know if men had to have an equivalent for their external organs that they would find SOME way to make it less painful!

A's Mom said...

Bet that will leave a red mark!! Ouch!

Stephanie said...

I second (third, and fourth maybe?) the thought that it's just not that bad. I had to have one a few years back because of a "suspicious, but possibly fibrous, mass".

It was uncomfortable, but I think it was more uncomfortable baring it for someone I didn't know at all... the absolute non-exhibitionist in me coming out. :)

Glad you got it done. It is so important.