Aging…one mammogram at a time

If you’re over the age of 40, you’re already familiar with the statement getting old is tough. What makes it so tough the youngsters may ask. You fall apart, your insides get poked, prodded, scoped, scraped, things get squeaky, things pop, things tear, you forget things, you get diseases, syndromes, autoimmune disorders, the list goes on & on (most of which I’ve had the displeasure of experiencing, especially the tearing of things). Aging is particularly hard on women. There is quite a bit of maintenance outside of the regular female upkeep after the age of 40. We start thinking about how to prevent & treat wrinkles, how to be skinnier, we have to color our hair more often to hide the gray (at least I do), shop for better bras & fat smoothing undergarments, eat less, exercise more, we suffer through hot flashes, lack of sleep, irritability (age 40 is when people start officially getting on a woman’s last nerve), & all this is performed while keeping up with our regular duties as wife, Mama, secretary, chef, housekeeper, taxi driver, etc. No wonder the men in our lives get on our nerves. Women should be honored at least monthly by the men in our lives with a special celebration.

Not only do we have to worry about all of this, but the lady community frets about particular exams that darken our doorstep once a year. I absolutely hate participating in the annual female exam. Being a very modest person, so modest that I despise my bra straps showing although that is the trend nowadays, sitting nude with a paper chest cover with the thinnest, smallest bedsheet known to man (what even is that sheet made for, my body IS the size of a bed after all) in a room colder than the ice inside my soul is not my idea of fun. Nobody enjoys this experience. I will say that the office I go to has upgraded to cloth chest wraps-cheers to them! I wouldn’t mind a warm, fuzzy robe that I can open up like a flasher & also so that my lady bits don’t form icicles, but I guess I can deal with frostbite for roughly 30-45 minutes. After doing the “yearly” deed with my doctor, it was time for part two of the ordeal, my mammogram. This is not my first, I am over 40 after all. When I had my first one four years ago, I was terrified. Having heard stories from various people about the pressing of your breasts in a machine, I was more worried about the test at that time than the results! One friend told me how she was pressed so hard by the machine, her muscle was damaged. I thought, my Lord, why do I have to do such torture, isn’t my life torturous enough?

My first mammogram experience went down like this. Prior to my first mammogram, I was unaware that you should not wear lotions or deodorants on the day of testing. I’m writing this so those of you who’ve never had one before will be well prepared. After getting the dreaded call back, I was ushered into my own personal changing room & instructed to strip down from the waist up, remove any lotions or deodorants with wipes they provided. I then slipped into a cloth (highly relevant) top that opened in the front for easy access & went into another waiting room to wait to be called into the mammogram room. It is so not comfortable sitting in a waiting room with other people without a bra, albeit they were all in the same situation as I. Pictured is the changing room, they even provide deodorant for afterwards. They really do care how we smell-notice the deodorant pictured below.

The time quickly came where I was called back into the mammography room, I was sweating bullets & so wished I could of worn my Degree for a layer of protection. I sweated like it was 100 degrees in the room, I perspire profusely when I’m nervous even if the room is cold, I could smell my own self-I was so embarrassed! This picture is from my recent mammo, nothing to be worried about at all!

The mammography machine is awfully large, resembling a robot. It has two large square plexiglass hands that accept the smallest & largest of breasts-remember, this is my interpretation, no correct clinical terms will be used here. The technician instructed me on what was about to go down. One breast at a time would be x-rayed, twice, but both would be squished flatter than a Saturday morning pancake at your Mama’s house. Who knew they could get so thin! She inserted or lifted in my case one boob at a time, I held the mammo machine with both hands, then came the compression, I also had to hold my breath during the x-rays. As soon as it started, it was over. It was not bad. There was nothing to be worried about in the least for the actual mammogram. I did not experience any pain at all, what a relief! I would then spend the next few days worrying about the results from my first mammogram. All was well for my first, second, third, I am now awaiting the results on my fourth exam.

To wrap things up, ladies, don’t believe the horror stories you’ve been told about mammograms, wait & make that call all on your own. Most of the time preconceived notions are no where near as agonizing as what we believed would be true. Be smart about the process; don’t wear lotions or deodorant, don’t go if your boobs are at their most sensitive time, & most importantly, don’t be afraid of the actual test-it’s a piece of cake, or pancake that is!

Author: dravetsyndromeblog

44 year old Mama of three kids, wife of a farmer, & business owner.

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