Step Up to the Plate: It's October and YOU Need a Mammogram
(Lady, you distinctly said "flatten.")
"Dr. D mentioned on your file that you have dense breasts," she says, referring to the gynecologist who insisted I have the mammogram. "Sometimes that makes it harder to get a clear image. But you should be OK."
(Yeah, he did tell me my breasts are dense. I didn't know what he meant; I just took it as a compliment.)
"Ten days after the end of your period is the best time to get this done. It hurts less," the tech says.
(OK, at least my timing is good. Wait ... what? Hurts?)
I follow her instructions and step up to the plate, so to speak. She puts things in their proper place and battens down the hatches. I'm feeling panicky. It doesn't seem normal, and I want out.
OK, I'm ignoring the pressure and that tiny twinge of pain. Not in my breast itself, but underneath where the machine is tugging. I'm ignoring the feel of cold plastic against my skin and thinking instead of silk camisoles, a lover's breath and the warm sun on that beach in Greece a lifetime ago. Things that make breasts happy.
And then, it's over. A little discomfort, no real pain. The compression lasts all of about 10 seconds. That was the front view. Now, there's a side view to be taken.
(What is this — a mug shot? Who's being booked, me or my breasts? And what are the charges? Defying the laws of gravity? I wish. Am I the only one who thinks that's funny?)
Having a mammogram will never be a pleasant experience, but if you get yourself into the right frame of mind, you can relax, even laugh, right up to the moment the machine clamps down on you. Then you grit your teeth and curse the gene that made you a woman. Until, mere seconds later, you're free again. And your breast, though still a little ticked off, is downright ecstatic.