Write On Grrrl

Voice of Empowerment. Not reason.

Throwing That Garage Door Wide Open

"Don't worry," said Jackie. "If we happen to lose power during the procedure, the machine will release itself."

Of all the things, I may have been concerned about prior to my first mammogram--dull pain, crushing pain, stabbing pain-- being stuck in the imaging machine, in total darkness wasn't even on the radar.

"Yeah, that's happened to me before," she continued. "I asked the patient--are you okay?! And she said yes. That it had released."

Good to know.

I'm forty now. I've officially crossed into the 40-64 age bracket, with all the medical tests that go with it--including the much maligned baseline mammogram. Why does such a life saving procedure get such a bad rap? I was actually kind of curious to find out. So, here I stood, undressed from the waist up, opening in the front, ready for the festivities to begin.

When I booked the appointment, the woman on the other end immediately went into counseling mode. "I'm not scared," I interrupted. "I sort of like living."

Apparently not everyone feels this way. She told me about her neighbor, who refuses to have a mammogram. Sad stuff really. And you can probably place some blame on the analogies that are supposed to lighten the situation, like that slamming garage door bit.

At my appointment, Jackie and I became friends pretty quickly, as she confidently manipulated my breasts into position. And then, because it was the only reference I knew, I waited for the garage door to slam.

And waited.

And waited.

Luckily it never happened.

Indeed there was pressure. How else can you expect to squash breasts into abnormally flat pancakes. (They were. I looked. I don't advise that part.) And naturally, having a body part caught in a vise-like grip for any length of time is little out of the ordinary.

But outright pain? Nope.

Jackie, after piquing my interest by complimenting my pecs and youthful glandular tissue, gave me a look-see at one of the images. And then the party was over as soon as it began. A quick high-five of her latex gloved hand and I was back to my day already in progress.

To me, the test was actually quite satisfying. It provided a small peek inside my body, to prove that what I've been doing to keep myself strong all of these years, might just actually be working.

And for you? Maybe it's time to stop believing everything you hear.