07 Oct 2010

Mammogramania!

No Comments Health

Every responsible, adult woman has a mammogram story.  Here’s mine:

I started getting mammograms earlier than 40, because I found a little cyst in my breast a few years back. Luckily it was just a benign cyst, but I continue to get regular mammograms to stay on top of it.  The office I go to is kind of sad and dreary and a little unorganized. I usually have to wait about 45 minutes past my appointment time. The woman who does my mammogram is lovely, but speaks very fast in a dialect that’s quite hard to understand. She pushes and prods my boobs with no apology or explanation, checks her computer and starts again on the other boob. I always leave feeling cold, bewildered and odd.

Today I walked into the same space, but it was a bit cheerier and cleaner, and the new ladies at the front seemed very helpful and incredibly organized. The old office has been taken over, and it’s a whole new regime.  I filled out paperwork, and was sent back at exactly my appointment time.  I changed and walked into the FREEZING mammogram room. (I know they keep it that way to protect the equipment, I just find it funny). The two technicians debated on whether to use the small or large plate, one of them even walking over to look at my chest.  “Big?  You think? I’d go with the small, but let’s do big”.  Nice.  I haven’t had “big” in a sentence about my boobs since I stopped breast feeding.

So now this perky, sweet, blonde tech takes my right breast and places it on the metal plate, bringing the plastic plate from above down on it and twisting the knob just enough to make my tit look like a crepe.  She was very careful to make sure she was getting all my breast tissue in, without getting any superfluous skin in there too.  She was so thorough and nice and happy, I almost didn’t notice the pain.  Left Boob gets the same treatment.  Now it’s Side View Time. Arm up, boob in, chin up, mention of armpit skin, plates down, twist, twist, OUCH! That friggin’ hurts like a bitch!  “Take a deep breath. Don’t breathe”. Check the computer. Done.  Now the right. Same drill.  Check the computer. OOPS!  Need another.  Another? Twist, twist, deep breath, check the computer, DONE!

It hurt.  A lot.  But it was quick and easy and I was out of there before I could even really register what happened.  They told me the films would go to my doctor and the results would also be mailed to me.  I didn’t feel bewildered or odd.  Just happy that I made this appointment.

Whenever I go get a mammogram, I look around the waiting room at all the women. Some of them are scared, some are just going through the routine, some are really old and I wonder what those mammograms look like! But most of all, I realize that we’re all women who have breasts, and therefore have the possibility of having breast cancer. Every single person in my family who is no longer with us has died from some form of cancer.  It’s imperative I stay on top of my health. (Or abreast of my health, seems more appropriate). It’s not a fun procedure, but it’s an important one. And I hope every woman reading this post is getting theirs this year, and every year.  Also, please do self exams. I always feel kind of weird doing them, but they’re so incredibly vital. I did a PSA for The Style Network last year, and apparently the new way to do it is lying down. You can even ask your husband for help!

This video DETAILS how to do a self-exam!

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Lisa Arch likes being a working actress... but LOVES being a Mom!
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