I had my first Mammogram the year I turned 41. I am now going to be 45 this year. If you are 40 plus with no history of breast cancer or breast cancer in the immediate family then you should be getting a mammogram once a year. Covid kept me home. I know that I don’t have breast cancer in my immediate family but the reality is, I am the only one in my immediate family that has gotten to the age of 40 without any form of cancer. I don’t want to push my luck.
Over and over again I have heard women 40 plus say they have not gotten a mammogram because they were scared. I get that. I’m scared of getting a colonoscopy, terrified of it. One I have a lot of digestion issues, my Maternal Grandmother had colon cancer in her 50s and at that time was one of the only people living with that small amount of the colon without a colostomy bag. Yes, the doctors say that you don’t have to worry about testing till 45 but because of my grandmother’s cancer, I should have tested at 40.
The thing is I’m not scared of pain, I’m not scared of the prep. While I’m not scared of the intimate situations that this test leaves you in afterward it does worry me about being embarrassed. The thing I am terrified to know is if I have something wrong with me and worse finding cancer. I’m sure this last one is what most people fear.
2. Do not use any lotions, perfume, deodorant on or around your breast and underarms. (carry deodorant with you for afterwards)
3. Wear comfortable pants/skirt/shorts and separate top that is easy to remove.
4. Wear a bra that easy for you to remove and put back on.
5. Be able to pull long hair up in to a ponytail or bun.
Anyway, just to say I understand people’s fear. However, I want to set straight your thoughts on getting your tatas examined. I was going to be sitting for this exam so when I scheduled, they set aside a two-hour block. I’m not sure why but not all women can follow orders. I arrived and signed in. They called me back and Jeremy pushed me back. There were two lady technicians. Both were very friendly. Since I was in a wheelchair, they allowed Jeremy to push me right into the room where the test would be performed. They asked if Jeremy was my spouse and if I was comfortable with him staying, I was. They then explained the process which I remembered from the first visit. They then stepped out and let Jeremy help me out of my Bra and top. I left my sweater that was open in the front. They come back in with a gown. The gown was big enough for it to close around me. Although I only ever had one side on at a time.
They then had Jeremy push me up to the machine, they adjusted the pedals of my chair, and when I was level the one lady asked if she could touch me to adjust me and I said yes. Both ladies always asked me before they touched me and explained why they were touching me. It was all very professional and I had no complaints. They took three views of each breast (front and each side). They would tell me how to turn my body, then one of them would come in and scoop my breast onto the slides and the other would give me instructions on where to place my arms and head. It took maybe 30 minutes. Then they stepped out so I could get dressed. When I was dressed, they helped get me out the door and everything was fine.
The biggest thing that went a bit awry was that the testing room door was not big enough to just roll me in. Jeremy had to let me hold onto him and make a few steps through a hall and into the x-ray/testing room. After I was there they brought the chair through and I sat in it till it was time to leave and I did the little shuffle again. If we had brought my walker in, it would have been a lot easier.
The thing to know here if you have never received a Mammogram before is that there is nothing done other than x-rays/scans. You are touched but they will explain why. You either stand or sit while doing the testing, and the hardest part is just showing up and doing it. The thing I take away from this entirely new experience is, I didn’t want to have a mammogram because others had scared me. I found that there was no pain. The machine does have to press down on your breast but honestly, if you have ever had a man or woman fondle you during intercourse or making out, chances are you will have felt more pressure than you will from this machine. The highly professional women taking these scans are very easy to be calm around. The more confidence in their place to make sure you are healthy the better, their touch is not sexual in any way. So, ladies going forward can we start doing our part to ensure that our younger ladies amongst us know how important it is to get a mammogram? Let’s stop telling horror stories and be more positive about our experiences. If something happened be specific and explain yourself.
Let’s save the tatas!
For your information: I have a 54b/c bras size breast and without a bra, they are pretty flat and saggy. This may help in the no-pain side of things because when they have to squeeze there is nothing too much to squeeze. I hope this helps you on your journey to a healthier you.