I recently began having my annual mammograms and I was TERRIFIED when I made the first appointment. Every story I heard from other women I had asked told me that mammograms were painful and should be avoided. What a horrible thing to tell another woman. So after I survived my first mammogram I decided to share my story and I asked other women to share their story as well. No, not all women have the same experience, but the goal here is to take away some of the fear associated with this much needed form of early detection of breast cancer. This does not replace weekly self breast examination which are very important but, together, self breast exams and mammograms are important tools in early detection.
MAMMOGRAM TALE #1: This Is Going To Hurt More Than That Time My Ex Painfully Sucked On My Breast For An Hour During The Worse Session Of Foreplay EVER
The nurse asked me what day and time I preferred and I told her to just pick a day and time for me and I would force myself to show up. For years I had heard horrible stories about how painful mammograms are because your breast are squeezed between a big monstrous machine that makes you feel like you are an orange being squeezed by a giant sized rusty pair of wire pliers from the dinosaur ages. I cried all night the night before, on the drive to the clinic and in the waiting room. I think a part of the fear was also coming from the possibility of the test detecting something serious. The sight of the huge machine did not ease my fear either. The technician gently nudged me toward where I needed to stand and took my breast in her hand to place it on the flat tray, told me to raise my arm and stand still. She walked away and hit the button. I repositioned a couple more times, she took pictures. We did the exact same thing with the other breast and she told me we were done. I asked if that was it and she said yes. It was less than 5 minutes and no pain, only pressure. I danced out of there with a song in my heart. I was happy to share my experience with every woman I came into contact with. Foreplay with my ex was definitely a more painful experience.
MAMMOGRAM TALE #2: My Tits Are Too Small For The Machine
For years I had erroneously believed that my breast were too small for a mammogram. Someone once teased that the machine would not be able to find my breast and that they were too small to fit on the table to be x-rayed. I never wanted to have a mammogram so I just happily believed it. Often, ignorance is bliss. Well, much to my surprise that was false and my gynecologist urged me to start getting my overdue annual exams. They fit perfectly proving that my tits are not too small for mammography and neither are yours.
MAMMOGRAM TALE #3: If I Don't Already Have Cancer This Mammogram Machine WILL Definitely Give It To Me
This is what I am hearing more often. Women are scaring other women by telling them that once a year mammograms cause cancer. The truth is that radiation doses in mammography have consistently decreased with time. It is like getting an x-ray at the dentist and the benefits of early detection outweigh the extremely small potential of harm from such a small dose of radiation. EARLY detection is the key to saving the lives of so many. Please research the facts, speak to your doctors often and speak to survivors instead of listening to rumors and erroneous information. I was 62 before I had my first mammogram and they found the tumor. I only wish I had not been too afraid of the test. Maybe, just maybe, I could have prevented my current journey.