Category Archives: mammogram

Pop Goes the Weasel

Yesterday I did the one thing every woman loves to do above all else: watch helplessly as two plates of glass try to squeeze her breast until it explodes. Not just once, but four times.

It’s called a mammogram. And – amazingly – not only is it legal, it’s medically recommended. And required way too often (every one to two years instead of never again).

Men do not understand why women might not enjoy the process. Even when I tell them to think of it as similar to putting the family jewels into a vise and tightening until the possessor of said jewels hits high C.

I was already not in a good mood because the day before was cancer day. I noticed a suspicious spot on my nose several months ago so did what any sensible person would do. I ignored it. I knew if it wasn’t cancer I’d be okay and if it was cancer I didn’t want to know.

But then I realized that if it was cancer and I kept waiting eventually they might have to remove my nose, leaving me looking like Michael Jackson.

I don’t want to look like Michael Jackson so I stopped waiting, only to learn that I had not just one but two “premalignant lesions” (doctor talk for “jesus that’s a precancerous suspicious spot”) which were frozen off and one “I really don’t like the look of that I’m slicing it off right now with this razor sharp instrument and sending it to be biopsied hold still this really won’t hurt that much.”

So now I have a divot on my leg which – and this is the important part – looks really gross but I have to look at it every day for two weeks when I clean the wound (why is that phrase designed to induce the gag reflex?) and make sure I place a dab of vaseline on it before applying the new bandage and don’t worry that oozing white spot in the center is part of the healing process not puss.

I hyperventilated on the way to the bathroom. “I have to look at something really gross, I have to look at something really gross.” I peeled off the bandage. It was really gross. I couldn’t pass out because I had to go to the hospital.

To get my breasts exploded.

I walked passed the front desk on my way to the radiology department which sent me back to the front desk. Which immediately tried to make me into the wrong person because, in their recent update, someone had deleted my records and made me into someone else. Which, as the hospital staff person made perfectly clear, was completely my fault. And here – put on this wrist band which will make you look silly.

She didn’t like it when I told her if it didn’t let me on any rides I wasn’t going to wear it.

She flung the wrist band at me and sent me back to radiology.

This is when I made a critical error. I went.

Which is why I stood next to the mammogram machine trying not to scream as the lab tech flattened my breasts four times. Two times each. And I let her.

But I had to wonder: what kind of person wakes up one morning and decides this is what they really want to do in life.