Mammo Whamo

Guys, you can stop reading now. Really. I mean it. Going into women’s world and will be back in a bit. Until then, find a comfy chair and read something else. Or look bored. But don’t say I didn’t warn you. I’m probably not even supposed to write about it. I’m most likely breaking some female code. But I’m a rebel and I’m going there. Or should I say, I went? 

I experienced what hundreds of thousands of women have already experienced and it wasn’t fun (even if the nurse was nice). It didn’t sound fun. Not when I was getting advice like, “Take a Motrin before you go” and “Don’t go when you’re PMS” (too late) etc.

If I didn’t get advice, I got the look. A combo smirk riddled with pity from women with a long history of being squashed.

I went anyway. Unprepared for the tiny band aids with silver beads that made me feel slightly burlesque (was that wrong?) or the plastic shelf that was smaller than I thought it would be or the tape to make sure they didn’t move an inch or the pain (everything relative to having given birth, twice) or the fact that my ribs/costo. didn’t like the weird angle for the sideways shots or that a machine was crushing squishing my girls!

I was relieved to hear, “That’s it,” nodded my head, uttered a “thanks” (did I really say that?) and headed for the door.

I got the The Callback and returned for an ultrasound because of “an area that needs more evaluation.” Apparently, they can’t spell since the (s) was left off in areaS. Lucky me.

I returned and was whisked off to the dimly lit “Sand Dollar” room (slight spa feel minus the bulky tech equipment). A witty nurse glopped warm slime on my chest and began her quest. She made small talk to try and take my mind off the fact that she was pausing, going over the same areas, and click, click, clicking images on the screen (oh, shit).

I told her about my dad. How he was a prostate cancer survivor. How lucky I was to have him around. How his surgery had been in September.

I closed my eyes and pretended not to notice the clicking (dammit) and tried to think of the ocean, the waves, the warm sand, sand dollars. . .okay, I was still there and a nurse was finding s-t-u-f-f.

“Oh, yes, very dense.”

“What, exactly?”

“The average woman is 180 thread count. You’re 800.” Lucky me.

“The doctor may come in and check when I’m done” (warning, warning, bells).

After 45 minutes of seek and find, she left and Doctor came in. A cute, baby faced guy (I was warned, not like it mattered) with a serious look shook my hand and promptly went to work.

Nurse: “Over there, 12 o’clock.”

Doctor:  “Oh, yes, two of them close together.”

Nurse:  “See that? Could be a third. That’s it for that one.” Next.

Doctor:  “Oh, another.” I twisted to look at the decent size black hole on the screen. Baby Face stopped to look at me.

“Good thing is I don’t see any vascular activity around them but you’ll need to come back in 6 months to be rechecked.” I exhaled. Lucky me.

I don’t know what I would have done had the Doctor uttered different words. Sentences with “needle” and “biopsy” in them. I didn’t feel brave. The clicking had scared me, senseless.

Every day, women go to have their girls crushed squished and some of them get The Callback. They have ultrasounds, get biopsies, and find out they have “c.” Their lives whirl before their eyes. They hear. They feel shock. The life they had before they walked into that office is now different. They fear. They tell themselves they will survive. They live. They are B-R-A-V-E.

“They” (some insurance companies) are now recommending that women get their first mammo at 50 yrs. of age (laughable really). I should have gone a few years ago but I was told I didn’t need to until I was 40. Be proactive about your health, ladies, and follow your instincts. Don’t let monopolies and big business determine when you should or should not establish your baseline. 

If you’d like to donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, just click the image below:

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25 thoughts on “Mammo Whamo”

  1. As scary as this is, your post served to as a reminder for me to have a mammogram. Something I’ve been putting off so far. I’m sorry that you had to go through another round of investigations. I can imagine how scary that must have been with your Dad’s recent health issues. Take care, Pamela. ♥

    1. Yes, hon. Time to do it. Don’t be scared. I was relieved to go knowing I was taking care of myself but I still am concerned about dad, of course. Hopefully, that chapter in his book is closed for good. Men, you have to be checked, too! xoxoxoxo

  2. Hi Pamela , thanks for stopping by my blog. Wow, your post sure brought back memories to me! That machine was like a vise, and made my breasts flat as a pancake. I’m not at risk for this ‘c’ but had thyroid c and tomorrow, a biopsy and then a clear diagnosis of what’s ‘growing on my arm.’ You really went through some frightening minutes , had me on the edge of my chair, face to the monitor, while reading your post! Good luck prayers and hugs.

    1. It was my pleasure. I hope everything works out for you. Have known too many people with “c” and hope a cure is found soon. You have gone through so much I’m sure. Prayers your biopsy goes well. Here’s to negative test results! Awh, thanks so much. xoxo

