Ladies, we have to have our mammograms but it sure isn’t a pleasant event. I put mine off for a few months this year and I’m sure glad it’s over.
I left the house that morning in good spirits, happy that I was getting this procedure done before the end of the year. When I arrived at the mammogram suite, it wasn’t crowded and I was the next in line. This was great; I could get back to work early.
I don’t know if my tech was in hurry, a bad mood or what but it sure translated to her work.
I admit the procedure is never a walk in the park but on this day it was the worst I’ve ever experienced. The tech pushed, pulled and smashed in an attempt to get me in the right position. I thought I was going to lose my mind and religion. She was about a head shorter than me and I’m wondering if that had an effect on what she was doing. If she would have asked I would have removed my shoes. She looked at the film and gave me the news that we had to do this over again. I was ready to cry.
Why can’t someone develop a more gentle method to do mammograms? In my heart of hearts I know that if a man had to go through this same test, being smashed between two cold plates, with a delicate part of his body it would be changed in a New York minute. Not too long ago I explained the mammogram process to a male friend of mine. I gave him great detail and then a few very graphic examples. He begged me to stop talking about it because he suddenly felt my pain.
Here is what I don’t get. How can all other areas of the body be X-rayed without this pain? What is so unique about the breast that it has to be smashed, pulled, tugged while pushing the shoulder in and pushing your hip out, holding your breath and standing absolutely still?
In the summer a window fell on my thumb. I had to have it X-rayed. Keep in mind my thumb was very sore but the X-ray itself did not hurt. Is there anyone working on a friendlier mammogram procedure? Can’t some of the money that is raised for cancer research go toward updated equipment? Dentists have made improvements on the things that they do, there are laser procedures that are much less painful so why does this test have to be so uncomfortable?
I believe if it was a little more tolerable some ladies wouldn’t shy away from the test and even more lives would be saved.
After the second go round the doctor was able to read my X-rays and I was free to leave. I was so worked up I needed some shopping relief. I almost went into a shopping tailspin. Thank goodness my willpower kicked in and I only bought a box of gourmet cookies, key lime and macadamia nuts. Give them a try. I found them in the “gourmet food” section at Ross.
Once I calmed down I headed to the office. The mammogram was over with and I’m grateful for another year of survival.
(E-mail the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org.)