Apologies to Homestar Runner for the title. But that was sincerely the very first thought that went through my mind as I walked up to the mammogram machine.
You see, one of the perks of becoming a 40 year old woman in possession of preventative healthcare is that you get sent to get your first mammogram. My doctor carefully discussed the potential discomfort of the exam with me while stressing the importance of it. I looked at her and said, you needn’t sell me on it, it’s not gonna be worse than giving birth to Sideways the Wonder Child so sign me up immediately. Evidently some people feel it’s better to bypass a handful of minutes of discomfort and forgo the benefits of a cancer screening, because ouchie boobies? Woman up, ladies.
Anyway, having been suitably warned that I might experience mild discomfort, I called to schedule the big event. The scheduler I spoke with asked me a couple questions – no, I do not have implants, and yes, I can wipe off my own deodorant if provided with a wet nap – and got me in that same day. She told me that they generally tell people to allow 5 minutes per cup size. So an A cup takes five minutes, a B cup takes 10, and so on. So my DD chest and I set aside three hours and headed off. My chest and I are not good at math.
While waiting to be called back for the exam, I sat next to a gentleman who was there to have some blood drawn. He spoke at length about this, and about how he was going to stop for a beer and burger after the test, and about traffic. He asked me what I was waiting for, and I told him I was waiting to have my breasts xeroxed. Luckily he was called back just then and thus we were both spared from him having to develop a response.
When my name was called, I was led back to a changing room, where I was given what looked like an adorable 60s-style mod dress. It was quilted and soft and warm and nearly the victim of theft by yours truly. It was so strangely flattering. I have finally discovered my body’s best dress shape – hospital gown. This makes sense as I am shaped like a potato, which means sacks are totally my jam.
After admiring myself in the mirror and wishing for go go boots, I stepped out and followed the nurse into the mammogram room. Mammoroom? She explained all the steps and what we were going to do and how. I removed my deodorant with the wipes so as to prove I had not lied to the scheduler lady. And then I grasped both sides of my gown and busted my puppies out. The Superman theme played in my head. It was quite cinematic.
The first step of the exam was what people generally think of when they think mammogram – a vertical squishing of the breast between two plates. It was not painful. Rather it felt a bit like my boob was an overstuffed sandwich that someone was pushing down on extremely firmly, so they could take a bite of it without squishing tomatoes and turkey out the backside. After doing the squash to both sides, she tilted the machine so they could get a kind of sideways/diagonal view. She had me sort of wrap myself around the machine and lean forward and to the right, while she sort of smoothed my boob out onto one of the plates of the titholder. Then she’d lower the other plate and run and take a picture. This part was not painful either. This pose felt a bit like a teen boy had finally gotten to hold his first boob, and did not know what to do with himself or the boob and therefore was just going to nervously squeeze it rather firmly to hide the fact that he was frozen in fear. When we switched to the other side I did experience a bit of discomfort because the plate was pressing down on my sternum, which made breathing a bit uncomfortable for 30 seconds.
And that was it. She cautioned me that I’d likely get called in for more pictures, given the size of my sweater kittens and the level of thoroughness they like to achieve when establishing a baseline scan. I promised not to freak out when I received the call asking me to come in for more testing. I reluctantly surrendered my adorable outfit, although honorable mention should be given to my friend K, who suggested via text that I poop on it and “take it home to launder for them” as a means of escaping with my gown. K is a criminal genius, do not cross her.
And that was it. My first mammogram was over. I filled out the comment card with all positives, as I felt like the tech deserved it for how often my breast tissue needed to be re-smoothed in order to be properly photographed. It was a bit like trying to nail jello to a tree, and she was a real trooper about it. She deserved 5 stars. I walked out of the clinic, promising my tits that I’d dribble something delicious on them at dinner as a reward, and headed home to give myself a sticker for having adulted for the day.
So get those mammograms, ladies. It’s not painful and it just may save your life one day.