I was neither frightened nor dreading my first mammogram. People told me it “smashes boobs“, flattens breasts and “pinches boobies“. I breast-fed, getting off to a rough start. That hurt more.
At the Exam
At the exam, the force was indeed noticeable in a negative way, but I felt more discomfort from the way I had to hold my shoulders for the sake of a clear picture of my breasts. The area from each shoulder to my collarbone ached for a few hours after the test. Stretch that area before going for a mammogram.
Something not to do before going for a mammogram is apply baby powder or wear deodorant. "Don't wear deodorant, perfume, lotion or powder under your arms or on your breasts on the day of your exam. Foreign particles could show up in the x-ray.” (https://www.fda.gov/consumers/womens-health-topics/4-mammography-myths)
The machine that performs the test is an X-ray device. It doesn’t look scary, but it sure looks blunt and bland, certainly adding to the discomfort for an aesthete. Painting it teal would be an improvement, as teal combines the calming properties of blue and green. During such a test, calm is a great thing to be.
The technician was swamped. This is no surprise. All medical professionals are overwhelmed these days. Covid has increased almost everyone’s workload with cleaning tasks and more paperwork. She was also the one technician in that office facilitating bone density tests. Wow, I’ll be seeing a lot of her in the next 20 years!
I do know that technicians may not provide any interpretation of the scan results, so I didn’t ask. But I did ask, "Can you please tell me if my breasts are on the dense side?” I got an answer, and the answer was, “Not particularly.” I’m lucky. If you have dense breasts, typical mammogram results are not as reliable for you as they are for women whose breasts are not dense. (https://cancer.ca/en/treatments/tests-and-procedures/mammography/breast-density)
Do Not Procrastinate That Test
Speaking of all that cleaning, please don’t avoid scheduled or recommended mammograms because of Covid. Of course, medical science doesn’t know everything about Covid. It does, however, know enough about cancer to unequivocally say outcomes for breast cancer are better the sooner it is detected. (https://cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/what-is-cancer/prognosis-and-survival)
My mom used a trick to help her feel better about going for her first mammogram: she bought a top and waited until the mammogram to wear it for the first time. Because of all I’ve studied to serve the customers of Best Breast Vest Co., I needed no trick or encouragement to make the appointment to take my first mammogram.
The result was negative, for which I am grateful. During the test, the technician calmly informed me that since this was my first mammogram, I could be called back because the doctor needs another picture to get a satisfying read. For future mammograms, the earlier images will be on file to help the doctor interpret my images.
And in the End
Where I reside, it’s two years until I may book another mammogram. I know my diligence in checking my breasts once per month for unusual things on my skin and lumps on the inside can bring me peace of mind, too. That’s because I “felt it up on the first“ for 6 months before this mammogram. I have a reasonable idea of how things should feel in that area, and I’ve had a clear check. Going forward, if something doesn’t feel right to my fingertips, I can act with confidence. And, I’d be acting early which is one of the best things I could do should what I feel actually be cancerous.
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