I had a mammogram yesterday. It was only my second mammogram, but I remember thinking after my first mammogram that I really didn't understand all the anxious hype and hoopla. It had been a little physically uncomfortable and maybe if you felt uneasy getting naked in front of a stranger or having a lady manhandle your breast, it might be a little emotionally uncomfortable too....but beyond that....not a big deal.
I guess my memory is worse than I thought.
Because when describing yesterday's mammogram to my daughters at the dinner table (my son was at a wrestling meet, thus missing the Mammo-chat, for which he is most thankful), I said it was akin to placing your breast on top of an car's open window sill, and then pressing the button to close the window, letting it squeeze the life out of your boob until the window glass jams. Yeah. Yeah. That's pretty much it. I could see from the look on my husband's face that, in his mind, witnessing a mammogram would probably rival witnessing your wife using a breast pump on the Sexy Scale. No one wants to see those things stretched, squashed, and contorted beyond recognition.
My technician today was very sweet, but her only instruction to me besides, "Don't breathe", "Hold still", and "Could you please hold your other breast out of the way" was....."Tell me when it's more than you can bear."
"More than you can bear."
Who can say when something is REALLY more than you can bear? Is it when you feel like your breast might pop? When you start to see stars? Do any of us really know how much discomfort we are capable of bearing? When is too much too much?
I don't know. But I think I surpassed it.
And when I would squeak, "UNCLE!", she would calmly say, "Excellent...hold it...hold it...don't breathe." So it was actually, "ratchet it up to more than you can bear" and then, "bear it for just a few more seconds."
And the hospital gown? After the brief walk to and from the mammography room, really just superfluous. There was so much, "This side", "That side", "Up, Down, Over", that after a while, any attempts at modesty were laughable. The gown ended up hindering more than helping.
Sitting in the little Ladies Area afterward, while I waited to see if re-takes were necessary, I felt a kinship with the other ladies-in-waiting, all of us clutching at our pink gowns which threatened to reveal the sore floppy breasts underneath. There isn't a lot of dignity to be had in the Ladies Waiting Room, but I'm sure there was anxiety and achiness to spare. And lots of good magazines. That's where they've been hiding them. Tricky old ladies.
All in all, a very small price to pay for healthy boobs. And really, the most uncomfortable part of the adventure was peeling off the little "Spee-D-mark" stickers from my, as Gracie would say, "Boobie Stars". Yowza. Not as bad as waxing...but just a little worse than removing a band-aid.
Can't wait for the next mammogram. 42. Just loaded with good stuff.