To any male readers, I apologize in advance. This post is entirely "female" in nature, if you get my drift. Daddy, if a small miracle has occurred and you are actually reading the blog today, I promise you that you want to STOP reading right now. Forewarned is forearmed.
Today, I had my first mammogram. Today, I also found out what it feels like to be a panini. You know those yummy sandwiches at Panera? They stuff them full with tomato and mozzarella (my personal favorite) or other yummy things and then use some fancy machine to smoosh them within an inch of their little triangle-shaped lives and serve them to you with a side of chips and a pickle. I had the exact same experience today. Except that I wasn't filled with tomato and mozzarella. Although that may have made the experience more.....ummmm......palatable??!
Those of you women who have ever experienced a mammogram or even a gynecology appointment know that although your actual appointment may be at 11:30, the appointment preparation begins about two hours before you leave the house. And that's how my day began as well. I shaved my legs for the first time in........a while. (This turned out to be a HUGE waste of time as I didn't actually have to remove my jeans for the mammo.) Then I chose my best pair of free Victoria's Secret undies in white, pink, tan, or black (because those are the only colors that are free). This also turned out to be a waste of time as I didn't have to remove my jeans so no one saw my free underwear. Choosing my "best bra" was more of a chore. Pretty unmentionables are not something that I spend money on--as you probably figured out by the frequent mention of my FREE underwear. Again, a waste of time because my "best bra" spent the entire mammogram folded neatly under my shirt in Locker #8.
As I got dressed, I was acutely aware of the fact that I could not apply deodorant or anything of the sort. Now, how my Lady Speed Stick can get in the way of showing a potential mass in my breast I will never understand, but I'm a rule follower, so I followed the rules. And, just to be sure, I didn't apply any lotion, perfume, or even mascara. Because, you just never know......
I arrived and checked in at the radiology center without incident. Miraculously, I only waited about five minutes before I was called back. Interestingly, the nurse called my name (pronounced incorrectly of course) and one other lady's name at the same time. Then she walked us back to the changing rooms together and gave us the "speech" together. You know the one about how the shirt has to tie in the front and how there are "mammo wipes" for those people who didn't follow the rules and used deodorant. (Yes--there really ARE mammo wipes! Why didn't I think of that??) I was beginning to think that Obama's universal healthcare had kicked in already and they were doing "group mammograms" when she sent us to separate dressing rooms and I was mercifully alone!
Shortly, a sweet lady in very stylish black and tan scrubs mispronounced my name again and I was ushered into "Mammography Room C". As I answered the same questions yet again (how many people do I have to tell before they believe that I am NOT pregnant?!), she clicked away on the computer and chatted happily, like we both didn't know what was coming!
Things began to look up when I stood up for the test and she needed to change the "squisher" for a bigger size!! That's the first time in my life that anything involving my "chest" needed to be made larger. But that was the end of the good part. It was all downhill from there.
If I had to describe the mammogram in one word, it would be "embarrassing". How those nurses do that all day long every day is beyond me! And, of course, because I was nervous I made stupid jokes, like asking the technician if she dreamed about breasts at night because she looked at them all day?? Where the heck did that come from?
Then she poked, prodded, pulled, and generally manhandled me for the next 20 minutes. Of course, the fact that I nursed four children, one for a year and three others for 18 months each, made her job a little bit easier. Wet sand in the bottom of a dirty sock is pretty "stretchy", you know?!! And, to add to my indignity, "Climb Every Mountain" was playing through the stereo system. The last thing on my mind at that moment was "following every rainbow until I found my dream"!!! My dream at that moment was just to be done!
Finally, it was over. I returned to the dressing room, relieved Locker #8 of its storage duties, used a bit of the horribly scented deodorant that they so generously provided, and went to Target! You know---that's the cure for every ill! On second thought, maybe I should have gone to Panera and gotten a panini instead!