In my bosses office the other day with 2 co-workers and my boss, I scratched my head and said "do I have any days off this week?" They looked at me and being used to my stupid questions, they simply answered me. "No-o-o...." I still needed clarification. "Is there a reason I don't have any days off this week?" Suffice it to say I promptly asked for a day off (today) when I discovered there was no reason not to. There is something to be said for working for the same company for 20 years.
I didn't want to waste an entire day off like I usually do, so I decided to make an appointment to see a dermatologist, just to have some moles looked at and to inquire about the brown patches on my face. Lovely things, those. No big deal. Appointment made, for 7:15 in the evening, good! I could still sleep in. Really really sleep in. As an afterthought, I decided to do what my gyne and my primary care physician (the smart ass) have been recommending for a year and I have not done, and schedule a mammogram as well. No symptoms, just a screening, just seems to be a little something going around these days and I thought I should finally wise up and just do it. Like Nike.
Arriving at the hospital (I had preregistered) I checked in and was given a letter. A. Yes, I was letter A. Just like Sesame Street, I felt like I should do something educational. Before my butt hit a chair I heard "letter A" being called. Weird. So I went and verified my info with a nice lady who of course had me initial all these paragraphs on this form that of course I did not read. And I signed it. I didn't even get to sit down at that point, I was directed to the big double glass doors of THE BREAST CENTER written in all caps above. Why were they shouting at me? I will admit though, those doors opening all on their own as I approached, one in and the other out, made me feel the tiniest bit important.
I finally got to sit down in THE BREAST CENTER, but only long enough to fill out another form with really easy questions like; have you ever had breast cancer? have you ever been pregnant? Things I could answer. I finished that and brought it up to the gal at the desk who directed me to the dressing room to change. Go through the wood door there, turn left, then right, and you will see the dressing room. Go in and change and when you are done go into the "gowned" dressing room and have a seat. She reiterated, "left, right, change into a gown and sit." Yes Ma'am!
Now it starts to get fun. The second I walked out there was an x-ray tech looking at the door I was coming through, expectantly. Okay, it took me a little time because I was trying to find a gown that looked good on me. I finally gave up on that quest and put on what they had and went through the door. The x-ray tech was so nice, sweet really. She directed me into a room where we talked a bit waiting for another tech to clear the computer or something.
One thing I noticed about this little room with the really big machine, was the soft lighting. Romantic, almost. Once the 2nd tech left the room, my tech didn't waste any time while still being ever so gentle and empathetic it was amazing. Maybe it's that we all have breasts, I don't know, but she was good.
First it was - take my arm out of one side of the gown and stand there all nice and exposed, except that the tech obviously was very good at not making people feel uncomfortable about how big and saggy their boobs are. There was a lot of touching as she stood next to me and positioned me, with her arm around my back and slight pressure from her body, she told me where to put my arm, relax my shoulder, reach over there and left foot red!!! She gently placed my breast on the glass plate, and once she had me lovingly placed just so, she pushed the squish button and lowered the whole weight of the top of the machine down on my breast! Okay, it wasn't that bad. C'mon ladies, it's a bit uncomfortable, but I found the take your arm out of one side of the gown and let me see how fat you really are, much more painful!
There were 2 poses on each side, and it was done. I actually thought as I was doing it, this is not a big deal, why did I think it was a pain to bother with? It really took so little time and I was done before I knew it. My tech was so gentle I almost wanted to ask if she wanted to take a few more. But no, I tied my gown up as she stood behind the window to check the x-rays to see if they were technically okay or if there needed to be a do-over before I left. I walked to the side of the screening wall and could see the screen where she was looking at, well, me. I tell you what, because they take your breast and lift (lift being the operative word) it up onto that plate, the x-ray made me look all high and perky and gorgeous! It was almost worth the trip just to see that! But to my surprise, glancing at the screen I saw a tiny little bright spot at the top of that beautiful, perky breast.
I went to get my screening because it was something I was supposed to do. I had my last mammogram (I found out today) in 2003. I had put it off for no other reason than I was being lazy about it. Then with WhyMommy and all, I just thought, well - it's almost hypocritical of me to profess support for her when I am not taking care of myself. Especially putting the button on my blog and urging people to be aware. I knew I needed to do it. But I was not worried, I have no symptoms, although I find the self exam pretty useless as I've always been a bit lumpy, so I haven't really counted on it. Still, no symptoms, nothing to worry about, I went more to ease my conscience than anything.
So when I saw that little white spot (which I am guessing was my imagination) I was surprised by the jolt it gave me. What??? I am here to make myself feel better, not about my breasts, but about urging other people to do something I have not done myself. I didn't come to this hospital to find out something may actually be wrong with me!! Because, this stuff happens to other people, right?
I am sure I am just fine. I think there must have been some sub-conscious fear I wasn't aware of that made me see that white spot, or, if I did see it - it's something normal, like the missing filling I lost from my tooth when I was 17 or something.
Point being, it doesn't just happen to other people. Schedule your mammogram today. Please.