As soon as I hit the ripe old age of 40 *gasp*, my doctor started nagging me about getting a mammogram.
I'll admit I avoided it because I was scared. There...I said it.
I was scared shitless because of all those women out there who have had it done and would love nothing more than to share their horror story with those of us who haven't had it done yet.
You know the horror stories I'm referring to, right? Kind of like the similar ones you hear when you're 8 months pregnant and actually looking forward to delivering your baby?
We all have that ONE friend who enjoys terrifying you with her graphic tales from her delivery experience.
"Oh yeah, I tore from here to there. I couldn't poop for weeks without feeling like my insides were being shredded all over again. And now....well, I pretty much need to get to a toilet ASAP because I have NO control over my asshole anymore!"
And, that, my friends, is why I looked forward to having a c-section both times.
But, I digress....back to the mammogram. So yeah, every friend I know who's had it done, went on and on about how painful the procedure was.
"They take your boobs and smash them down as hard as possible in between those two cold plates. And then the tech is man-handling your girls the entire time and you feel like a piece of meat. It's the most humiliating and awkward experience EVER!"
More humiliating and awkward than crapping in your pants because you have no control over your asshole? I think not.
Here's the horrifying thing about all this...I need to be proactive. My maternal grandmother had breast cancer and ended up with a single mastectomy and a lumpectomy on the other side. She was one of the lucky ones, ultimately winning her battle against cancer (she died years later though after having lived a long, full life).
Every time I would ask my mother if she'd had her mammogram done, she'd say, "Are you kidding? I can think of a million other things I'd rather do than have my breasts painfully crushed by a huge machine."
Just another person telling me how awful the procedure is. And I figured she's still alive so...
I know, I know. You can stop shaking your head now. I realized how silly my rationale was...especially after reading a blog post written by another twin mom whom I adore, Erin of The Mother Load.
She wrote about how she was just casually sitting around one evening watching a movie with her husband when she felt a lump on her breast. Next thing she knew, she was having an ultrasound and an MRI done...and not just on the breast where she found a lump but on the OTHER breast where her doctor discovered ANOTHER lump!
Because I identify so much with Erin as a person and as a mother, all I could think as I read her post was, "This could be me. If it can happen to her, it can happen to me".
It was right then that I decided enough was enough. I had to just suck it up and get the mammagram done. No more excuses...I mean, I've survived plenty of painful experiences (IVF injections, c-sections, endometrial biopsies...) so I knew adding one more to the mix wasn't going to be the end of the world.
So I go in the other day and resign to have the mammogram done. Oddly enough, I wasn't that nervous while waiting to be called back.
However, upon entering the room and seeing the gigantic machine staring me down, my heart began to pound.
The tech sweetly asked, "Is it your first time, honey?"
I was too overcome with fear to come up with something sarcastic in response....because you all know I would've if I hadn't been shaking in my shoes so badly.
Nodding my head, I answered, "Yes, it is...I'm kinda scared actually."
The tech smiled and said, "I'm sure you've heard horrible things about it, haven't you?"
She was so comforting about it that I was tempted to ask her to hold me. No, scratch that. I was tempted to ask her to adopt me.
She explained, "Well, things are different now. It's not as painful or uncomfortable as it used to be...you'll see."
I wanted so badly to believe her. She didn't seem like the type of person who would lie about such a thing, like my mom, who would always say, "This hurts me more than it hurts you" every time she'd spank me. I always wanted to retort back with, "Then how come you're smiling?"
Walking up to the machine, the tech gently nudged me forward and asked me to take down one side of my gown. She asked, "May I?" as she reached for my right breast.
"Okay", I answered. "It sure beats the ultrasound I had last year when the tech told me I had to insert the wand myself...you know, like in my, you know...uh, my privates."
She giggled and said, "Oh, that must have been awkward", as she placed my breast exactly where it needed to be on the machine.
She then guided the plate on top of my boob and then went to her little booth to take the picture.
I said, "Wait. My boob isn't completely smashed. It doesn't hurt yet."
Laughing, she responded, "Didn't I tell you?! Things have changed!"
The entire mammogram was done in less than 8 minutes. I'm not kidding, people....EIGHT MINUTES!
To say I felt silly is seriously understating it. It was as if a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders. I couldn't believe how long I had feared this exam and it only took 8 minutes of my life to get it done.
Before I left, she handed me a little box which held an adorable pink ribbon-shaped keychain and said, "In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this is a thank you from us for remembering to come in and have your mammogram done."
And that was it....I'll have the results within 2 weeks. Effortless. Done.
My point is that if you're like me...stalling on a simple exam that could literally save your life, don't. Don't wait any longer.
It's not as painful or as horrible as you may have heard. Really, it's not. And I'm a freakin wimp...I have a very low threshold for pain. I get a mild headache and I'm practically sobbing.
It sure beats getting a vaginal ultrasound with a tech who has absolutely no sense of humor, even as you try to lighten things up by telling him you had to clear the cobwebs first when he asks if you had any problems inserting the wand into your own....uh, nether regions.
Now, THAT, my friends, was inexplicably and undeniably dreadful.
The mammogram...not so much, thank God.
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