Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Holy cow, that's a lot of pressure

So. I had the mammogram. It was my first one and I wish beyond belief it could be my last because I would rather swim with sharks than do that again. At least if I were swimming with sharks I’d pass out and not be aware of the horror. The horror.

Okay, fine, swimming with sharks would probably kill me and having a mammogram certainly won’t. It could even save my life. I should interject a bit more rationality here. Hmm… I’m afraid rationality will have to wait because I can almost still feel the life being squeezed out of my boobs. And they hurt for 3o minutes afterward. Thirty dadgum minutes. Which I know because that’s how long it took me to drive home from the doctors’ office. (That, of course, included a stop at McDonald’s because even though it was 8:45 in the morning I absolutely needed a diet Coke.)

I got to the doctors’ office at 7:50 am for my 8:00 am appointment; they had all my paperwork in order and at 8:02 I was called back. Quite the efficient office at the Sparrow Professional Building. Despite the incredible cheer spread by each staff member I encountered, I was sweating like crazy which was a problem since you can’t wear deodorant or antiperspirant before a mammogram.

The nurse doing the mammogram was great. She asked if it was my first time; the fear must have been oozing from my pores. She said not to worry, that she’d explain everything before anything happened. And she did. She told me exactly where to hold onto the machine, exactly where she was going to place my breast, exactly where she was going stand to snap the picture. And then she exactly said, “You’re going to feel a little pressure.” Alarms went off in my head. Pressure is a nice way of saying, “You’re going to feel a lot of pain.” And honey, I did. I felt pressure and then pain and then more pressure and then more pain.

“You know, your breasts are very dense. That’s why you might be feeling more pressure,” said my nurse. “There are some women who can get flattened right out and don’t seem to mind at all.”

Number one, I could have gone my whole life not knowing I have dense breasts, and number two, I don’t care that other women can sing Yankee Doodle Dandy while being flattened like a pancake. Don’t. Care. Because right then, all I could think about was whether or not the lightning flashes of pain would ever stop shooting through my boobs.

In an attempt to calm myself down between smooshings (all told there were four smooshing, two per side), I told the nurse I was going to write about my first mammogram experience. Her jovial manner instantly changed. “Now, don’t scare people!” she said. No, no, I promised. I will say my experience was all daisies and gum drops and I hope to come back weekly, nay, daily, for such a wonderful breast massage.

When it was over, I went back to my little dressing room which was equipped with aerosol deodorant; I destroyed lots of the ozone layer as I liberally applied it. Then I got dressed and walked out. All told, the process took 40 minutes. I was impressed with Sparrow, I was impressed with each woman who helped me and I was impressed that I did not burst into tears as my breasts were flattened within an inch of their lives.

When I got home I started working with Rebecca on math.  Boobie smooshing and long division all within an hour of each other. What a day.

At least there were no sharks.

(Seriously, if you haven’t had a mammogram, get thee to a doctor and have one. For all my complaining it wasn’t all that bad. Oh, wait, it was. But it’s worth it.)