I just returned from my annual appointment with the mammogram machine, and I have to say, as I do every year, “blecht!” I know it’s an important, potentially life-saving procedure, and I understand that in the grand scheme of things, all the poking and pinching isn’t really that big of deal, but I still feel like curling up with a blanket and a hot mug of soup as if victimized.
And I don’t know why. My “handler” was actually very nice. She kept me informed throughout the entire process and fed me constant encouragement. She let me see the images as they appeared on the screen, and even congratulated me on my apparently svelte pectoral muscles. But there’s just something about having another human being contorting your half-exposed upper body around and into a cold, stainless and glass contraption that leaves you feeling like a piece of meat being prepped for the sausage maker. It’s breast Twister, with a definite, sadistic, twist.
And another thing that rather galled me, as if I haven’t already had to compensate enough for my rather small bosom, is that mammograms are more challenging for the less-endowed. Since there really isn’t that much to work with, you see, scooping and pulling every single ounce of tissue into place is imperative for a readable image. How many times did I hear “Nope, it’s not working. Let’s try again.” For the love of Pete, clearly you can just look at me and see there is nothing, absolutely nothing, out of the ordinary!
But my gal was a perfectionist, so we pressed on with our game: “Left shoulder to blue, chin on yellow, right arm on green, stand on your tippy toes, just lean forward one bit to red, hold your breath and … Let me just change this position here … now try wrapping your hand around blue again….” Argh! Eventually, she did manage some lovely shots, if I do day so myself, but the ordeal left me a bit rattled. It didn’t help that she recommend Tylenol on my way out to help with what I can only assume will be soreness and perhaps bruising. Did you think I was kidding about the manhandling?
Again, I know I have no right to complain. Several of my friends are breast cancer survivors (superheroes, every single one!), and they have certainly put these few short moments of mild discomfort into to perspective. But let’s be honest here people, men would never tolerate this “game” for one second if it were their boy parts being smooshed between the glass! Twister? More like Chutes and Ladders. Ah well, until next year. Peace out.