My sweet husband took the day off and went with me to my mammogram appointment. I didn’t want to ask him to do this, but it was so nice to have him there. I’m nervous. As we sit and wait for them to come get me, my leg is tapping as I watch whatever nonsense is on the television. I’m feeling my shoulders tighten up. The X-ray tech calls my name and Gene says, “I’ll be right here.” Time to disrobe. “Snaps go in the front.” When will someone design a cool looking cape for women getting mammograms? Or even a warm one? The room is so cold. I feel vulnerable without my bra. I have been pretty good about getting regular mammograms. I haven’t gotten them every year, but overall, I did pretty well. My last mammogram was 14 months ago and was normal. I think I know what to expect in this mammogram, but I’m about to be surprised.
We take the normal images of both breasts. The tech explains that it is normal to do this and I was due for a mammogram anyway. She then explains that we are going to take some more detailed images. She wasn’t kidding. “Detailed images” is shorthand for “We are going to squeeze your breasts in so many directions you won’t even believe it!” As she gets me clamped in for the next set of images, she explains that these are going to be very uncomfortable. As she clamps down, she asks, “How are you doing?” I would respond but I’m pretty sure my lower lip is also clamped in the vice, so I can’t respond. After several detailed images, the tech tells me to sit down. She is going to talk to the radiologist and see if she wants any other X-rays.
I glance at the wall of various attachments for the mammogram machine. I wonder briefly what they are all for. I’m about to find out. The tech tells me that we need more images and that the radiologist also wants more images of the left breast before we go to sono. (Crap! This can’t be good.) The tech tells me that my husband is in with the radiologist.
We take close up images, side images, and I’m squeezed to a point I can’t even answer when the tech asks if I’m doing okay. She shows me an image of the left breast and points out the calcification that they are seeing on the X-rays. It looks like little specks of pepper. There are more specks than I can count quickly, but not thousands. That’s not so bad, right? My ears start ringing. I think about asking to sit down, but I don’t want to make a scene. I crack jokes with the tech. I am determined to keep up a good front.