Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pink Ribbons on a Life is Funny Post?

Gentlemen reading this post, you are welcome to stay and read this. I consider you my brothers in Christ. However, your sister (me) is about to describe a mammogram. If I was shy about men potentially reading this, I wouldn't post it, but that doesn't mean you want to read it...Jason, I know I linked a post to your blog early on that was even more descriptive, but keep in mind, it wasn't my glitter or gynecological exam. If you ever write about having a prostate exam, I plan on skimming that post to the end, and commenting "I am so glad you are taking care of your health", so feel free to skip to the end and leave a similar comment.

Okay, now that it is just us girls (and guys who have been fairly warned..).... I know that Breast Cancer Awareness Month was last month, but you know that I have to be different. Neither my mammogram appointment nor my post on the importance of mammograms could be done in October, because that is when everyone else is doing it. I like being the only carnation in a bouquet of roses. I like to use a purple ink when everyone else is using black or blue. So of course, my first mammogram had to be Monday, November 2. You know I wouldn't write about the importance of a mammogram without first getting one myself. And you know if anyone can see humor in getting her bust flattened between a piece of plastic and an X-ray machine, it'd be me.

To begin with, I found it funny that when I called my doctor's office asking where to go for a mammogram, they said that I'd have to come in for a referral. Why would I need a referral for something that is recommended yearly? I found out later when they asked me to put my name on a reminder post card that the Dr.'s office was wrong. I didn't need the referral.

I have to admit, I was very much relieved that the tech was a female. It is not that I am used to being felt up by females, but I am a bit of a prude. I was actually afraid I'd strike a male. Old habits die hard... And its not like he'd even be buying me dinner first! He'd be expecting my insurance to pay him! And let's not forget the copay. Yep, the thought of a male technician doing my mammogram was my biggest worry, and it did not come to pass...

Now, I knew from listening to other women describe mammograms, that I should expect smooshed frontsetts. (For the uninitiated, frontsetts are the opposite of assetts...) I would like to add that the female technician very kindly told me to let her know when the tension was about even with the amount of discomfort I was willing to endure. I knew this was important, and I was willing to endure. The shots of just my bust where I face forward and don't breathe for several seconds was quite manageable.
However, I was not expecting the underarm shots for my lymph nodes. The tech places my one of my frontsetts on the X-ray while I try to place my underarm on it, have my body face one way, and then face to the left (for the other frontsett, I had to face to the right). Well, all of the sudden, I start to laugh. I know this had to be a first for her...a woman with a pressed bust and armpit gazing to the side and laughing.... I just kept thinking that if this picture were on a mammogram brochure, no one would ever go. I pictured having the kind of smile on my face that you find in dental brochures, but with one bust hanging out, and the other one pressed with my arm hugging the apparatus taking the X- ray so it can get a shot of my armpit as well. Underneath the picture would be the caption...
"Much more fun than your average pap smear!"
Go ahead. Close your eyes and picture it. Please don't forget the toothy grin! Funny, no?
I explained to the technician why I was laughing. I am still waiting for a call to begin my new brochure writing career!

How about joining Wendy for her Life is Funny blog carnival? You know she ain't picky! She's accepting mammogram posts for goodness sake!

You know what is not funny? Having breast cancer, and not knowing....
I found the mammogram to be uncomfortable, but not at all painful. It was definitely worth doing. My doctor should be finding out the results sometime today.
If you ignored that last month was Breast Cancer Awareness month, well, so did I. But if you are over forty, take a moment and remember when your last mammogram was....If the answer is fifth of Never, then I encourage you to make an appointment. If you vaguely remember ignoring a reminder, again, I encourage you to make an appointment. It isn't really that bad. I would score it as ten, even twenty times more fun than a pap smear!


Glynn said...

OK, so I didn't skip to the end. And I shook with laughter over the definition of a frontsett.

But once you've had a prostate exam by a woman doctor -- and a woman doctor you see at church every Sunday -- and who's in your Sunday School class -- you redefine what "embarassment" means.

