Step Up to the Plate: It's October and YOU Need a Mammogram
(You want to do what to my what?)
I knew what to expect when I showed up at the hospital for my first mammogram. My doc had been pushing me for months, and I had talked to countless women who'd had them.
(Tell me every detail. Does it hurt? Do they get their shape back?)
But when the time came, even armed with all kinds of information, I still couldn't believe what they wanted to do to my breasts — those modestly sized, delightfully sensitive extensions of myself that had fed my daughter, and that center my sexuality, often giving my husband something to do with his hands when ... well, never mind.
The receptionist in "mammo" takes my information, hands me a gown and tells me to disrobe from the waist up. She also tries to put my mind at ease.
"The worst part is the anxiety beforehand. Everybody is nervous. And, yes, they do bounce right back," she says, reading my mind.
My appointment is for 11 a.m. By 11:15, I already feel compromised. It doesn't help that I'm standing here in a hospital gown. At least I have my pants on. And the room is kind of pretty. All pastels and soft lighting.
Next, the tech comes in and explains that I'll be stepping up to the mammography machine and placing my right breast on a platform — a thought that immediately sends me into a good 30 seconds of nervous giggles.
(I always thought I'd be placed on a pedestal some day, but this isn't exactly what I had in mind.)
Then she'll use a foot pedal to slowly clamp the plastic plates above and below my breast to flatten it out.
"Not flat like a pancake," she assures me. "More like a balloon that's been pushed down."