Updated: Apr 4, 2019
So, like most women I was always at the bottom of my list of things to do. I was simply not a priority. I was in a new job, in a new department of the company I had been working for 10 years. Then somehow I found myself with a second job as the Town Clerk and Tax Collector for the town we live in (that’s another story in itself). Add in taking care of an elderly relative as well as the usual things we women do, you know, laundry, housework, meals, bills, shopping, etc.
I had always been good at keeping my mammogram appointments. I mean I had a family history. My maternal grandmother died of breast cancer. I did already have an appointment for my mammogram; I made it the year before. But, work was crazy, I was busy at the town job and my aunt was getting to a point she couldn’t live on her own. Things came up so I rescheduled the appointment. And then I actually ended up cancelling that appointment as well. I knew the mammogram was important but I guess going in and getting my boobs squished is not something I (or any woman) is ever eager to do. It was easier to push it off than make time for it.
A couple of months had passed. I was working one morning (I work from home), still no mammogram. I was listening to Good Morning America on the TV (my go to morning show). Robin and Amy were discussing how Robin had previously convinced Amy to do a mammogram live & on air. They talked about how Amy said no at first because she had no family history and Robin pointed out that 80% of the women diagnosed under the age of 40 had no family history. Amy eventually agreed to do it. As it turned out, they did actually find cancer. After listening to Amy & Robin talk more about that and some statistics I decided it was time to make and keep an appointment. I had just recently received a card from Borg Imaging on the new 3D mammograms. I called and made the appointment. I asked for the 3D mammogram. I was advised I would have to pay an additional $75.00. The insurance wouldn’t cover the new test even though it gave a better result. So I was going to have to pay additional money to get my boobs squished with a better view. Go figure.
The day of the appointment had arrived. I got up and got showered. As I was getting dressed the bell went off in my head, Ding- Ding –Ding! Mammogram today. No body lotion, no deodorant. Dang! Back in the shower I went. Yup, off to a good start so far.
I arrived mostly on time for my appointment. I paid my co pays (that’s plural to include the additional $75.00) and headed back to the land of pain. I went in to the changing cubby, stripped to the waist and donned my hospital gown. I waited for them to come get me. They are usually pretty good and don’t leave you sitting too long. After a few minutes I was retrieved and led to the room. As I walked in and saw the machine sitting there with the 2 paddles (I think that’s what they are called) my boobs started to twinge with sympathy pain. I would like to know how they ever devised this method, I mean who came up with this idea? Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s a better system than they had years ago and many lives have been saved with it. However, you can’t convince me that someone involved in designing the Mammogram machine didn’t also dabble in the study of ancient torture techniques and contraptions.
OK-ok, back to the mammogram. You know the routine… Drop one arm out of the robe, step up to the machine, get your boob onto the lower paddle, step in this way, step over that way, put this arm here, put that arm there, turn in, drop your shoulder, hold that….don’t breath…..ok breath, change the position, go this way, go that way. Change the paddle, do it all again. The paddles were clear so I couldn’t help but watch while they lower the upper paddle down with my boob in between. I didn’t think my boobs could go that flat, turns out they can & do. Somehow I got the idea that with the 3D mammogram they wouldn’t have to squish as hard. Wrong.
So, after doing all the positions on the right side it was time for the left side. This is where it really got fun (not). You go through the same sequence on both sides. But, she kept repositioning my left boob and re-squishing it to retake the picture. She told me she couldn’t get a clear picture and needed to clamp a little harder (oh joy). I lost track of how many times my left boob got flattened. I just kept thinking I wasted the extra $75.00 I paid for the 3D mammogram when she couldn’t get a good picture. By the time we got done I was convinced my left boob was going to stay flattened out and I’d look like someone out of a National Geographic magazine. Thankfully, it did not. It was sore for a day or two, but it went back to normal. Well, at least I wouldn't have to do this again for another year…… Then I got the letter.