Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sharing is caring

If you've never had a mammogram before, the following may help you out. If you have, why didn't you share your knowledge with me, hmmm? Or why didn't the lady who told me to be there 30 minutes early?

1) Don't schedule one for Friday, this will become clear later.

2) I was greeted by a tech who said, "I'm ready for you. Are you wearing deodorant?" I was offended at first and nearly answered tartly with, "Yes. And I brushed my teeth, too." I always wear deodorant. It turns out you're not supposed to for a mammogram. They had wipes to remove it so I was good on that score.

3) I was given the most ridiculous almost a poncho drape to wear. Well, this is a stupid joke. Why don't they just have us remove our top IN the room with the machine & just lock the door? Fumbling around with that when the tech had already seen 1/2 of me, then the other 1/2 and back to the 1st half was just silly. I'm not really worried that she's going to be comparing the left half to the right. I was more concerned about what someone could see in a side view (there are no side seams to the "poncho") as I crossed from the dressing room to the room with the machine.

4)They will want to know if you have any moles. If you do, they have a charming little sticker that will go around the mole. And there are things that look like bandaids to cover your n i p p l e.
Not to worry, though, these are very decorative and you will feel positively overdressed once they are on.

5)If your hair is long enough to put in a ponytail, put it in a ponytail. The only PHYSICAL discomfort I felt was when a strand of hair got caught in the machine.

6) Do not worry that the part of your anatomy they are examining will fall off the machine. It will, if fact, almost stick to it like glue. Very weird, but not painful.

7)Many personal questions will be asked. Like when was your first period? Has anyone in your family had breast cancer? How many children do you have? How old were you when you gave birth? Have you had a hysterectomy? Would you prefer paper or plastic? Ok, not the last one, but don't go in there with your brain in neutral. Because I totally did. Not sure why, but you know, past experience is that history taking was all done on a form BEFORE I met someone face to face who was about to see me without my shirt on and put part of my anatomy in clamp and mash down.

8)If they have the same equipment my hospital had & it is your baseline mammogram, you probably will barely notice any pressure at all. Seriously, it was NOT painful.

9)Once you are finished & you're fumbling with the tie in the front almost-a-poncho so you can go back to the dressing room, the tech will probably say, "Your doctor will get the results tomorrow, and you'll get a card in the mail in 5-7 days. " Unless you are like me & do this on Friday. In which case the results will go to your doctor on Monday. And that will be fine. Until the tech says, "Since it's your baseline, they may have you come back if they see anything unusual, blah blah blah." And if you've put your brain in neutral like I did you'll walk out happy as a clam once your clothes are back on with your most serious concern being, "I wish I'd brought deodorant with me." And congratulating yourself for doing something good for your health while saying, "That wasn't so bad."
UNTIL your brain which is finally shifting into gear goes, "Huh? What did she mean if they see anything unusual. Did SHE see something? Does she say that to EVERYONE? Or just me? Because she saw something? And NOW I have to wait until MONDAY." Rather inconvenient when you've already left the office...

So, don't schedule your mammogram for Friday unless you can just turn it over to God since you're not going to hear anything before Monday anyway. Which is what I did, and I slept fine last night,thanks for asking. And really, I don't want to hear from them on Monday, either. I want a card in the mail saying, "Things look great. See you in a couple of years."