"The girls are all right" or " What I am thankful for this Thanksgiving" | ijustneed2talk's Blog
Okay so...hmmm...I will warn any male readers that this is a blog about my mammogram this week. So, if you like boobs great, but don't be squeamish about the girl talk. Okay?
It was a couple of years after it was recommended but I finally did it this year. I took some vacation time around my birthday and did some fun things but I didn't plan to really do too much so i took care of several appointments I'd been putting off and the mammogram was one of them.
I was suprised at myself that I actually spent a good ten minutes worrying and wondering what life would be like if I actually did have breast cancer and had to go through a mastectomy and chemotherapy. I've heard about and applaud so many women every day going through this experience and surviving. I know a couple of women who went on to have children after going through cancer treatment. However when I actually contemplated the possibility for myself it was a little scary. So many things would be taken from me that identify me as well....me. One of them is my breasts. They are large-ish and I like them. And so do some other people. It's a huge (haha Pun) source of pleasure for me and while they are getting older, they still look good when wearing a proper bra. Still I thought about life without them and well I guess they could be reconstructed, new and improved so to speak, so that could be fixed. (and they would be elevated to the proper height, surgically, eventually). It would be much easier to run without them and I'm certain it would make me look thinner.
So then i got to thinking about chemotherapy. My hair. OMG. My hair tells people what sort of a day i'm having. If it's up in a bun or pony I'm either running or working. If it's full and lovely I've had some time on my hands to groom or I want to look nice for you. Most of the time it's fluffy and softly curled, it's just my normal everyday look and I'm relaxed and just getting along with my happy day. I would have absolutely no confidence without it. I hate having a bad hair day and my self esteem takes a huge hit. I become more introverted and can't make eye contact. Strange. I suppose I would have to adapt and would get fun hats and pretty scarves and get used to it.
So, i had a real hard dose of reality at how much vanity is actually within me. I didn't realize this about myself, or it's not something i really have thought too much about. I also know, as i have administered chemo to my patients, that the side effects are a bitch, very dangerous, and 'oh yea' you have cancer and might die. I would think I would have a much different perspective if I really had to deal with this. I'd have more things on my mind than how good i look in a tight shirt or what kind of a hair day i was having.
I calmed myself down a little and did a self exam and everything felt the same. Oh man they were tender and full! I was dreading getting squished into the machine. I've heard all the jokes about being squished into the scanner and what ever but I simply couldn't believe that this is what happens. I had it done at my hospital which is a large medical system and I work on the pediatric side of things so I didn't know anyone there. The techs in the breast care center were not anyone i knew. We have been working on public image throughout the facility and everyone was super nice, so extremely satisfied with the customer service. However, I was shown back to my dressing area. No lock on the door. Really? It was one of those folding pocket type doors. I was given my special mammogown. Fairly functional and kept everything covered, but the temperature was cold when i was fully dressed and became even colder after my bra came off! I was shocked honestly. The only function of this particular area is to scan naked boobies. Keep the temperature up a little. I thought maybe the staff who are actually working might be warm but they all had jackets on. i had to remove my deodorant also. They should've warned us about this, I would've brought my own for afterwards. I had things planned, one of them was a jog.
The technician was really sweet and had no problems getting me set up. She was professional business like but not gentle nor rough. I don't know I guess I felt like I should've been handled with care better. I held onto this handle with my left arm first and placed my left breast onto the table, then a plastic box shaped holder was placed on top of it and just when i was uncomfortably clamped in, she twisted this handle that made it even tighter. I wasn't standing on my tippy toes but it was stretched upwards just enough to be slightly too high. Then i had to hold my breath. She told me i could breath finally and we waited to make sure the image was acceptable. I had to hold the same position but at least I could breath. no worries though! if I pass out, that clamp would never have allowed me to fall to the floor. I had this image of my limp body dangling from the breast clamp of the scanner. I was almost reduced to uncontrollable giggles at the thought, but soon was commanded to repeat the process with the right one. Okay I don't think I appear uneven but the right one is definitely bigger than the left. So the same process and i thought it was all over. Oh no! We did each side again in a different view.
When it was all over, i returned to my dressing room thinking about how much better would have been if they took a spa approach to it. The waiting room could be a calm, low light room with a comfy chair and soft music with some pleasant aroma therapy going. your dressing room would have a locker for your valuables and it would be warmed, with a warm soft mammogown to put on. Your technician would come take you by the arm to your scanner and gently guide through the process. There would be like a spray on deodorant for you to use when you are finished. There could be a tea bar or cucumber water to have to drink when you are finished. If you are still cold you could sit in the sauna until you are warmed up.
I suppose this is too much to ask and health care already costs too much. It would definitely make me less anxious about coming back in two years for the next one. Oh! The most impressive thing about the whole thing is I already have my results! I sorta question it though because it seems like it was a little too soon to get them but hey it's good news. The girls are all right.
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