  3. You hit the hammer on the nail with the pain and all a Mammo entails. I had my first in my 20’s because the doctor wanted to play it safe and my chest was very lumpy. There was no reason for us to be worried about getting that cancer. All of our grandparents, aunts, uncles all died from other cancer’s not that one. At the time of my first mammo my dad’s sister wasn’t in my life so I had no way of knowing that she had Breast Cancer and had a double mastectomy. Than 10 years later I get the news that my younger sister of only 33 years old was admitted to the hospital with Stage 4 Breast Cancer. She had lesions on her liver, she couldn’t breathe well because of the liquid in her lungs and around her heart. She had lymph nodes popping out of her neck where you could see them clearly. She died 2 days after this diagnosis. We are coming up to the 1 year anniversary of her passing on the 8th of Feb. I spent all last year writing and advocating for this cancer. It makes me feel bad when I hear a woman say she doesn’t self examine or get mammo’s done. I hate hearing people saying that it’s a “woman’s” disease because it’s not. It kills men too. One of my male cousins recently informed me that he had to have lumps removed from both his ‘breasts.’ I am so glad to hear that you went in and had the mammogram done. I’m sorry to hear that you have to go back in so soon. I hope you are well and stay well. Thank you so much for posting this. People need to know that cancer is very real and it’s not waiting for you to be ready for it. It attacks when it wishes and often without your even knowing about it. Early detection is key and mammogram’s and ultrasounds do work for that. There is also a gene test you can have done to find out if you will get breast cancer. I have to go in for this test and both of my children when they reach age 18. My aunt has this gene and there is a high possibility that my father is the carrier who passed it down to us. On that note I have taken up more comment space than I intended but, as you can see I take breast related illnesses and cancer very seriously. I hope you have a wonderful day and please keep everyone informed about your subsequent doctor visits.

    1. I’m so sorry, Jenni. I heard your story before (and about your sister) and I did think of you when I went back for the ultrasound. Life has been so crazy lately that I haven’t been in touch with some of my blogging friends. Now I know I have to go for an ultrasound every time since they can’t see anything on my mammo and they are watching something specific. If need be, they’ll biopsy it in the future. You’re in my thoughts and prayers and here’s to hope and awareness for all of us. Yes, men need to know, too. I think, we, women do a good job about talking about this issue while the men have some catching up to do with regards to prostate health etc. My dad has been proactive and they caught his cancer before it spread (we found out when he went for his post-up up that the cancer was much more extensive than originally thought and the surgeon couldn’t believe it hadn’t metastasized). Thanks so much for the kind thoughts. I know you understand. I’ll keep you posted next time. Hugs.

  4. How great everything was okay. Sounds like a scary experience. But I’m glad I read this as I have to do this in some years too. Thanks for sharing.

  5. If we are not supposed to write about this then I too broke the rules… You wrote about the experience much better than I, but it was not a happy time for me either. I got a call back, I am fine but must go in every 6 mo., every 6 mo. for colon too! Not happy about these things, but I chose to live the best I can so screening is essential. The more we write about it the more people will pay attention to themselves I hope. Great post and I am glad you are okay <3<3<3

    1. Ohhh, I missed your post. I’m glad that you’re okay and if it means we have to go back more frequently, so be it. Sorry about your colon, though, ugh! xoxoxoxoxo

  6. That must have been some experience. Glad nothing to panic about except go back 6 months later for another checkup. Reading this brought to mind my Jenni’s experience with mammo in a post. Take care dear friend

  7. Hello Pam.
    I accompany my wife to all her doctors appointments, so I’m not embarrassed one bit by this post. I can’t be the one to experience the pain of these particular exams, but I’m in the waiting room to offer her moral support.

    I know how important mammograms are & am glad everything turned out ok.

    Hope you don’t mind my stopping by…more men should be aware of what their women have to go through with their health.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Andy,

      What a sweet hubby to be with your wife. She must appreciate your support! It’s a great way to show love.

      Thanks for you kind words.

      I was just kidding about the men. Some of them don’t want to hear anything about women’s issues so I warned them. 😉

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Pamela

  8. My mother called to tell us…she had surgery to remove some calcification.

    Oh My Goodness I have no idea what that means or how to feel.

    She and the dr are ok with it all so I guess that is a clue…

    One of her nine sisters died of cancer. It was a much younger sister close to my age. Maybe there are deep intuitive reasons I am being as proactive as possible with my life. I stopped using antiperspirant with aluminum, I watch my weight, I try to eat better than I was raised eating, I drink water.

    It just has made sense to me as a mom and an adult to reject the status quo. I nursed my daughter for two years and didn’t take birth control.
    We did cloth diapers and homeschooled along side other families that are into all things natural, “crunch” and organic etc.

    Recently another mom introduced me to a company that makes products with the idea in mind that our illnesses are very likely caused by chemicals we come in contact with. Harsh cleaners & ineffective vitamins are things they try to combat with the products they make. The company is called Melaleuca.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope it alerts those who need it and saves those who are in danger.

    1. Awh, they do that as a preventive measure so it sounds like it’s a good thing she had the procedure.

      I’m sorry to hear about your mom’s sisters.

      Happy, though, to know you are doing everything you can regarding your health to be proactive. Yes, to the environmental triggers/chemicals. Many people have no idea what they are exposing themselves to (and their loved ones) when they use seemingly benign chemical products like air fresheners, Lysol sprays, Windex which has ammonia in it, etc. I’ve switched to using white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and things that are non-toxic to clean with.

      Good luck with your health, too! 🙂

  9. Love your way of writing!

    I must admit I’ve not gone for a mammo and I’ll hit the big 40 this year. I cannot say it is on my ‘to do list’. However, it is on my husband’s ‘nag my wife list’ …

    I hope all is well for you in the future!

  10. I’ve been in your shoes with my girls many times. Did have a scare and the old biopsy, but, thank goodness, everything was okay . . .
    And, yes, it is so important to get that baseline mammogram at 40. Don’t let anyone tell you any different!
    Thanks for this down-to-earth, informative post, Pam. I hope all the women who read this are motivated to move on their health!
    Blessings!

    1. I’m glad everything was okay with them. For some of us, we need a baseline prior to 40 especially if we are “bumpy roads.” Most of it is about monopolies and comes down to money (big shocker). xoxoxoxo

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