Adventures in Mammography

May 15, 2013 | 2 Comments

Preferred parking, what more could you want?

I have lumpy boobs.[1]  There is a reason I am telling you this, I promise.  After a several year lapse I finally went for my yearly gyno appointment and my doctor recommended that I get a mammogram and ultrasound since my breast tissue is so fibrous.  I guess you can go ahead and put that bit of information in the TMI files, but my lumpy lactation system meant that I had to get a mammogram and ultrasound earlier than most women.

My doctor told me to do this a few years ago, but I blew it off.  I really tried to blow it off again, but then I saw this, a photo essay that will basically rip your heart of your chest, throw it on the ground and stomp on it.  It is not the uplifting, Rocky story of cancer that we all want to hear.  It is a woman my age who got breast cancer and died. Not the stuff magazine covers are made of.

Then a few weeks ago I wrote a story about a woman who did get detected early, and was able to get healthy again.  Like me, Priscilla was in excellent health and had no history of cancer in her family.  Add to that, my husband’s aunt just battled out a round of breast cancer.

I’m not always great about listening to my doctor, but when the Universe gets my attention, I don’t mess around.

Having done the mammogram and ultrasound, I can now totally understand why people avoid it, but not for the reasons you might think.  The technicians were very nice and professional.  It was uncomfortable, but not painful.  Plus, you get to wear this sassy outfit right here, what’s not to love?

This feels like a real Project Runway moment. 'Create a fabulous, avante garde hospital gown.'


The problem with getting the mammogram was that when I walked in I felt vital.  Healthy.  Strong as a horse.  By the time I left, I was pretty sure I was going to die. Something about the machines, the hospital bracelet, the waiting room prompted all my worry neurons to fire simultaneously, until I could just feel the cancer dividing, multiplying, filling the firmament of my entire body with tumors, and I really wished I had not shown up for the appointment.

I did about three minutes of internet research about mammograms and it seems that there’s a fair amount of controversy out there about when and how often and who should get screened.   One article even said that of the lumps found on mammograms 50% will be just fine and 50% will turn into cancer.  So I guess the main risk of getting screened too early is discovering that there is something in your body that might or might not kill you.

But this is the gamble of being human isn’t it?  When I go to pick up my daughter today, I might or might not get in a car accident, but I’ll still wear my seat belt.   One day when I am out for a run, my heart might or might not stop beating.  When I am on a ladder, reaching for a light bulb, I might or might not slip and break my neck.

I understand the desire to not know.  Sometimes knowledge is power, but sometimes knowledge is torture.  When it comes to ye olde mammary glands, I’m going to err on the side of knowing.  I understand that one day I will have to die.  It is inevitable.  However, I would prefer to die at 85 while river rafting in the Grand Canyon, not at 37 because my doctor told me to get a test and I was too chicken to go.


[1]Oh, what have I done?  Now every pervert with a lumpy boob fetish is going to end up on this site.  Attention Perverts! This is not the site you’re looking for.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen Patti May 15, 2013 at 4:10 pm

It is even more torture when they find something and your Brother just died of cancer, your Aunt died of breast cancer. 2 other members of the family had cancer too. You are told you have “Microcalcifications”. Often times it is the body telling you that bad cells are being made. So you have a Biopsy and wait a long week for the answers. Thanks God mine was clear. I had gone 4 years without going to the Dr…. Never again. Oh so much fun being a woman. We have our periods, go through child birth and then maybe lose parts of our bodies…. But I know Woman as so strong and able to handle more than Men. I will never wait that long to go either. Karen


superha May 18, 2013 at 11:42 pm

You rocked the gown, K-Dam. Thanks for the reminder to all of us to get checked and for your recent story about the strong cancer survivor.


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