My First Mammogram

I got a new doctor. This guy was pretty thorough and I must say, has been the first person that even brought up a mammogram in all my doctor visits since I’m over 40.

Now we’ve all heard nightmare stories about Mammogram’s and how painful they are. My worry was that they were going to squish the fuck out of my extremely large breasts. I mean really, most women that I know…mind you, I am a Sailor. Most of the women I spend my time with are young enough to be my daughter so mammograms are not the scalding hot conversations that we have on a daily basis.

Anyway…I was able to get an appointment right away especially since most of the elderly military retirees aren’t breaking down the door for a boob appointment. If it was heart related…forget about it. I would still be sitting here waiting for an appointment. I know how some of the corpsmen are for other departments in the hospital are so I was expecting some asshole to be on the other end of the desk when I arrived.

Must have been my lucky day because the nurses I encountered were very nice and polite. Which did put my mind at ease a bit. When I got into the room, my nerves were on 10. I just kept thinking how much pressure were they going to apply and was it really going to hurt too bad. My brain immediately went to to a stupid cartoon where the cars are at the junk yard and are on an assembly line and at the end is a creepy-scary face chomping down on the cars as they passed through and are destroyed. My poor big breast were going to be devoured.

As I sat there, waiting for the technician, it kind of set into my brain. This machine could be the bearer of bad news. This machine has been kind to some women and given good news. This machine has also…shattered people’s lives. Loss of loved ones and friends. Loss of mom’s and grandmas, aunts, sisters, and best friends.

Fear set in. The fear of the unknown. Could I be next? Would they pull me into a room and tell me horrible news to? What about my kids? What about my husband and friends? So many things all at once. As I stared at this innocent machine…I wanted to cry. I just kept thinking about so many women who’ve stood in this same room before me.

The nurse must have felt my energy when she came back into the room. She tried her best to tell me to relax. That it’s common and routine to get this test done. See, she was thinking I was afraid of the procedure. I wasn’t. I was afraid of the results.

My mind was flooded with to many thoughts. I stood up to the machine as this woman started taking the pictures. My mind was so distracted that I don’t even remember what the procedure felt like. Until she did a side shot and had to squeeze my boobs from an odd angle. That shit hurt…son of a bitch…managed to mumble.

Once it was done, I left. Feeling numb and fearful. Praying to God that these results came back normal. The waiting seem to take forever. I wish it could be a faster process. That someone could just tell you immediately, like an X-ray what they saw. Two long ass weeks before someone called me back.

The news was good news but I didn’t feel fulfilled. I just kept thinking about the next woman that was in there. Did she feel a lump? Were her results good too? Getting older can be scary. Yet, I get to live to tell another story. I can only appreciate this moment and be happy in this moment.

For anyone that has not taken the time to get a mammogram because you’ve been scared to do so. Please take the time to get it done. Yes it may be scary and even slightly painful but ignorance can be a killer.

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