All moms should be divas...this one just happens to be in Jersey!

Monday, October 25, 2010

What to Expect When Expecting (a Mammogram)

I’ve done the 3Day Breast Cancer Walks twice, run fund drives, and bought countless pink ribbon t-shirts, pens, candles, etc. I've truly tied one on. The ribbon I mean. So why did it take me 3 months from the time the OB/GYN gave me the referral slip to actually set the date? No good reason. Just that mom-stall we seem to do when we get everyone to the doctor before ourselves. This wasn’t my first time. At 39, my doctor sent me for one as the base-line recommended for women “40 and over.” I was traumatized not by the mammography itself, but by him rushing me to 40. “It’s only two months early, so may as well.” That was easy for him to say, the wicked bastard.

So, anywhooo… it got me to thinking that many may not know what's going to happen when the girls are ready for their close-up. As a public service, I would like to prepare any of you who have not had one yet, and remind any of you who may be due. Male readers, I ask only for laughs with us, not at us. Imagine someone ghoulishly doing this to your man parts. Without further delay, here is Jersey Diva Mom’s What to Expect: Mammography Edition:

1) They will tell you no deodorant. This will seem like no big deal until you instantly become self conscious and convince yourself you now smell like the gym bag of a 13 year old boy. You will eye the courtesy cans of Secret on the shelf like frat guys eyeing kegs. Just breath. At least, until they tell you to stop.

2) Shave. For the love of God, think of the tech staff doing these all day.

In Process:
1) They will squish you this way and that, all while surreally chatting about the weather and traffic, as if every day, your chest is grabbed, fondled, pulled, and pushed accompanied by mundane chatter. Perhaps it’s good you don’t really start these until 40. Were this done to my 20yr old girls, there would have been more resistance. At 40, there’s a little more pancake-ability. Well, that’s at least a little silver lining.

2) Just when you think an appendage could not be any flatter and still be attached, it will get flatter.

3) Let’s touch upon the imaging plates. They are ice cold slabs that leave you feeling like a gummi bear under the metal spatula wrath of a Coldstone Creamery worker with anger issues. Is it the worst pain ever? No. But you’ll think twice before manhandling the chipmunk cheeks of a cute 3 year old next time.

4) They will tell you, “don’t breath.” Really? I was so busy trying not to yelp like when someone steps on the dog’s tail that I forgot to breath.

5) When they say don’t move, don’t. I laughed at that because it seemed so impossible. I couldn’t really double over laughing seeing as how I was intimately attached to something that looks like it’s used to assemble Chryslers in its spare time. However, my painful outburst caused a retake. Oh joy.

1) Know what you don’t know. I, for one, can not read imaging pics to save my life. In utero sonograms are like optical illusions to me, so I’m not sure what I thought I’d decipher in my mammo pics. As fate would have it, I appear to have a Rorschach test in my breast. It looked like a squirrel with a big nut. Or maybe a witch leaning over a cauldron. How very Halloween of you, left breast. I had no bloody clue what I was looking for, and nearly worked myself into a panic at the solid rounded spot on the tip. My brain cleared, and it occurred to me that was supposed to be there. Whew.

2) Treat yourself (or the girls at least) to something nice. Just as you would reward a child for a brave trip for shots, show some love to your body parts as they desperately try to bounce back into shape. Mine were treated to Victoria’s Secret and a pumpkin spice latte (for nurturing inside and out).

3) Be honest when people ask you how it feels, but don’t be a drama queen who scares friends away. Bottom line, mammograms are super important. In the scheme of things, they’re just uncomfortable, and over in a jiff.

Don't believe me it's not so bad? Compare it to some of the other things we do, VOLUNTARILY. It took less time than getting my nails done, and seriously I sit there like a zombie while some woman cackling away in a language I don’t understand comes at me with a Dremel sander for that. There are no noxious fumes or chemicals to overwhelm you, like we do to our hair each month. And when it comes to pain, it’s not even a fraction of the ever-frightful Brazilian bikini wax. I still shudder at the thought of the howling emanating from that room at the salon last time.

And really, when was last time you heard of a Brazilian saving a life?


  1. You are hilarious! Thanks for sharing your experience with something that isn't all that fun or funny to talk about! And so glad to hear it's less painful than a Brazilian. OUCH. I'll never do that again! LOL.

  2. Whoa, boobs and cauldrons! And I was marveling at your "pancake-ability" term!

    I'm hoping that my lack of boobage may bode well for mammograms when I'm older???

  3. This post was both enlightening and hilarious. I think you need to get a job writing public service announcements. For mammograms, that is. I don't think you could pay me enough to get a Brazilian.

  4. I'm not sure having less is more with mammograms. I still remember one of my good friends mom's talking about how she had to wrap both arms around the machine to get her little boob in the thing.

    Pancakability now, that's a bonus!

    I'm just glad I have a few more years before the routine boobular testing!

  5. A good laugh and quite accurate. Given my family's history, my doc gave the option of going for a baseline at 35 if I wanted to and I did.

    As you said, uncomfortable but really not a big deal.

    My boobs are my two favorite accessories, and I intend on keeping them!

  6. Informative and funny.
    You're my kinda gal!
    I have a mam' scheduled for next month. My best friend just got diagnosed and had a double mastectomy. Just wrong. But we all no know we need to scan the titties.

  7. omg such a good, informative post, and I LOVE the point about how it takes longer to have our nails done than to have the mammogram. And at least I can understand the chick doing the mammogram. When I get my nails done, I always feel like the Asian ladies are laughing at me.

  8. Another hilarious post from the Jersey Diva Mom! I especially love this part: "Let’s touch upon the imaging plates. They are ice cold slabs that leave you feeling like a gummi bear under the metal spatula wrath of a Coldstone Creamery worker with anger issues." Stumbled your post and wrote the review! :)

    Kristi, Live and Love...Out Loud

  9.! Fantastic post but I still cannot believe the horror that is a mammogram. Seriously, I can't believe we haven't come up with something better by now. Gotta love the pancake-ability though...yeah that helps a little.

  10. I did a baseline at 35 and it hurt like hell! Of course they told me it would because the twins are less resistant as you put it! And size doesn't matter! Mine aren't all that big and they squeezed them in there!

    A major treat is most definitely in order after that!

  11. Great post! A great big thumbs-up for mammo's...they're really not that bad. Your pedicure and waxing comparisons are right on....we endure far more pain for vanity's sake!

  12. I got a huge smile from this post. Awesome! I'm a breast cancer survivor so I applaud you for finally going and gettin' r done.

  13. Very apt description. At 69, I am very pancakeable. The part that bothered me most was the edge of the top plate on my chest. Felt like it wanted to scrape the skin off. The rest was a piece of cake.

  14. That was nice of you to share, so many women try to avoid this as long as they can. My cousin is fighting breast cancer right now, we lost her mom some years ago, and I'm very afraid about this disease. Unfortunately, this does happen to me daily: "every day, your chest is grabbed, fondled, pulled, and pushed accompanied by mundane chatter." My 7 month old is no pushover!