So as you read the title I bet you either realised you’re due for yours, or you’re one still too young. I actually didn’t plan for my first mammogram. I went for the Mirena (an intrauterine device) insertion and did the rest of the routine stuff that comes with that: a pap smear and breast examination. Then the doctor advised me to get a mammogram as well.
On 3 June as I walked down the chilly corridor of Medical Imaging, I realised why June is not Breast Cancer month!!! It’s way too cold for anyone to undress and place their family jewels on an icy cold scanner!
A very friendly lady met me halfway and showed me the way to a cubicle and gave me one of those ‘sexy’ brown gowns, the ones which you never know which side is the front! At least this time the fact that my boobies were to be scanned, and they are on the front of my body helped to figure out that the open side should be there as well.
On my entry into the room, the lady apologised and said they need to keep the room temperature low for the machine not to heat up. And there it was again…OCTOBER is breast cancer month. NOT June! Fortunately, the radiologist’s personality was a warm 38 degrees, which helped a lot.
And so, the moment of truth had arrived. Left one goes first. First the radiologist pulls it WAY North and then squeezes it really flat. I spontaneously, silently uttered an adverb. (Look who homeschooled 2 kids all of 2020! An adverb describes the verb….e.g “Bloody hell, it’s sore.” said the lady who got a Mammogram.)
The pectoral muscle must be part of the picture, so, like a friend long-lost, I hugged the machine tightly to get it in. Then the right boobie should NOT be in the picture at all, at least for now, so I had to try and hook her on my back. Which was impossible, but the radiologist insisted. And lastly, chin to the ceiling and hold your breath.
As I stood there, posing like a hormonal teenager, engaging with the ‘camera’, I realised: this here is just a boob photoshoot! After repeating the same procedure for the right boobie, I could proceed to the next room for the ultrasound. As I lay there, waiting for the doctor to perform the sonar, I stared at the screen above the bed.
There was a list of names. The ladies in line after me for the mammogram and sonar.
I couldn’t help to think that some of those names might get really bad news today. Their lives might never be the same, or they could be as blessed as me to get a perfectly normal result. Not age, nor diet, nor race guarantees us anything as we wait there.
After one litre of cold ultrasound gel and half a roll of Carlton tissue paper, I could get myself back into my warm jacket.
I would like to encourage all ladies to get your shoots done, in OCTOBER mostly because it’s warmer then, and to keep to your yearly check-ups. Let’s do it for ourselves. Pose and pout (even if it’s a sign of discomfort), to ensure we keep healthy!
Lots of love