This morning at 10 I underwent my first (baseline) mammogram.
Despite reading many sites, neither I nor my breasts were prepared for it. My expectations are always based on illogical images that I have picked up over time from sources unknown. The image “mammogram” has always conjured up for me was of standing against a massive piece of machinery with my breasts squashed into cups until they are mashed into flatness. So the fairly small size of the actual device surprised, as did the fact that you load each girl onto a plate; then the machine, like a larger-than-life sandwich maker, compresses her between two plates as the technician arranges her with her hand after having already slid in the film underneath. All this after her nipple’s been decorated with a stick-on metal bead, I suppose as a frame of reference, e.g., “hot spot at 4 o’clock from the nipple bead.”
I had wondered if it was a painful experience or not, and found nothing online that was conclusive.
My conclusion is that I and the girls are very pleased if we don’t have to do that again for, say, two years. Especially since we were subjected to an extra view of each since the nipple (and bead) were turned under in the standard two views.
As with the outpatient surgery I had last year, the technician introduced herself. “I’m Lisa, and I’ll be performing your mammogram.” [“Or reciting the chef’s selections.”] She had a moment because she introduced herself twice. I found myself wondering what kind of person, thinking about careers, decides they want to mash women’s breasts in sandwich makers all day? On the plus side, there is value to the community in the work as early detection undoubtedly saves or prolongs lives. On the other hand, handing out nipple beads, hefting breasts into the sandwich maker, and loading film all day is probably not going to trump “fireman” or “police officer” or “doctor” for five-year-olds. I hope it pays well.
By the way, do five-year-olds still want to be firemen, police officers, doctors, nurses, etc.? Or do they now say, “IT specialist”?
How the world has changed in my 43 years. I can’t keep up. Most days, I don’t really want to. There is a glow about my childhood that grows brighter every day.