Monday, October 17, 2005

Squeeze Is the Operative Word

I picked up my cell phone at the Imaging Center and said “Hello” with a question mark. It was Pam. She was calling me about my mailing address. I said, “This may not be the best time to talk, as I’m in the middle of a mammogram." She laughed.

It really was kind of funny. I was sitting there with the gown loosely draped across my shoulders, waiting for the technician to come back and tell me whether the mammogram was okay or not.

The tech had some difficulty getting my right breast to behave, as it were. “It’s difficult with this new machine, and I have to admit it’s not automatic for me,” she said as she fussed about. I instantly forgave her for the hour-long wait I had endured. She obviously was doing the best she could. She then said to me, while pushing my breast onto the plate, “I can see where the scar is from the previous biopsy – and it’s in an area that’s hard to get to. We’ll have to squeeze your breast to the right side.” I interrupted her, pointing out, “and ‘squeeze’ being the operative word here.”

New equipment. New sadomasochistic ways of squeezing mammary tissue onto the cold, hard plate. Colder, harder. “It has to be cold in here,” she said, still rushing around. “If it’s not cool enough, the machine stops working.” Apparently there’s something about shivering flesh this machine just loves.

I appreciated Pam’s call in the middle of this, received while I was waiting for the news. A nice interruption to what shouldn’t be a stressful moment, but I had to admit it was. The technician rushed in about 5 minutes later and blurted, “The doctor has cleared you. Everything is fine – see you in 6 months!” Yay! I thought to myself, as I got dressed and finally walked out.

Six months? Gosh, is a mammogram in my future every six months for the rest of my life? I could see the letter now…. “According to our records, it is time to perform the follow-up examination of the questionable area previously detected on your mammogram….20 years ago…”

Well, I guess it’s better than the alternative.

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