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.
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?