Received this e-mail from my friend Chrysanthemum today:
Although it is not Breast Cancer Awareness month, I am taking this time to share my mammogram experience with those of you not fortunate enough to experience this. And those of your UNDER 40, have much to look forward to.
As a woman over 40, and the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, I happily(?) go for a mammogram each year. Now we all know about the horror stories of smashed boobs on cold metal.....they are very much true. Your journey will start in a lovely decorated waiting area. Here you will be given a white waffle weave spa robe (one size DOES NOT fit all) and told to strip from the waist up. You will be told to remove any deodorant you might have on and given a locker to put your belongings in. Then you are herded to another room where the fun begins. After the smashing, tugging, and squishing of each boob, you are sent to a holding area. Several women are here, also there are snacks and a television. You wait there until you are told that the x-rays are good and you can leave. I never get to leave. I always have to go back for MORE x-rays.
Once released, you are told that results will be in a week or two, by mail.....unless there is a problem. They always call me the next day. I need to see a surgeon for a biopsy. I know the drill. I am given forms to fill out and told to be at the hospital on a certain date, have a responsible person with me, wear lose clothing and a bra.
On my designated morning, I arrive at 7am, as instructed. I fill out more paperwork and go to the nice room where I put on my waffle weave spa robe. The nurse takes me to the room where the procedure will be performed. The nurse is nice and tells me what will take place. Here is what they don't tell you:
You will be stripped down to your loose fitting pants or skirt.
You will then climb onto a large table with a big hole in it. Guess what goes in the hole??
Now lay on your stomach and put the one boob into the hole.
Now the other boob is back up on the table and being squished under you.
Put your arms by your sides.
Turn your head to the side.
You are very uncomfortable.
Now the table is raised up in the air. Am I getting my oil changed?
The nurse is now standing underneath the table and looking eye level at my boob.
Nurse puts boob in some type of vice and takes x-rays.
The computer now give the coordinates of the site. Are we tracking a hurricane?
Large needle/machine gun is lined up with coordinates.
Surgeon appears and extracts samples.
Surgeon leaves to speak with responsible adult that accompanied you.
Nurse lowers table, and helps you up.
Bandages are applied.
Nurse helps you hook bra.
Nurse gives you an ice pack to put inside bra to reduce swelling and bruising.
Nurse escorts you to responsible adult.
Responsible adult is hungry and wants to go to McDonald's for breakfast.
You are in a t-shirt with an ice pack in my bra.
It is JUNE. Ice pack begins to melt.
You are in McDonald's with a big wet spot on one boob.
Go home and take it easy the rest of day.
Sleep in bra.
Take shower in the morning and realize that your boob looks like is has been beaten with brass knuckles.
Wait for results of biopsy next week.
No doubt a man designed this whole procedure.
Wishing that none of you are ever "up on the rack",