<<Oh well THAT looks comfortable!
You know what I think about medicine? That we have all these high tech equipment and testing to know just enough to scare the crap out of ourselves. I think that knowing just enough probably causes more tumors and cancer than not knowing a darn thing.
See here’s the thing. I’m now 40. And while I’m still adorable and likely even sexier than I was in my 30’s those things don’t matter to your OBGYN when you have to get a mammogram. Believe me, I tried explaining to the nurse practicioner in my gynecologist’s office that I was far too pretty to have something so ugly like a mammogram done to which she replied, unsmilingly, “I guess you’re interested in having cancer then.”
OUCH. She got Mother Cusser right in the gut with that one. I suppose it’s not funny to make mammogram jokes but that is my first, last and only line of defense when anything makes me uncomfortable.
So the mammogram is where you stick your precious boob into a machine that proceeds to squash the life out of it. It’s uncomfortable and awkward and I was glad when it was over.
I wasn’t glad when I got a call from the doctor a few days later telling me I needed to go back in.
Evidently, one of my girls is “dense.” And not in a dumb blonde kind of way. But in a tumor could be a needle in a haystack kind of dense. Immediately after the call I did what any rational person would do – I googled it. Guess what I found?
Cancer. Could have a higher chance of cancer. Could be bad! Studies show it’s bad! Might actually not be bad at all – just a lot of tissue – but could also be bad.
I love the internet. For fun after that I googled "cat scratch fever" and discovered you can get cancer from that too. I did this because I don’t even know what cat scratch fever is and figured if it also causes cancer than pretty much anything does and I should try to relax.
I relaxed all the way until I had my follow up appointment today. I took my ipad to pass the time and sat in an office filled with a lot of smokers. What is that all about? Lung cancer screenings? The last time I was in this office the same folks were there. You can smell them in the office as soon as you park your car.
But I digress.
I get back to the machine for my follow up breast vice-ogram. It’s only one breast and it’s only on one side, she says. I’m holding it together at this point but I’m on the edge. I made zero jokes. When I am quiet – that’s bad. It means I’m about to crack.
Position one hurt really bad. I cracked.
The nurse said nothing. Just maneuvered the machine around to take a few more painful pictures. All you heard was me sniffling.
She goes away to show some radiologist who evidently is in the building somewhere but I don’t have access to him. She comes back for one more picture.
She goes away again.
She returns and tells me that the two breasts are definitely different from one another (are they supposed to mirror each other? I have no idea) but that it could be just the way I’m made. I’m to come back in 6 months to monitor any changes. Then I’ll go back in another 6 months. If there are no changes at that point then I think it means I’m automatically entered to win a cruise to Jamaica. Unless I’m thinking about time share meetings. In which case I think I’m way off here.
So I got a mammogram twice to learn that it might just be the way I’m made or CANCER? GOOD LORD THAT IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE DON’T YOU THINK?? Either I can relax and go on my trip to Jamaica or I’m sick and could die. How is it possible that this is how this works?
I’ll tell you why. We know just enough to know nothing. We have all this technology and testing to give us just enough information to let us know that there’s information to know. In the old days the lump came to you. You didn’t go looking for it.
Now I know that’s also rather ridiculous. I know that it’s better to catch anything like that earlier rather than later. But how much are we catching and how much are we creating?
Because now I am forever going to be thinking about this dysfunctional right boob. Why is it different? Why can’t it just be like the other breast? Why does it have to rebel like that and be all dense?
Aw. She is a little like me isn’t she?
In which case – she’s going to be just fine. Right?
This is a real picture of my right breast.