Last Friday, I had a new experience that I had been dreading since I was a little girl – my first mammogram.
It may seem strange that I would dread it since I was a little girl, but I had heard over and over about how painful it is, and was really nervous about it. It’s funny, because I am not nearly as worried about the outcome as I was about the simple act of getting the mammogram done!
Here’s a basic summary of my impression of what the experience would be like going into it:
It was described to me as “getting your boobs smashed as flat as a pancake between two pieces of metal.” I imagined the stainless steel pieces in my dad’s machine shop practically cutting into my skin as my breasts were smashed to a half inch thick and expected to recover!
It also may seem strange that I am getting a mammogram at all, since I am under 40, but my mom was diagnosed at 47, which means according to conventional wisdom, I should start getting them at 37. I am still a ways away from 37, but I did my sixth Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure this past November, and met a survivor named Patti (who is in this awesome video on the San Diego News) who made me promise to get a mammogram – she was also diagnosed very young. Basically, she said “You know better!” and she was right!
So how did it go, you may be wondering? Well, like most things you start fearing for years and build up in your head, it was a piece of cake! Worrying about getting a mammogram was way worse than getting the mammogram itself. I should be hearing the results soon!
Basically, they ask you to make sure that you don’t have any deodorant on. I am guessing that the metals in the deodorant (which, by the way, I plan to be eliminating from my life soon anyway) could have a reaction with the machine or imaging.
There are these wipes in the dressing room, so I used one and wiped the area (my chest and armpits) down just in case.
That’s the dreaded machine! SOOOO glad that the plates weren’t made of stainless steel like I had worried about – haha!
We went in and she raised the lower part (with the black surface on top) up to meet the bottom of my breasts, then lowered the top part down, with my arms at my sides. Then she rotated the “plates” and took another image with my arm on top of the machine and with the plates at a 45 degree angle. Then she repeated the process on the other side, and I was done!
[Tweet “What’s a mammorgram like? Via @Mandelicious”]
So my advice – don’t fear the mammogram! I don’t know if it had just been exaggerated, or if possibly the advances in technology have made it less painful, but it is no big deal, and knowing you’re cancer-free or early detection is worth it!
When I was preparing for this post, I found a couple images that I thought were worth sharing! Here they are:
Additionally, I thought it prudent to share information on my journey fighting breast cancer (not personally, but as a pink warrior on my mom’s behalf). You can see information about that at my site here, where I’ve tracked blogs and vlogs about five of my walks (still have yet to post my 6th walk stuff)!
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