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Pain Over Pancakes

Since hitting the big 4-0, I’ve detected an interesting phenomenon. Does anything ever fly as quickly as the year between mammograms? Truly, I’ll receive a mammogram appointment notice in the mail and immediately think this can’t be right, I was just there.

For my first mammogram appointment, I was fairly prepared.  I knew discomfort would be necessary. The radiology technologist offered what I’m sure she hoped was helpful advice, “It’ll hurt less in the future because as you age your breasts become much less dense”.  What? I was still adjusting to life in the “F” years, and the good news is my chest will become reminiscent of deflated balloons? No, not yet; I’ll take pain over pancakes.

While I respectfully decline to address if there has indeed been any less pinching in subsequent mammograms, I do admit that changes have been made that make the process more pleasant.  Not only are there robes, but they’re warmed robes. These are perfect for covering the snapping, crop-top poncho with Velcro touches that patients slip into before appointments. The toasty robe gives a bit of a virtual hug to each woman. Lovely. Each changing room now has a mirror so you can see what has happened to your hair after changing out of your clothes into a ‘mammo mini-poncho’ and back again. Mirrors also reveal how flushed you may have become after dropping your keys, or if you’re recovering from tearing up slightly when told to please wait while your images will be seen immediately by a radiologist. (I was, ever-so thankfully, fine.)

A mammogram is unlike any other activity. The unique diagnostic technique and subsequent maneuvers create a distinct memory. At this years appointment, I carried a clipboard with my chart across two waiting rooms. Unbeknownst to me, it was facing outwards instead of in.  The chart includes a breast diagram that takes up a good third of the page. Yes, important to record any concerns about breast health, but embarrassing for my mental health. This definitely created another mammogram memory, and without a scan or a poncho. My cheeks are still flushed pink.

The most recent addition is the ubiquitous coffee and tea bar—a genteel touch. I, however, am holding out for a pedicure bar. Or maybe just a bar.

I feel blessed that breast cancer screening is available.  I support preventative care, and encourage (or nag) family and friends to take basic wellness steps. (Take your vitamin, wear your seatbelt, floss and get an annual exam. Do it now.) Time does fly when you’re healthy. And that’s a very lucky place to be.  So, what’s next?  Wait, did you just say “colonoscopy”?

One Thought on “Pain Over Pancakes

  1. Just turned 50 in January and have my first colonscopy schedule. The joys of age. Mammograms don’t bother me in the least..that year does fly by but just another step in keeping on top of health. Will see how this colonscopy thing goes….

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