Oh, Momma . . . It’s The Mammo

Twenty years ago, my preventive healthcare consisted of one annual exam. An awkward moment with the OB/GYN, then a “Thank you. See you next year.”

But times change, as have my body and medical recommendations. My preventive healthcare is now a part-time job. I feel as if I schedule more appointments than Lindsey Lohan’s parole officer. (I know, I know. That was hateful, but I couldn’t resist).

Health checks are the right thing to do for EVERYONE!!! But with cancer on both sides of my family tree and having been a teenager in the ’80s when we weren’t concerned with SPF and thought baby oil was the ultimate suntan lotion, I am particularly adamant about getting my recommended check-ups.

There’s the mole check, colonoscopy, ultrasound (unfortunately, not the belly kind), pap smear, and blood work – with which I somehow end up with the sweet girl who’s completing her internship. And last, but not least, the always-pleasant mammogram.

Last week, I had the grand slam (not at Denny’s, unfortunately). I’m talking pap, ultrasound, blood and mammo. My doctor runs a one-stop shop. It really isn’t that big of a deal, but oh, Momma, it’s a good thing you have a year to forget about the mammogram.

I think it’s my vain concern for my breasts that bothers me the most. With age, gravity, and three years of nursing, the only thing perky on this woman is my personality. Then to have the printing press stretch them out even more . . . well, I fear the girls will be at my waistline after three more of these exams.

But I’m not going to kid you, it’s uncomfortable. This stranger (thank God, a woman) is manipulating my breasts more than my husband has in twenty years of marriage. And she wants me to move the rest of my body in some strange positions. Direct quote: “Stick your bottom out, bring your stomach in.” What is this, a Playboy photo shoot?

And all the while, you try and pretend that this is just a normal day in the jungle, chatting away about nothing in particular. “Last month, we took the kids to … Son of a B—-!” Yeah. There is the pain. But it’s just momentary.

And let’s face it. Nothing hurts as much as the weigh-in.

On a serious note, I can’t stress enough the importance of these exams. This momentary discomfort is well worth it, if you can reduce your chances of having to battle cancer.

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19 thoughts on “Oh, Momma . . . It’s The Mammo

  1. Chris, this made me laugh (and cringe). A good reminder, since I need to move this chore from TO DO to TO DONE. Thank you for making me smile (while gritting my teeth!)

  2. Yes, the exames are a pain but I agree. They are worth the time and effort. And thanks for being honest about the way I think most women feeling about their declining body image. Thank God Meryl Streep is making movies showing the grace and still sexy older woman.

  3. I’ll second the recommendation of keeping up with your check-ups. And if you feel something is wrong, follow up. My pap tests were okay for years, but more tests turned up endometrial cancer. Surgery, but no chemo, no radiation, and no more problems for the past seven years.

    As far as mammograms go, when I started having them 25 years ago, the machines were all designed for shorter women. Getting squashed is even more fun when you have to crouch down for it. Thank goodness someone noticed (probably another tall woman) and the newer machines go high enough. Still feel like closing your boob in the car door, though!

  4. LOL What a great post, Chris! Mammograms are positively medieval. Surely, a decade from now (hopefully sooner!) there will be a better, less painful version. One day, we’ll tell our granddaughters what we went through and they’ll roll their eyes like, “is she for real?”

  5. Oh, Chris, you KILL me…but not in a mammo kinda way 😉 Had the displeasure of one of these last year. Ladies, I recommend NEVER looking down when they’re slamwiched between the plates! It ain’t right.

    Thanks for the awesome and timely post!!!

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