<<Portable mammogram machine or pancake maker? You decide.
Many of you have inquired about my second doctor’s appointment since I wrote this last blog, click here to read.
Since my boobs are very obviously your business, I thought it would be a good idea to respond publicly so that I do not have to reply to so many individual emails. Thank you for your concern. It’s nice to be loved.
So I had my second appointment yesterday. It was a follow up from the first one I had 6 months prior. 6 months ago Rightie and Leftie were deemed, “dense.” Like dumb blonde dense. Like husbands who don’t listen dense. Like really, really, really thick mud dense. Since I don’t like to write the same words over and over and over again – I’m going to use a thesaurus to use similar words that mean the same thing. Heretofore you will no longer read the word dense.
Where was I? Oh yes, my boobs.
While both breasts were deemed jam-packed, Rightie had a spot of crowdedness that was unlike regular packed breasts. So Rightie and I had to go back in for another mammogram. For those of you who live on the moon and have missed the NFL’s BREAST CANCER AWARENESS campaign where professional athletes wear pink towels, shoes, socks, eye shadow and lipstick to alert us to the fact that women everywhere are about to die of breast cancer; old women (age 40 and up) are required to participate in regular mammograms.
The word mammogram is a latin term meaning, "squash.” A mammogram is performed by a machine that is reminiscent of a pancake maker only it's at knockers height and is made of plastic. A breast is made into a pancake by flattening it in this machine and radiologists can see scary things when this happens.
So understandably with this knowledge in mind AND after watching a full day of BREAST CANCER AWARENESS -wait, I mean NFL football - on Sunday, Rightie was pretty darn nervous about this mammogram the following day. I brought Leftie along for support, but really, she was busy screwing around on Facebook the whole time so I was left to comfort Rightie.
Here’s how the whole thing went.
I had to disrobe, put Rightie in the stand-up pancake maker and then I had to hug the cold machine in an affectionate way so the mammogramist could take the proper picture.
“We’ll take some pictures,” said the mammogramist, “And show them to the Radiologist who will request an ultrasound if we see something.”
Rightie and I smile big for the camera and promptly put the pics on Instagram – wait, I mean – the nurse sends them to the Radiologist down the hall.
And back comes the nurse.
The Radiologist has requested an ultrasound.
Uh oh. Maybe the NFL was right. Maybe I do have breast cancer.
I am ushered into the ultrasound room. I am very familiar with ultrasounds because one of my pregnancies was closely monitored with monthly ultrasounds. I've seen many of them performed. She began and I watched her isolate a spot. I watched her measure it. I watched her check blood flow. Despite my best attempts at staying calm, Rightie did shed a tear. I told Rightie that this is all for naught. That we are fine. All of us are fine. But were we? I could see the spot clearly. And my favorite football team was wearing pink gloves yesterday...
Ultrasound nurse leaves to get Radiologist. A lovely, older woman comes in and introduces herself as the Radiologist. She tells me that nothing’s wrong. That Rightie was looking good and there was no change from last time, but she just wanted a quick ultrasound so we would know what was in there.
“Why the EFF didn’t she come tell us this first,” whispered Rightie. I agreed but was silent as I watched the two of them review the spot.
The Radiologist spoke, “It’s just a Something Fibro-something,” she said. Well, she actually named it but I don’t remember. “It’s a benign spot that has probably been there your whole life.” She went on to say that we’ll keep an eye on it but it’s nothing to worry about.
I was confused. Rightie asked why we would keep an eye on something that’s not anything to worry about?
Radiologist responded saying it’s just a part of the process. Then she offered this, “I can biopsy it if you want. We do that right in the office.”
“Lots of women will do that because they just need to know.”
Baffled, I asked her why I would biopsy something that she just told me wasn’t anything to worry about. She just shrugged her shoulders saying that a lot of women feel like they need to know.
I then went on to say that if she’s telling me not to worry, then I’m not going to worry. No matter what the NFL says.
She said, “Don’t worry.” Rightie and I responded in tandem, "Not worrying then!"
What’s my takeaway? That we’re creating a fearful society wherein we biopsy things that don’t need to be biopsied.
Look – I agree that we should have regular checks. I think we should have regular checks of lots of things as we age. The probability of yucky things happening goes up – but it doesn’t mean that we will get this disease. It’s important to be safe and smart, eat healthy, and exercise.
But on-demand totally unnecessary biopsies should not be the norm and the NFL and BREAST CANCER AWARENESS campaigns are driving this new trend.
Be smart, be vigilant but don't panic. Don’t get a biopsy if you don’t need it. Don't worry unless there's something to worry about.
I almost let it get to me. I almost believed the hype. I even had a "something" to look at in there! But I'm no longer going to let the color pink on the Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson's helmet tell me how to feel about my cans.
And neither should you.