Hello everybody! I hope you all are doing well. Yesterday I had my first mammogram and I wanted to quickly share this moment with you because it’s very important. Every year I have a physical done that includes lab work, EKG, optical, and OB/GYN exam with my husband’s union plan. This year, since I’m 35, a mammogram was also included and scheduled. I have to admit that I was a bit scared, because I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve heard the stories of how painful it is because they are literally pressing your breasts down as flat as they can and subjecting you to radiation, four times or more if they need more angles. I don’t have a history of breast cancer in my family, but that’s not a reason not to get checked. Bottom line, better safe than sorry.
The technician was wonderful in explaining exactly what was going to happen. First thing I did was wiped away any residue of deodorant from under my armpits and breasts. The tech informed me that there’s a chemical or was it ingredient (sorry!) in deodorants that can falsely show up as cancer on the x-rays. Needless to say, I wiped and wiped, oh and wiped to make sure I was clean. A few questions later, I was sitting in front of this massive, life saving machine. She showed me where the radiation would come down from. The trays, where your breasts are x-rayed, were right below. She showed me the screen and foot pedal on the bottom of the machine. This is where she’s able to lower the tray and see the amount of pressure that is placed upon each breast. The higher the number, the better. Higher meant more pressure in flattening your breast, but better image and less radiation. I took that into great account. She reassured me that I would not get stuck in the machine because there was an emergency release button. Good to know! 🙂
When the technician was done showing me everything, it was time. I stood up to face the machine and I was feeling ok, except for the fact that I knew this was going to hurt a bit. There’s no way around that. It was a little bit awkward as she lifted and positioned my breast onto the tray, but I got over that as soon as it came down. HOLY COW! The pressure was literally on, and she asked, “Can I go some more?” Remembering what she had said about the flatter the breast, the less radiation and better picture I would get, I said, “Yeah,” through clenched teeth. The tray went lower (OH MY GOODNESS), the technician said, “Hold still,” and she quickly took the x-ray. The tray released immediately just like she said it would. I’m not going to lie to you, but I also don’t want this message to deter you from getting this important test. It does hurt, FOR A FEW SECONDS, and if you have a high tolerance for pain then it’s not that bad. Onto the other breast, which she applied a lot more pressure, but I survived. The other two x-rays were side angles of my breast, which is a lot trickier because the tray is also being lowered down on your shoulder so that hurts a bit as well, but in the end, the pictures came out great. She immediately saw nothing of concern and I was done. Yippee!
I am very happy to have gone through that experience and even happier that everything looked good. She showed me the x-rays of my breasts on the computer and it is amazing to see that type of technology. If you haven’t gone and you’re over 35, please consider taking this test because it’s very important for your health. If you have any questions for me regarding my mammogram, I’ll be happy to share whatever I can with you. Until next time…