One of the perks for turning forty last year was the start of annual mammograms. /sarcasm If the thought of a mammogram is TMI stop reading now…
With a grandmother and mother both having had breast cancer I’m pretty sure I’m genetically destined to get it so I didn’t even flinch when my doctor ‘signed’ me up for my first mammogram last year. I’m not going to lie last year for my first one I was scared, I had heard all the horror stories of how horrible and painful they were that they stick your boobs in a vice grip and smash them to smithereens and I will say I walked out thinking that was it? It wasn’t that bad.
The office I go to is at Virginia Mason Medical Center and labeled the Breast Clinic, pretty original I know. You walk in and are welcomed by a soft-spoken receptionist who takes you back to the ‘locker’ room, hand you a robe and two wet whips, and explains to remove everything from the waste up and put your stuff in one of the lockers that has a key in it and take your key with you. They might not tell you what the wet wipes are for but as mentioned below they are to clean all deodorant, body lotion, powder, etc. off your breast. Once you’re ready you sit in the waiting area and wait for your name to be called. They take you into the exam room and take lots of pictures of your breasts, I was told that for dense breast they now have 3D options, I did not get so lucky I still had my squeezed into boob pancakes. It takes between 10 and 15 minutes to take all the images they need and then you are free to go back to your locker, get dressed and leave. They also have mini wipes of deodorant that you can use to reapply some until you get to your own.
Helpful hints for your first time mammogramers:
- Wear a two piece outfit, with a top that is easy to remove. Otherwise if you were a dress/cat-suit/romper/etc… you’ll be walking around and waiting in your panties with only a hospital ‘robe’ covering you and if I see you inside I will probably be smirking at you.)
- When they give you wet wipes and the hospital ‘robe’ to change into the wipes are for wiping off any body lotion, powder and deodorant from yours breasts you may have on as these items may show up on the image and affect the quality of the exam, meaning you’ll have to come back for another one.
- Avoid using body lotion
- Avoid using powder
- Avoid over using deodorant
- Leave you inhibitions/hang-up/shyness at home
The mammogram tech (I have no idea if that’s what they are called but that’s what I’m calling them) for my first one was a nice lady but she looked road hard and put away wet and smelled of cigarettes. And yet I let her fondle my breasts and squeeze them in the exam clamps but whatever she did it didn’t really hurt.
The tech for my second exam was a nice Eastern European lady but in my head she was a Russian sleep agent only because that’s what I want to be in my next life. Anyway she was sweet, nice and as welcoming as one could be whose about to man handle your breasts. She was a little rougher than the first tech and she seemed to enjoy squeezing them extra tight in the clamp but still not anywhere near the horribleness I had envisioned in my head before going into my first one.
OK so here’s the skinny, if you have LARGE breast like I do it does not HURT, hurt, it’s uncomfortable in the sense you have a total stranger man handling your boobs and squeezing them between cold surfaces making a boob pancake out of them. If you have itty bitty teeny-weeny boobs it will probably hurt, for once my large breasts had its advantages, but the itty bitty teeny-weeny boobs probably won’t make very good boob pancakes.
This past exam I was in and out in less than 30 minutes, I only know this because when I exited the parking lot it did not cost me anything and the first 30 minutes are free. I ran a couple errands and by the time I got home I already had my results in a voice-mail telling me it came back normal, everything looked good.