I did it! The mammogram is over and I have 6 months to get unreasonably worked up again before the next one! For first time readers, I have Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia which increases chances of breast cancer by like 400% and supposed to get mammograms every 6 months. My appointment was for 12:20 but told to be there at 12:05. Thank God I arrived at 12:05 so I could wait 45 MINUTES! Every minute that passed, I agonized over the exam.
‘Why am I doing this to myself? The last one didn’t even hurt!’ I told myself.
‘But the machine could malfunction.’ The spaz voice in my head answered. She’s a bitch and probably the reason of my anxiety for 50% of situations.
“Hot Mess?” A short little, roly poly called out in a thick Southern accent. She was probably around 60 and I’m just going to say it, between her age and accent, it made me feel a little more at ease. My first mammogram though great, was performed by a girl who probably got out of college yesterday.
“I’m going to be real, I don’t want to be here.” I said, following her through a long hallway.
“Ya don’t? Why not? ‘Fraid what their gonna’ find?” She said sympathetically while stopping in front of a room and motioning for me to go in first.
“I think I’m more afraid of the machine malfunctioning. Like it’s not going to stop coming down and smash my boobs,” I said while making a smashing motion with the palms of my hands.
“Hun, I’ve been doing this for 41 years and that has never happened.”
I believed her and again, felt a little better.
In the x-ray room, I was already in my white waffle robe, trimmed in pink. I was a little concerned I was told not to take my bottoms off because NOW when I took the robe off, I would expose a muffin top. You know, the thing that we strive to cover at all costs? It’s on par with a devout Muslim, covering their head with a hijab. You keep that shit under wrap. Not the hair I’m talking about, the muffin top.
“I didn’t even think I have enough boobage to check,” I said honestly while she dramatically lifted one boob on to the machine as if she was lifting a cinder block.
She laughed. “Honey, you have massive boobs compared to some of the women that come in here. Massive!”
I knew I liked her for a reason. Suddenly my B cleavage’s self-esteem was being thrusted into D status territory, if only in my head.
10 unpainful minutes later, it was over! I made a mental note to thank my husband later for all the boob grabbing during sexy time that probably made this a completely gentle procedure. I wondered if this felt like a torture tactic at Gitmo to nuns and the Amish?
Next, I would have my consultation with the Oncologist to review the mammogram. After a 20 minute wait in a waiting room clearly decorated by Lifetime Television, I was called by a different nurse to follow her.
“The doctor has an intern with her today. Is this okay?” She asked as her first question out of the gate, clearly making me feel uncomfortable.
‘Fan-fucking tastic!’ I thought. All I needed was some twenty-something who was wishing for God to kill them now, while they were feeling my boobs. In my mind, they haven’t seen enough boobs yet to treat them like car parts.
“But the intern is female.” She said, as if this was a consolation prize. Next came the typical 50 questions. However, there were 2 questions I found odd: Do you feel safe at home and are you treated well at home in which I responded,
“No not really. I ask my sons to unload the dishwasher and you would think I’m asking them to build an addition on to the home. If that’s not what you mean then yeah, treated just fine.”
In walks a girl no older than 22. She looked like she had just hopped off a bad Disney sitcom.
‘This little girl is going to check for cancer?’ I thought. ‘If she breaks out her barbies to show me how the exam is going to go, I’m leaving.’
She wasn’t the intern. Just some sort of research assistant asking if they could doggy bag my spare tissue or blood, should I have a procedure in the future. I would be used for medical research! I agreed, contingent of not having to give any sort of specimen today.
Knock knock….in walks a twenty-something man! I began to panic.
‘Hold up nurse Ratched; you said female! This kid is going to see my muffin top and chicken cutlets? I don’t think so.’ I thought, while debating if I should run.
Seconds later, Dr. T. walks in behind him explaining, “This is Kevin. He is going to be taking notes.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. This wasn’t an ideal situation with a male intern (even if he was ugly), but at least he wasn’t feeling me up, so I pretended I was cool with it. Kevin kept his back turned the entire time, on the exam room computer.
Thank the baby Jesus I am cancer free! Another big win? There are actually 2 anti-depressants that won’t lessen the affects of the Tamoxifen. I have had to go almost 2 years with diagnosed depression and not allowed to take anti-depressants as it cancels the affects of Tamoxifen.
“What have you been doing to curb the depression all this time?” She asked, genuinely concerned.
“Oh you know….everyday situations, like this one. For example, I thought Kevin was an intern and would be doing my breast exam before you.”
Suddenly the chatter of the keyboard, that had been the background of the room, stopped suddenly while big K. began to cough.
“I see,” Dr. T. said, knowing me and knowing to leave it at that.