Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Advice for Getting a Mammogram

 A couple weeks ago, I started feeling tender-boob when it wasn't my tender-boob time (ladies, you know what I mean; gentlemen, honestly, you probably do, too).  I went to my doctor and listed this along with a myriad of other symptoms that I've been experiencing lately, some of which have been going on for months and are being addressed by specialists, and others which are old but haven't been sufficiently addressed, and others which are new and hadn't yet seen the light of day in a doctor's office at all.  My doctor set me up with an appointment to have a mammogram, and a gynecologist visit.  As a result of the mammogram, I have some shares for you that I hope will help some/any of you that might be facing The Great Masher. 

These are my boobies.  I have a freckle.

Advice #1:  Get a mammogram.

     This is the most important advice.  The rest of the advice really doesn't pertain to you, and won't make sense, unless you actually go and get the damn mammogram.  Maybe I'm putting the cart before the horse here, though.  Really, first you have to schedule a mammogram.  Please do not just walk up into a place and ask them to squeeze your boobs.  This will have varying levels of success depending on how you personally define success, but it will almost always most definitely not result in your having a mammogram performed in any effective manner.  He may tell you he has x-ray hands, but don't believe it.  Call your doctor, or your insurance company, or something, and get the ball rolling on getting your boobs squished professionally.  Just do it.  Get a mammogram.  Especially if you are 40+ years of age, double especially if you have breast cancer in your family, super-duper triple QUADRUPLE especially if you feel a lump, bump, soreness, tenderness or odd things that aren't in your boobs' repertoire.

Advice #2:  Try not to freak out.

     I have absolutely nothing to offer regarding this particular piece of advice other than to submit it to you and hope that you are better at it than I am. 

Advice #3:  Try not to get a mammogram done during tender-boob time.

     I would not recommend getting your boobs mashed by a machine when your boobs are sore or tender during that special pre-menstrual PMS time.  At all.  I would not recommend this.  If you can avoid it, please do.  Try to schedule your mammogram well clear of this time, or even any hint of it.  For extra measure, cut out or at least cut down on caffeine, salt, etc. things that can contribute to tender, sore boobs.  Thinking about it, I also wouldn't recommend topless sunbathing, getting sunburned on your boobs, then hopping up and sticking them directly into a boob-grabber mash machine.  If your boobs are hurting FOR REASONS THAT YOU ALREADY KNOW WHY THEY ARE HURTING, and you can schedule a time when they will not be hurting, please avoid any sort of tender-boob, sore-boob, burned-boob time for this testing.  If, however, you do NOT know the reason they are hurting, you're probably going to have to just buck up and take it.  Grit your teeth and do it.  

Advice #4:  Take some Tylenol or Advil.

     With your doctor's permission, of course, it would be highly advisable for you to take some forethought pain-prevention tablets of some sort.  I would not recommend getting high before you get your mammogram.  That is not what I'm saying, for those of you that think wish you are reading that between the lines, or something.  What I'm saying is take some Tylenol.  Not a whole lot of Tylenol, don't get crazy with it, just pretend you have a headache or something and take a couple.  Like, two.  Exactly two.  Consult your physician and also the warnings on the Tylenol bottle.  I will just say that I have learned, after much experience, that when health professional types say "uncomfortable" or "some discomfort" what they really mean is hurt as in pain, as in you're not going to die, but you're not going to like it at all, either.  Take some sort of over the counter pain reliever about a half hour before you go onto the appointment.  You'll be good.  This is especially true if you're going in there with tender-boob, like I did.  I am a total pain-weenie.  If I can do it, you can do it. 

Advice #5:  Don't wear complicated clothing, as in layers, for example.

     The first thing you're going to do when you get in there is take off your top.  I mean, obviously.  But if you're like me, you don't think of things, and you might go in there with layers of clothes, maybe even necklaces, and it's going to be a pain in the ass.  You're already about to get your boobs smashed, why put yourself through any more aggravation?  Dress the way you would if you were going on a shopping spree and you were going to be trying on a lot of clothes in a lot of different dressing rooms (if only!).  Or as if you were going to be meeting someone in some scandalous corner of a seedy city for car sex (more likely).  Dress light, carefree.  Don't put on anything that's going to be difficult to remove, or involves ties, wraps, buttons, two-step processes, etc.  Also, not a dress, because then you're going to be walking from the little curtained take-off-your-clothes-area to the mammogram-proper area with naked bottom, and really they only need the top half.  I mean, do what you want to do, you're the exhibitionist here, but usually I make them pay for the show in a tip-expectant environment. 

