Disclaimer : this post is a little personal and I might be angry.
This week I went in for a routine mammogram. I hate them. I had one before in my late 30’s and went thru a few false alarms. So I delayed this one until 41. I have been determined to take better care of myself and got the full exam and tests that my doctor ordered. Including a mammogram. Which I hate. I know, I said that already. I have a high pain tolerance due to living with systemic lupus so you would think that I handle a mammogram okay. You would be wrong. I scheduled it for a Monday morning which is good, as most Mondays suck ass anyway. After a proper mashing to which I suggested martini bar first for future visits – I got the “you will likely get a letter in 7-10 days with your results”. I was out of there fast as I felt like punching someone in the face. I had a couple of years ago and my response was the same.
Imagine my horror to get a call the next day, requesting me to come back for a more diagnostic exam of my right side. Cue anxiety, and my response that I would be traveling for work the next 2 days. They were accommodating, suggesting Friday morning.
I am still angry from the last mashing and 2 days later even more hurt and angry. Another mashing that brought tears ( ask anyone, I don’t cry easy, almost never), and I wait, told to keep that waist up gown on. I get told that an ultrasound next, which won’t be painful but in reality I want to run anyway.
In the dark of the ultra sound room, I feel the technician spends way to much time on one area. And then leaves, asking me to wait on the doctor who may want to scan again. I lay there for eternity, imagining the worst. Then I get up and pace in the dark room,then decide to get my bra and shirt on and walk. But the doctor walks in, and I can go home. This isn’t over but they want to consult my last mammogram and haven’t got them from other hospital yet. Could be fine but no promises. They will call me. I practically run to my car.
What is my point to this?
There has to be a better way. My work, my passion – is Hospitality. Making sure people have a great hotel and travel experience, selling hotels where people can try to feel at home.
So, God help me, when I go for another mammogram (hopefully much later -this is how I want it to go:
I walk into a spa like setting, the waiting chairs are massage chairs. The registration desk is a bar, and before I am asked for my insurance card – I am offered a beverage. Beer, red wine or even a lemon basil martini. I sit, sipping – until they call my name.
I enter the next room and the mashing machine is still there BUT so is a large picture cutout of Ryan Gosling, and then his voice comes out of a speaker somewhere. While the technician is arranging me on the machine, he complements me on my rack and says how proud he is of me for taking care of it. Ideally I giggle at his voice and the effect of the martini – instead of tears. The next waiting room has a second drink waiting with a cutout of Hugh Grant. His voice comes out of a speaker saying ” well done you, I find you extremely brave and sexy. Too bad you have such a terrific boyfriend.” Again I giggle, and no matter what comes next – I know someone really tried to make this experience less horrible.
Maybe that is too much to ask, and I should wish for world peace or a end to all cancer. But today in the rawness of the experience, it is what I have.
Update. This weekend I got the letter telling me that for now I am okay and don’t need to repeat a mammogram until a year from now. I am relieved and so is Boyfriend, Mom, Daughter and Close Friends. Will I do it? Yeah, and hopefully my suggestions above will be taken seriously, but either way – I will do what other women do every day – put on my Big Girl panties and deal with it. I know it saves lives and early detection is key.
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