I have just been to collect the children at school and see that something called a Mammobile is parked in the main square. This is, I assume, a travelling mammogram that will test women for breast cancer. Personally I would rather be run over by it than go inside.
I had my first mammogram a few weeks ago. I can safely say it was the most painful, unpleasant experience I have ever been subjected to and yes, I do include childbirth in that. I knew I was in for a shocker when my mother-in-law told me she’d had one and “it wasn’t very nice”. My mother-in-law is one of those women who make you wonder how we ever lost the empire; stoical, determined and not one to grumble unless her leg is being chewed off.
So I was already nervous when I showed up at the sparkling X-ray clinic. But what was in store was worse than I could ever have imagined. My breasts were literally squeezed to within an inch of their lives between metal plates. “Don’t look,” said the nurse administering this torture. Don’t look? I couldn’t see them. They no longer existed. The last time I was called flat as a pancake I was thirteen. Here I was even flatter, in fact I dream about making pancakes that are as wafer-thin as my breasts were. The pain was excruciating and this process was repeated FOUR times on EACH breast. At one stage I thought about just running away. But it would have meant leaving one of my breasts clamped in the machine.
I have to say I don’t think my breasts have been the same since this horrible event. They seem to have lost some of their joie de vivre. I much prefer my own theory (see Alone at Last blog) for breast cancer prevention.
One thought I had as I was being squashed and flattened was that if the test for testicular cancer involved a similar process, I bet someone would have invented a new machine by now….So I will continue to support breast cancer charities in the hope that some kind person will, but I swear I will never ever subject my breasts to the barbarity of a mammogram again. At least not while I’m conscious.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007