Bust out those ity bitty tities, we are heading to my first mammogram appointment.
I half thought the office would be pink! But it was a horrible brown orange at the front and a neutral beige in the rooms. I got Covid deja vu from the plastic-wrapped waiting room chairs and all the hand sanitizer dispensers. Plus masks, wear a mask!
Leading up to my mammogram it was a hot topic at the dinner table several nights before. My then eight-year-old was quite concerned about the squishing of my breasts (which he used to call bubblées, and now calls them pillows). My husband also felt a little nostalgic for my breasts, looking at them and holding me more often than usual. The dinner table was full of hilarious moments when my bubblées had been on display.
The reason I opted for a mammogram at 41 was because in November 2021, 3 women I know near my age were all diagnosed with breast cancer. The odds are 1 in 8. So it was time. While I have no history of breast cancer in my family, I am a modern woman and a practitioner who knows it can strike anyone at any time. I’ve treated many women in various stages of breast cancer. It’s an honour to be with them every step of the way.
For your first mammogram
- The test takes about 5 minutes from start to finish, and the technicians are amazing.
- Know your height and weight in centimetres and kilograms (hint: it’s on your driver’s license).
- Don’t wear deodorant (not sure why, it was just a question she asked me. Luckily, I forgot to put it on that morning).
- It doesn’t hurt that bad, but the bubblées ARE getting squished. Here size might really matter.
- You’ll be asked to hold your breath when they take the image.
- If you’re in BC, your results will be posted in your MyCareCompass account (formerly my ehealth) and you’ll get a letter in the mail, describing how your breasts scored. I scored a B.
The tech scoops up your breast and places it on this big plastic tray, where it’s pinched between 2 plastic plates. The machine is incredible; it tilts, shifts, compresses, weighs and takes pictures all at once.
“Fear not,” the technician says as I’m leaving. “If you get a call back, don’t freak out, it’s just because it’s your first time and we have no baseline. So we might ask you to come in for more pictures.” Ok, so the baseline is being established!
If there is no history of breast cancer in your family, they follow up every 2 years. But don’t worry about putting it in your calendar, they’ll call you—you’re in the system, after all!
When I got home, the first thing my son asked me was “Do you have anything in your boobies?” My answer was “Yes, I have lots of things in my boobies. They sustained life for you for a long time,” and he placed his head ever so softly on my chest and heaved a big, deep sigh of relief.