Breast Health

ODE TO MAMMOGRAMS: The Good Ol’ Lean & Squish

I made a routine trip to the doctor today and it reminded me of a not-so-routine-trip a few years ago.

See, I had scheduled a mammogram after finding a lump and was very apprehensive about the appointment. For the record, this is a common thing for me because my boobs are like 2 fun-sized bags of Reese’s Pieces. I’ve been berated for years now by one nurse who claims this odd condition is a result of my coffee addiction. I’m a dedicated junkie though so NO, I won’t be dropping that habit any time soon. Plus, this particular nurse has a wonderful Jamaican accent so I sort of like to hear her bitch at me anyway.

This lump felt different though and a 10-foot-deep pit of dread had settled in my stomach. I walked in for my mammogram that day CONVINCED bad news awaited. In my mind, bagpipes were playing as I disrobed and not the fun, drunk kind you hear on St. Patrick’s Day. My favorite nurse was there and she gave me the usual lecture, but even SHE seemed a bit reserved. The doctor decided he should get a better look with the (deep breath here) sonogram, just to be safe.

He rolled that weird sono-pen-thingy all over me before announcing, “Nope. All good. You can get dressed now.”

The relief I felt was actually overshadowed by another unexpected emotion: EMBARRASSMENT. I was on the verge of a breakdown, all because I’d convinced myself something was wrong. I SHOULD have been excited about this news but, as I walked out of the hospital, I felt completely betrayed by my own anxiety. How could I be so WRONG about this? When had my women’s intuition turned into a paranoid cat-lady living in my brain?

I was trying to get the hell out of there when something awful happened. I fell. Wait, it wasn’t just a fall. It was one of the most spectacular spills ever witnessed in the halls of that hospital. I know because EVERYONE came running to help. My purse, my phone, even one of my SHOES went flying and I started BAWLING. I guess the stress of the mammogram combined with the embarrassment of the fall did me in because I could NOT. STOP. CRYING. A tiny old woman helped me to my feet and everyone stared as I staggered out, wailing like a 2-year-old in the check-out line.

I must have walked past 100 people on my way out and I’m sure they told all of their friends about me that day. I was the woman who had just gotten some sort of HORRIBLE news & ran from the hospital in tears. Little did they know I’d just gotten good news and was simply having an epic melt-down.

Thinking back to that day brings me a little peace because it’s a reminder that things aren’t always as bad as they seem. Anxiety is a hell of a drug and, though we might think we’re knocking on death’s door, the odds are usually in our favor. After all, sometimes a lump is just a lump and other times that woman running from the hospital in a fit of tears isn’t sick at all. Sometimes she’s just a paranoid idiot…like me.

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