July 14, 2011

My Mammos are Gramed

As promised, I thought I would blog a bit about my first experienced with a mammogram. With all the hype and horror stories about machines going crazy, squishing boobs unrecognizable, and even the odd fainting spell, I was a bit .......apprehensive. Never mind the conflicting research I have read suggesting those 40 - 50 should stick with self examinations and not risk the radiation.  However, being a health promoter myself and touting the benefits of prevention, I took the opportunity to join my admin assistant and, together, we marched in to the hospital after work yesterday to get 'er done.

If there is one thing I hate it is the
stupid hospital gowns they make
patients wear. If it isn't bad enough
to hang everything out for the staff,
wear one of these things so you are
really humiliated! Luckily, I was not
asked to put one on...another way of
relaxing the patient...I'm sure. Thanks
St. Joe's you guys did a great job!
First of all, walking into a hospital makes me sick. No one smiles, no one talks, everyone looks...sick (I guess that's why they are in the hospital) and the smells my... God the smells! At any rate, we followed the pink arrow (nice touch) to the door with the pink ribbon on it (nicer touch) to a little intake room. There was a very friendly volunteer to great us (she was volunteering because her two sisters had breast cancer before the age of 50).  Funny enough, I wasn't feeling nervous or weird about being there, but rather comfy and looking forward to the experience (I was heavily medicated on Midol, however, so I can't be held responsible for my attitude).

After my AA went in (and pulling a mean trick on me pretending she was crying and in severe pain after her session.....ya....nice one) I walked into a small room with an extremely amazing technician there to explain everything. Seriously? It was absolutely nothing. It was relaxing, quick, and absolutely pain (and discomfort) free. The machine and process is now digital and things take but a mere couple of seconds to do. If your technician knows what she is doing, you won't have any discomfort at all. The machine was full of rounded corners (really nice when  you have to mold your boobie around it) and the pressure was nothing to be concerned about. Overall, it was a great experience and one I look forward to again next year.

Above is my creative compilation of the three photos I was allowed to take. The top is the door we entered through...note the pink ribbon (gotta have the pink ribbon). The exam room has a cute little corner that reminds one of home. Perhaps this is their way of making you relax....great attempt.  The machine is....pink (OMG) and is made up of rounded corners. At first glance, I thought it came with a tray on top (the clear thing) where you could put your keys and wallet..but I guess that's how they take the image (duh). The technician will help you put your boob in the right place and that plastic tray moves slowly down on it....seriously it is nothing (the "crunch" I added was for total entertainment value).  Get 'er done!
As far as my research questions go....I asked the technician her thoughts on it and, based upon the new technology (something I doubt was included in the studies I read) the radiation is so minimal it is insignificant (kinda like drinking one can of sugar free pop a day...yes, the aspartame is present but is such a small amount it won't hurt you.......hopefully - although I have to say...I would tend to choose the real thing over the chemicals).  So I felt okay with the request of coming back in a year.  I also learned that for those between 40 - 50 cancer (if you have it) spreads quickly. As you age it slows down. This, in my opinion, is one of the best reasons to go for a mammogram if you are in this age group.

So if you are over 40 and you have yet to make your first appointment, I do recommend it and am here to say...it's nothing to stress over. You will feel more in control of your health if you get 'er done!

For my next act of scary-ass prevention, I will attempt a LEEP procedure in August. This one will be a little more freaky and involves a needle and electrical-type wire thingy....where they put it is up to you to figure out.

That's all I got today.

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