My burlesque boobs.  They pay for these. 
Advice #6:  Don't wear your girly-smell creams and powders and such.

     Don't wear deodorant, perfume, powder, etc.  They will tell you this, but I have a feeling that many women are stubborn about it because they are terrified of smell.  Personally, I love the opportunity to avoid even one single step of the whole bathing/preparing/getting ready process because it's all such a mind-melt anyway for someone who has slow-brain/ADD.  Also, I find my own smell fascinating.  It amuses me.  The place may or may not have wipes there for you to wipe all the stuff off, but who wants a cold baby-ass wipe to the armpit just before you're about to go have your boobs smashed?  Not me, assholes.  Not me.  Plus, they might provide deodorant there for you, for afterwards, for those of you that are completely uptight about not smelling your own body smells even for one single hour, or a few hours, or the whole day.  But it might not be your brand of deodorant, or a fragrance you like and hell, I say just get over it and smell your pits for once.  It's liberating.  By the way, they don't want you to wear deodorant because if you do you're going to be smearing your armpit fragrance-gunk all over the machine and that's nasty and also affects the clear images they're trying to get of your boobs.  There's a reason for every sick thing they ask you to do.  Trust. 

Advice #7:  Know that there's going to come a time when your nipple is the elephant in the room.

     It's fairly obvious that you're going to have your boob out in public at some point.  Not in public as in a lot of people, but public as in a public space.  A place that is not your home, your bedroom, your shower.  A place where the women-folk public comes to have their boobs smashed.  You know this in your mind, or at least I hope you do because if not this bit is going to be a huge jaw-dropper, and I hope you feel me patting your back gently from over the internet, but my bet is that you already know this and you're asking me why I'm including this in the advice.  It doesn't sound like advice, it sounds like me being obvious for the sake of humor.  And I am.  But check it:  Just because you know something in your brain, that doesn't mean that you know it in your heart, and no matter what you do, there's nothing really that can prepare you for the moment when your nipple is out in front of another person who is a stranger.  I'm telling you, there's a moment of silence.  There's a moment of awkward silence for you, and from the other person, usually a woman, usually a technician who has seen thousands of boobies, but nonetheless a moment of silence for the moment that your nipple is very obviously exposed to the room, and you're thinking, There's my nipple, and it is SO WEIRD, even if it is there because this is the very thing you're supposed to do, even if the technician has instructed you to do it, even if NOONE or NOTHING in the room even has a job to do or a PURPOSE FOR BEING here, including yourself, if you DO NOT TAKE YOUR NIPPLE OUT, still it is awkward when your nipple is out, and there.  It is just silly, and weird, and there's a moment of silence, so I'm just telling you about it before you get there.  It's spiritual.  And odd.  Okay, enough. 

Advice #8:  Just do what the technician tells you to do.

     They're the expert on doing this.  Let them guide you through it.  They can do it.  You can do it.

Advice #9:  Communicate with the technician.

     Tell the technician your concerns, your history, your symptoms, your fears.  Tell them if this is your first mammogram.  Tell them if it hurts.  Tell them if you feel like you're doing it wrong.  Let them help you.  Let them reassure you.  Your technician should be asking you questions before the mammogram, and talking to you to guide you through it, and touching you to place you correctly.  This is part of their job.  Don't be afraid to communicate with them, to help them do their job.  This is your mammogram.  Also, if you start to get a hot flash and need a break to sit for a second, to take a sip of water, let them know.  I did, and it was fine. 

Advice #10:  Get the hell out of there and go do something fun.

     If I'd had the money, I would've arranged to drive directly from my mammogram to an appointment with a massage therapist.  You've just put your body through something that was awkward and stressful and "uncomfortable."  Yes, it was a healthy thing to do for your body, but as we all know (hello, vegetables), healthy things we do for our body are not always fun things.  Sometimes you have to do things for your body that make you cringe or panic (hello, blood work), but you steel yourself and do them anyway.  A mammogram is one of those things.  Congratulate yourself for doing it.  Provide something soothing for your body afterwards.  If you can't afford a massage, like I can't, maybe plan to take a bath with some fragrant shit thrown in the tub.  Mr. Bubbles or something.  Or go for a walk and enjoy your body's movement, enjoy the way you use your senses to appreciate your surroundings.  Do something that honors and soothes your body. 

Again, though, all of this hinges on your doing that one crucial, important thing:

 I thank you, and your boobies thank you.  


Skyline Spirit said...

pretty nice blog, following :)

Amber said...

Hello, Skyline Spirit! And thank you! :-)