some details: mammogram nitty gritty

Okay, I started writing this post BEFORE the stroke, back when I first discovered a lump in my breast and had to go get a mammogram. Hrm.  It wasn’t that too long ago–just a few weeks before my stroke.  At the time, I thought it would be helpful to post something about my mammogram so that I could enlighten people who haven’t had one. I’ve decided to go ahead and post it anyway!  Here goes:

Every six hours I have to take an antibiotic. That, plus the occasional shooting pains remind me of the stupid lump I have in my breast.

But before they discovered all that, I had to go get a mammogram and an ultrasound.

I was cringing at the thought of having my boob squished during the mammogram. But it wasn’t all that bad. The weirdest part was standing there with my top off and having my boob manhandled by a nurse. By that point, my boob had been touched by at least 3 people that day, so I wasn’t too freaked out (my boob would be examined by a total of 5 people by end of day).

I fully expected my boob to be screaming with pain as it was pressed between two large plastic blocks–but it didn’t hurt that much at all. It was a bit uncomfortable, but that was it. Not painful, at least in my opinion.

The weirdest part is waiting in a waiting room with all these other women also in hospital gowns waiting for THEIR mammograms. The second weirdest part is stripping down to your waist in the mammogram room. The third weirdest is having your boob “manhandled by a nurse.” Okay, maybe the third weirdest thing is the #1 weirdest thing.

Between each set and press, the nurse steps behind a screen and clicks a button or something that takes a picture. Then she runs that over to the doctor. That’s it. If you’re up for a mammogram, you should have one for sure. It’s not that big a deal and it can save your life. In my case, the mammogram showed that I had a major lump but that it was likely a breast infection.

The ultrasound was much more chill after all that. They put the goop (they were so considerate to warm it up) on your boob and then they take the little scanner thing and run it over your skin, just like they do on TV for pregnant ladies. Nowhere near as bad as a vaginal ultrasound where you feel like a human lollipop. It’s all external, so no biggie.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “some details: mammogram nitty gritty

  1. Yep, I unfortunately know all about having my boobs manhandled and examined by all kinds of people. THanks so much for describing the mammogram, though. I think women need the info.

    I was always squeamish about needles and medical procedures. THen I had all that surgery, multiple mammograms, MRIs, sonograms, biopsies, you name it. The kicker was a year after my surgery when they tattooed color onto the fake nipple in my reconstructed breast. Local anesthesia. This means I lay on an operating table fully conscious with my very handsome surgeon (white guy) and another very handsome nurse (black guy) leaning over me, drilling pink onto my left nipple. Fucking weird. I mean, we were making conversation while these two studly guys worked over my left tit.

    Mostly I’ve forgotten all those experiences but I hope I wrote some of them down at the time. What kind of writer am I, that I don’t put all this shit into fiction or something? Maybe I will now.

  2. Do they recommend them for women who do not have a lump? I am big into preventitive medicine, so I’d be willing to get one if they did.

  3. Stephanie

    But they will check you again after you’ve completed the antibiotics, right???

  4. Yes, they recommend them for women who do not have a lump. Beginning at a specified age, we’re supposed to have them as regular screenings.

    Stephanie: yep, I think so. But the antibiotics took the size of the lump way down…of course, I got a stroke right as the antibiotics ended. The lump was down but not all the way gone but the stroke took precedence, so the lump went back up in size. Now I’m back on antibiotics.

  5. mel

    yeah, that is a bit uncomfortable, the pressing, the manhandling, etc. I’ve been going for mammos for a few years now bc of a family history of breast cancer, but i think they normally start around 35.

  6. leonessa, you have to write about that nipple-tattooeing scene!

    I know a lot of people hate mammograms but I can definitely think of worse things. Like dentistry.

  7. The dentist is definitely worse than a mammogram, even for just a simple filling. I hate the sound of the freaking drill. Cannot bear it. If I believed in taking tranquilizers I would, but I don’t, so I don’t, but I wish I could.

    I don’t envy Jadepark any of the procedures she’s had to have done. They don’t sound fun. MRI doesn’t hurt, it’s just freaky to be in the machine with the clanking. Sonogram is no problem. Mammogram is squishy-squeezy but you can handle it. Needle sticks are just no fun. They don’t hurt all that much but they’re icky and the anticipation makes them worse. I hate them.

    You don’t want to have a biopsy, but some are worse than others. You really don’t want to have a fine needle aspiration biopsy in your underarm where they can’t get enough anesthetic in to make it not hurt. You really, really don’t want to have a fine needle aspiration in your underarm when the radiologist and two doctors can’t quite feel the node in question and have to call in the doctor who ordered the test to help them locate it, which means holding your arm up while teams of people poke deep into your pits with their fingers, and then argue about how to position you so they can get the needle in. You really don’t want to go through that. But if you do go through all that, may it turn up negative (as mine did). May none of you ever, ever have to go through any of that.

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