Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Monologue on a Mammogram

a.k.a. My Blog, My Boobs

October is breast cancer awareness month.

During my recent OB-GYN appointment, the nurse practitioner delivered a little diatribe on my uber-dense breasts, and asked if my yearly mammograms were "digital diagnostic." The bionic undertones implied by that phrase sounded impressive, and I somewhat sheepishly confessed my mammograms to date had all been the simple garden variety.

At her admonition, the agreement was made that I'd go NASA-level for all future peeks.

That said, my mammogram experience last week was a three-hour-tour. A three-hour-tour. No complaints from me -- the morning was the closest to a spa day I've ever experienced!

Instead of simply the stiff blue cotton "tie goes in the back" gown, what I was handed was virtually a penior set. Sure, the blue gown was the undergarment, but to top it, was a waffle knit, white cotton robe with the hotel -- I mean hospital -- insignia on one breast and a pink ribbon embroidered on the other. Spiffy.

Not sure what exactly I expected in a "digital diagnostic" mammogram, but I do know I expected to be able to take a rest in a white noise filled tube. No such luck. Regular ol' press and shoot.

The benefit is in the diagnostic. As a paradoxically floppy-yet-thickly breasted woman with a family history of breast cancer -- not to mention a personal past of "we need you to come in for a second set of shots" -- the diagnostic factor means this mammogram is comparable to one-hour film developing. A radiologist stands by and reviews the dailies while the mammary model waits.

After I re-tying my pure white loaner robe from the photo session, I was escorted to The Tea Room. THE TEA ROOM! And that's exactly what it was. Not a drop of coffee to be found (darn the caffeine-cyst-y breast connection)!

Fifteen minutes and three cups deep in instant Sanka later, I was flying through the stacks of magazines from 2005 to the present day a la Evelyn Wood; mentally composing what I knew would have to be a blog post about the breastfest my morning had become; and wondering who had the funny idea to scotch tape pink ribbons to the chests of the women in the framed print hanging on the tea room wall. The room was shockingly silent, and a quick stroll to the CD boom box revealed why. Stacks of Yanni and Kenny G. Nothing else says "we don't want you to stress out" quite like those two...of course the intent to calm/soothe is so transparent, if you weren't stressed beforehand, you would be after seeing the well-intended, but counterproductive, music choices. [Why not a little Gwen Stefani, or even Gloria Gaynor? Kicking, no caving...that's my mantra.]

In comes the sweet-as-sugar nurse with the Jackie O-meets-kewpie doll voice, "Honey, we need to do a couple more need for alarm, the doctor just wants to get a completely thorough look."

More snapshots of the breasts. More witty boob-based banter (forced from my end so the technician wouldn't think I was nervous) on the flaccidity of post-twin nursing boobs...think I made some bags of batter comparisons. Then, back to the tea room.

Truly, I wasn't worried. Embarrassingly, the thought crossed my mind that if perchance I did have cancer, and lost my hair, then folks would see the scabby mess my picked-at scalp must be when exposed. Oh, the skewed thinking to dodge the possible realities, eh?

Thirty minutes later, she of the cavity-causing voice returns. All clear given. Lifesaver bestowed.
In honor of Darren and Sarah's Grandma Ross (Stage 1, lumpectomy, survivor, 4+ years), their Great Aunt Janie (Stage unknown, double mastectomy, survivor 10+ years), and all whose lives have been touched by breast cancer, book your mammogram. Rock the Pink with PoshCravings (and maybe even win a prize!). Consider participating in the Gal-To-Gal Virtual Walk. Encourage and pray for those diagnosed. Support breast cancer research and businesses doing the same.

Please be aware. In October, and beyond.
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Jenny said...

I'm glad it turned out okay! I've already had my first mammogram even though I'm not the recommended age yet. My gynecologist found a lump when I was 19 during a breast exam. My favorite part was when they tightened the plates down and then told me to hold my breath (did I have any choice?). LOL. Then, like you said, because of dense breast tissue the mammo was pointless and they had to do a sonogram. Booo.

MereCat said...

Mammogram? Check! Already did it.

Boob based banter.. *snort*

Bia said...

A three hour tour for a mammogram?

But, oh, you have a fantastic sense of humor . . . I'll have to try that next time I go to the dentist because, truth be told, I loathe the dentist. I never have any problems, but I loathe it.

Maybe if I think of it as a spa day . . .

Seriously, though, I do have my yearly appt. in two weeks.

God bless.

Laura said...

I know.
I know.
Gotta go.
I feel like I just went.
Lifesaver idea is clever don't you think? (My little dense breast friend.)
Great narrative.

Lizz @ Yes, and So is My Heart said...

That was excellent! A day at the spa--funny.

Harris Boys said...

I'll get my first one in a few years...with my family history, I can't wait to get one.

love the mammowipes...hehe