Good post, Helen. It's funny and important.

Ginny (MAD21) said...

I can just picture you laughing. I would probably do the same thing. It's either laugh or cry, right??

Candy said...

So did they have to go and get the high-speed film and the zoom lens? Because that's what they always tell me. I've had too smashograms to count, and am grateful for every one of them. A mammogram revealed my mom's cancer when she was 59, and now at 84 she's still complaining they don't let her get them at half price.

katdish said...

"Much more fun than your average pap smear!"

Now see...I would totally go to that doctor.

And Glynn - Gaaa!

watershacklady said...

Dear Helen, I love it. Style, grace and humor. Your writing summed up in three words. Loved the warning to the men. Real Men will read on anyway.

Frontsetts? I love it. Ta Tas..Boobs..Hooters..The girls.. Second base..Dozens of words. You have given us a new term which 3rd grade boys (and those gentlemen with 3rd grade minds will not adopt.

That alone makes your post Just for "the Girls"
Fine job once again

Lianne said...

Your definition of "frontsetts" killed me.

I wonder if you were the first to laugh EVER.


Anonymous said...

I was right there with you through it all, Helen. I felt your pain, and laughed with you! I could totally picture your face.

I so needed this today.

Thank you, and btw... it is so important not to skip these preventative exams!!

Wendy said...

Oh Helen, now mammogram centers across the country are going to be swamped because of your delightful post. I have to tell you that two different things went through my mind while reading this. First, a vintage style picture of a woman with a big smile under your "better than a pap smear" caption. The other was this being written like a romance novel... "As Helen placed her heaving, ample breast upon the plastic..." ;o)

Peter P said...

I was enjoying this right up to the part where you said "Go ahead, Close your eyes and picture it."

At that moment I had to switch off for fear of what I might see if I closed me eyes :-)

Sherri Murphy said...

You painted a wonderful picture Helen- described it perfectly!

You're crazy, you know? NEVER change!

Annie K said...

Oh-Em-Gee... I'm laughing my assett off!

Janet Oberholtzer said...

Just had my first mammo in Sept and it wasn't as bad as the horror stories I've heard either. Discomfort, but no nasty pain. (Then again, I guess my pain meter is probably messed up)

Helen said...

Glynn, thank you for the encouragement. Yes. You are right. A male tech I see at Church every week would have definitely been enough to make me switch parishes.
Ginny, it was a little frustrating trying to get into the right position. I know. TWSS.
Candy, I am glad your mom is still with us. And what is that about not giving her a mammogram at half price? You'd think she deserves a discount, wouldn't you?
katdish, I know. My doctor laughs at my jokes. It helps to break the tension...
watershacklady, thank you. I like the word frontsetts because I figured no one would google it looking for naughtiness. You know?
Lianne, thanks. I might be. I consider my sense of humor to be a blessing. To me. Whether it was a blessing to the tech is debateable...
Bridget, right you are. I am most convinced now that it is important.
Wendy, feel free to do a rewrite anytime. I know yours will be funnier, and I wait on pins and needles.
Peter, I am so sorry for scaring you. I know it wasn't fair, being that Halloween was several days ago, and you were unprepared for the horror.
Seriously though, I apologize. I should have been more considerate. Forgive me?
Sherri, thanks. I plan to be laughing at mammograms annually for years to come.
Annie, I am glad. Maybe I'll make this an annual post: Helen : The Mammogram. I know. I need a better title..
Janet, that is exactly why I thought this should be a Life is Funny post. We are told how awful it is so often, that I think we learn to dread the mammogram instead of the consequences of not knowing...

Bernadette Pabon ,Teacher, Director of CCD, Author said...

Helen, an excitng interesting way to look at mmamograms, thanks to you. Yet very informative and important.

Helen you are very smart to come up with this. I loved reading your post. I LOVED IT , EDUCATIONAL BUT FUNNY.

Anonymous said...

Could not find a suitable section so I written here, how to become a moderator for your forum, that need for this?