Yep. It was that time of year again. Time to get the girls xrayed. And by girls, of course I'm referring to my boobs. Yearly mammograms. What joy. I know, I know...you're thinking, why Spot, you are way too young to be getting yearly mammograms. No, I'm not...I just look too young. (Which btw, I credit to being chubby. Because if you've ever noticed, chubby people have way fewer wrinkles then their skinny counterparts. Age and wear show up way worse on thin people then on pudgy ones. I think the extra weight plumps out the wrinkles or something. Why pay for botox when you can eat ice cream? Thus being chubby is so to your advantage. The way I see it McDonald's double cheeseburger = The Fountain of Youth!!! Yay!) Anyway, I'm actually 39 and will be 40 before the end of the year. (But don't you dare expect me to act my age, because I absolutely refuse). And yes, I know that current medical recommendations only suggest a baseline mammogram done at age 35 and then once a year after 40. Unless you have a family history. Which I do. Bingo! (But not like the good kind where you win a prize or anything.) My dad's mom died from breast cancer the summer I was 13. And my mother's sister is a 15 year breast cancer survivor. So I started getting yearly one's 3 years ago.
Now, for those of you who've never had one...it's really not that big of a deal. I guess every woman's pain threshold is different and I've been told I have an abnormally high one, but to me they aren't painful. My mother says they're horribly painful. I guess it also depends on how big your boobs are and I have plenty of boob to smoosh so there you go. And now that I'm on my fourth, it doesn't even seem weird anymore to have some other lady lift my boob, place it on the tray, position it, and then bring the other tray down to smoosh it. At first, that kind of freaked me out. Now, it's whatever.
The first year, I was scared to death. I had no idea what to expect. Then, when they didn't call the next day, I assumed everything was fine and that I'd be getting the "you're boobs are fine" letter. Psych! They called the day after that.
"Can you come in for another mammogram? You have some spots we're not sure about and since it's your first we need to check it out."
What?! Spots on my boobs? Are you kidding me? So I'm all freaked out and worried and convinced I'm going to die because well, I've always figured breast cancer was inevitable but I was sure hoping for better timing like when I'm 90 or 100 or something. So I go in and they show me the "spots" and explain that they're probably just calcifications and nothing to worry about but since they have nothing to compare it to they just want a better look. So they redo the smooshie boobie xray and tell me that since it's a holiday weekend I won't have the results for four days. Really? I mean Really? Way to torture a girl. But in the end I sweated it for nothing because they really were just calcifications and nothing to worry about. But I got to come back in six months, just in case.
Six months later...smooshie boobie xray number 2. Called the next day.
"Well there's a shadow on the xray. Could you come in for another?"
Seriously, I don't know why they ask. What are you gonna do, say no? NO! I don't want you to be sure I don't have breast cancer! So I go in, get smooshed, get cleared again. Fast forward another year...last year to be exact. I go in for my smooshie boobie xray number 3. They call the very next morning. I mean like right away. Which in case you didn't know, is never ever good.
"Hi this is _______, from the Breast Health Center. We found an anomaly in your left breast and we wondered if you could come back in and have a repeat mammogram?"
"Um. No. I'm leaving tomorrow morning on vacation and won't be back for ten days."
"Oh. Well. Um. Can you come in the morning after you come back?"
"Hmm. Anomaly? Does that mean lump? Do you mean you found a lump? And it's serious enough that you want me to come in immediately upon my return from vacation?"
"Well, it's a lump, but we're not sure what it is, that's why we need the next mammogram. But you shouldn't worry, it's probably nothing. Have a nice trip."
Have.A.Nice.Trip. Are you for real?? Don't worry??? Riiiight. So I told my husband and we sat there silent for like 5 minutes. I told him not to tell anyone, that way they wouldn't worry. (But then I ended up telling my sister and of course she told my parents because she always has been and will always be a big fat tattletale.) Then he asked if I was worried. And I said "Maybe a bit. But I'm going to take the girls on vacation and show them off in case they don't get to go next year!" So maybe a few of last years vacay pics show a suspicious amount of cleavage...but it was just in case! I got back, went in for the follow up mammogram and they showed me the films from the first one. There was a very large lump in the left breast. "Wow girl. You're toast." I said sympathetically to my left breast. They explained that if the lump was still showing up, they'd take me to ultrasound and either way I'd know something that day. Good. Because waiting sucks. But whew! I dodged another bullet because the lump was completely gone! They said it must have been a cyst. Yay! I've never been so happy to have a cyst in my life.
So this year...I put off having my mammogram until after vacay. I know, you're thinking how smart I am. How I actually learned something. I know right?! So anyway, they've built a whole new "Breast Health Center" in the year's time and I get lost trying to find my way around. But at last I arrive and change into that beautiful garment they provide and the technician comes to get me. She explains everything and I'm all "Yeah. I got it. They'll call me tomorrow if I need a repeat. Which always happens." I tell her I will be out of town the next day so they need to call my cell. Five minutes tops and I'm changing back into my clothes and she makes my appt for next year and gives me my Elixir of Life.
The Elixir of Life? Oh, well that's just water. Duh. Everyone knows that. You can't live without water. And they give you one every time you have a mammogram. I still haven't figured that out. I mean...seriously, did you think I was so nervous I sweated myself into dehydration? Or you keep it so hot in this frickin building that I must be in need of a drink? Because I am but water ain't gonna cut it. What if they started handing out bottles of vodka afterward? I mean, I don't think many people under 21 ever get mammograms so it would be all good. And I would really really appreciate that. And I'm sure more women would get them done if they knew they were getting vodka at the end. And if you get bad news, well wouldn't vodka help then too?? It's definitely a better idea. Someone should clue them in.
Oh yeah, and this year? No phone call. No repeat. I got the "your boobies are fine" letter. Score!
Vodka & Cleavage shots,