Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Boobs Are Not Dorsal Fins!

Have you had your mammogram today?

I did and it's not pretty, let me and my boobs tell you!

The mammography clinic is located in a shopping mall - that's handy... and the only positive aspect of receiving the dreaded mashogram. Off I go, primed to commit some retail damage. I can only indulge for a limited time because I have this appointment. I duck inside the clinic, speak to the receptionist and then sit in a closet.

After a short wait, I'm standing topless and cold in the screening room. The technician is a large woman with a voice a little too deep for my liking. See, this is where it gets surreal. All around me, people outside the clinic are shopping and doing things - fully clothed. Two thin doors away, I am being inserted into machinery, breast-first. I didn't know I had such big bubs because I'm pretty sure the technician has found some breast tissue under my chin. Pulling and groping, she scoops and 'coaxes'  my breasts onto the plate. It's an awkward dance as she repositions them and corrects my posture. I'm trying to follow her lead and RELAX but my boobs are clumsy, apparently with two left feet.

First, one breast is squished sideways, then, top to bottom. The plate squeezes hard, harder. Hold your breath and ...  holy hell, my breasts look like dorsal fins. Owwwwwwww, yes it DOES hurt in case you were wondering. Just when you think your jugs couldn't possibly flatten any further, the plate squeezes down again. My breasts are stunned into submission.

Men, it's not much of a stretch to compare the pain to placing your scrotum into a waffle iron. Heated.

The above scenario describes a relatively average mammogram experience. Now let me tell you about the fibromyalgia-enhanced mammogram.

For starters, I'm already exhausted from shopping and swiping my debit card. Now, I have to, somehow, find the endurance to stand up straight while my tits are turned into torpedoes. Not surprisingly, I've been one big ache since getting out of bed. My boobs were probably the only part of my body that were not in pain. Until now.  I remember getting mammos in the days right before my period, years ago. The good ole days - my boobs were already so sore that a stiff wind was cause for a wince. If my husband even dared a glance at my chest I'd knock him upside the head. So you can imagine the inhumane pain I experienced ... let's not go there. It only triggers the post-traumatic stress again.

I digress. For fibromites, nothing is routine. Something as simple as taking off your bra requires advanced strategic planning, not unlike the slow dance of Tai-chi. Finally, I'm in the screening room and like I said, I'm already hurtin'. The last thing you want is anyone touching you but you've consented to allow a stranger with cold hands to make play-doh with your boobies. It's not like they're delicate, either. They grab your arm to position it just so, twist your head and neck to look eastward. That's always appreciated. Step back. Move forward. Bend this way. Twist that way. Deep breathe and relax. Don't breathe and stay still. I'd bitch slap the woman if I had the mobility and she hadn't even started the test yet. So, I used a few colourful words. Big deal. She didn't have to get vindictive about it.

What felt like hours of agony was in reality a few minutes and it was over. My breasts were traumatized and I felt like the walking wounded. I picked up my dorsal fins and stuffed them back into my bra. I will have to wait two weeks for the results, to find out if I have to endure an encore performance.

Ok, maybe I exaggerated the pain just a teensy bit for the sake of creative license. In all seriousness, no matter how uncomfortable it is, fibromyaliga, chronic pain disorder or not, I believe it is vitally important that all women, in the recommended age groups receive a mammogram. I wonder how many women with fibromyalgia dismiss this important test and monthly self-checks because they cannot tolerate the added discomfort on top of existing chronic pain. Something to think about.

Ladies, it's not just about us. We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to stay as healthy as possible, as long as possible. You are the world to someone who loves you.

Dedicated to my beloved mother who passed away from breast cancer at the age of 72.   January 5, 1922 - January 21, 1995.


  1. I know this is a serious matter but, i can tell you Cathy i have nearly wet the bed i have laughed so much at your post it was hilarious, i am sitting here on my own roaring and laughing my head of because i am large breasted too and i also didn't know i has breast tissue under my neck LOL... Every word you said was true...Thank you for making me laugh through this terrible pain i am going through at the moment
    love you loads Fi x x x

  2. I'm so happy when I can make people laugh. Even if it's only for a short time, when they have pain, it makes me feel fulfilled. It helps me to write too. I don't notice pain when I'm writing. I'd love it if you became a follower. Gentle hugs to you.

  3. Hehehe...yes i too enjoyed that read Cathy. I thought only small breasted people had theirs pulled and manouvered between the mammogram plates, but clearly it happens like that to everyone !! Not a pleasant experience but definately a necessary one. Having had my sister recently under-go surgery for breast cancer, it is something I will definately not been missing each year.

  4. I, too laughed until I cried, even though it must have been a painful experience, you put a humorous spin on it and made it very entertaining for the reader....what a gift! Hope your boobs recovered!!! Hugs

  5. Vicki, I'm sorry to hear about your sister but I pray she has a full recovery. Yes, these diagnostics are a necessary evil to put up with but it's always better than the alternative.

    Kaye, I'm glad you had a good laugh. That's when I happiest - when I make people laugh. The dorsal fins are much better now. Don't have to wear the pointed Dixie cups for a bra anymore! lol xx