this might pinch a little

I walked up to the machine and slid my right arm out of the sleeve of my gown. This might pinch a little, said the pretty technician with her perfect hair and never-been-smashed-before, 29 year-old breasts. I didn't have anything against her, it's just that this was the third time over the years that I have had to go back for a repeat mammogram, and I think I knew all about the pinching by now.



There was a concern on the right side, again. Now we need to do some pictures at this angle, she sweetly informed me. I held onto the bar and tried to think about anything else I could at that moment. Sit right there and either I or the radiologist will be back in to discuss your results. Ten minutes later they needed additional pictures, so off with the right sleeve again. Don't get me wrong- be as thorough as you need to be. I am just not a good waiter. And again ten minutes later a third set is needed. Red and screaming at me, I looked down to apologize to my body.

We are going to have you just come across the hall for an ultrasound to be sure we are as accurate as possible with our tests today. So I wrapped my gown tightly across my chest and walked across the hall, my brown suede knee-high boots clicking my arrival. Another too-young-to-really-get-my-anxiety technician was very kind and gentle as she performed my first ultrasound. Things look fine to me, but I will have the radiologist look at what I did here. Twenty minutes pass as I stare at the acoustical tiles on the ceiling. The tiles don't even match, and the canned recessed lights look like they might fall right out and onto me as I lay there wondering what a biopsy will feel like.

The radiologist comes in for another ultrasound, and informs me that all seems well. Sometimes we see things at one angle that we can't prove with other tests. So let's have you back in six months, just to follow up.

A little misty on the way home. I hug myself.

17 comments

LisAway | March 16, 2009 at 12:17 PM

Oh, I'm sorry. I have never experienced this yet. I can hardly wait. :(

Glad you're free and clear for six months at least. . .

That Girl in Brazil | March 16, 2009 at 12:17 PM

And more hugs coming your way -

And tears ....

Luann | March 16, 2009 at 12:43 PM

Beautifully written, my friend. It paints a picture that I know is necessary, but I do not look forward to it.

Lanie | March 16, 2009 at 1:53 PM
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lanie | March 16, 2009 at 2:16 PM

I am so glad that you called me before you wrote this blog or I would be crazy with worry. As your mother I should have prepared you for yet another life experience, but there are those that we don't care to share..one being pinch pinch..I always want to say...if it's only a little pinch then you put your little (girls) there and I'll watch..nasty huh....I'm happy that all went well...I'm sending you loads of love and hugs..Mom

Melanie J | March 16, 2009 at 2:17 PM

Thank God.

Kazzy | March 16, 2009 at 2:49 PM

Lisa- Many people get "called back." Kind of common, but still not fun.

TGiB- Thanks for the hugs!

Lu- Been a bit uptight about it. Already made my Sept. appt.

Lanie- Some things we just need to learn on our own, huh?

Melanie-I do. And after little things that remind me of my mortality I especially do.

Heidi Ashworth | March 16, 2009 at 3:27 PM

I had my first mammo at age 40. My grandmother, mother and sister had all had breast cancer by then (none of them died of it, though). Anyway, I had to have a follow up mammo, and a biopsy-- a very painful one. It was all negative, thank goodness, but I sure know how you feel! You wrote about it beautifully, of course!

Minna | March 16, 2009 at 3:49 PM

i too had this wonderful experience last summer. doctor found the possible lump on a friday. couldn't be scheduled for a mammogram until tuesday. didn't have my hair cut that weekend because "what if" i was going to lose it all. didn't tell daniel because he was leaving for 10 days in italy and i didn't want him to worry. becca went with me - very pregnant at the time with maya.

this does seem to be another one of our "passages" but not a fun one. take care of yourself.

Heather of the EO | March 16, 2009 at 5:51 PM

You just made me feel like I was there. I can't imagine the discomfort and the fear, but I understand it more than I ever have because of this post.

Connie | March 16, 2009 at 10:09 PM

Karen,
Was so relieved when Joan told me that things were OK. i've been thinking of you and hoped that you would post your thoughts and experience. Well done, my friend.

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel | March 17, 2009 at 12:32 AM

I'm so glad everything turned out okay. I totally agree how uncomfortable mammograms are. But I guess not as uncomfortable as waiting for bad news even if it never comes. You captured that feeling so well. I have put off mammograms for 2 years now because I hated the first time. I guess, I better just go in and do it.

Linde | March 17, 2009 at 1:29 PM

Those are really fun tests aren't they? Not thinking, I once asked my tech how many times she had been through this. Never, she told me. :) I didn't mean to say she looked that old, I just forget that it is a 40+ test. The first time I had mine they had to do it with an ultra sound for the same reasons. Now that I've done it for 4 years, they see the same "irregularities" and they don't change so I'm OK.

How was/is your b-day? I know it was coming up.

charrette | March 18, 2009 at 4:26 PM

Since you wrote this so well, I almost feel like I was there. Which almost makes me feel like I don't need to go get one done myself. We believe in vicarious, right?

Seriously, I had my first one at 28, to participate in a family study, when my mom was dying of breast cancer. I had another about 10 years later. And now I keep putting them off. You are brave.

And now the Bossy Big Sister in me wants you to get a second opinion. Because that would have saved my mom.

Then again, the second opinion came ten minutes later, right? And they asked you to come back in sic months, not two years. I think you're in good hands.

CHERRANNE | March 18, 2009 at 7:40 PM

OI!!!!!!!! :P I am hugging You too, Kaz! And a little misty myself. The Joys of womanhood, huh?

wendy | March 18, 2009 at 9:11 PM

And I'm hugging you back. I remember right after my divorce, I had to go in for a biopsy, I thought "great, just divorced and will loose a breast", It wasn't anything to worry about. I understand the anxiety and misty eyes.

Mrs4444 | March 21, 2009 at 10:12 PM

Hugging you, too :)