Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Dreaded Mammogram

Mammograms.  UGH.  Yes they are valuable, important, life-saving. But boy do they hurt. The upper part of my chest, close to my underarms still hurts from the pinch of that machine.

In preparation, I email and call to find which facility (of the four in my town available to me through my insurance) has the most recent equipment.  No definitive answer but I'm advised to go to the Cancer Center as it's the newest facility.  

I enter the hushed wing.  The place was lovely.  An elegant waiting area, understated and beautiful changing rooms. Everything nice, welcoming, and meant to make you feel comfortable.  But there's no way your mammogram is gonna be comfortable.

The sweet technician, Connie, introduces me to the routine ahead, asks her questions, fills in her computer forms.  

"Any history of breast cancer in your family?" she queries.

"Yes.  My sister.  Died of breast cancer nine-and-a-half years ago," I answer as the tears well up and I bite down on my lip.

Trying to change the subject I ask, "Do you know what year this machine is?"

Connie is startled.  Not a question she's used to getting.  But like any good technician/customer service-provider she immediately starts to look at the machine.

"Well, gee, I don't know," she says examining any information she can find plated on that monstrosity, "I don't see the year but I can keep looking..." she assures me as she twists and turns around the gleaming monster.

"That's alright," I relent.  "I know they're new since this is a fairly new place."

"W-e-ll," she says slowly, starting to think about what I've asked.  "Actually some of the machines were moved over from Hospital South and I know this is one of them."

I must look crestfallen because she quickly adds, "But those machines aren't that old...I mean 2010 or maybe, MAYbe 2009."

Shit.  One more thing I should've checked on.

And so with gentle kindness, Connie positions first one breast and then the other. Stretching and bending and cranking and squishing as I grimace and hold my breath and just can't wait until it's over.

Let me ask you  IF men had to go once a year to check the health of their penis by laying it flat, on a tray, while an opposing surface pressed down hard, squashing it flat, and then a technician slowly turned a knob to compress the surface downward even FURTHER, and you felt the crunch of your appendage under that machine  don't you think if males were subjected to that kind of a test ONCE  let alone annually  a less painful option would've been invented LONG ago? 

It's not over 'til you get the results.
UPDATE:  Results are all clear...thank goodness!

1 comment: