The Mammojammogram: Take Two

I had such a great time with the mammogram two weeks ago, they Mam2invited me back for a second round! Woo hoo! This good news came by phone as I was herding my nephews out the door for their first day of tennis camp. It took me a minute to process what the woman on the phone was saying; I asked her to repeat it.

“The radiologist found a pattern of calcification that is prompting her to order a diagnostic mammogram…”

“Oh, hi, Aunts!” I waved to my older nephew.

“…It’s a new development since your last mammogram so it has to be checked.”

“Where are my sneakers?” my younger nephew wanted to know.

“Over there,” I said to him. To the phone I said, “Oh. Okay. Calcification. Which one?”

“Which one? I need both sneakers to play tennis!” “Both breasts.”

“Oh. Over there.” I said, pointing to the shoes.

“Now most calcifications are benign but some are a sign of cancerous or pre-cancerous activity…”

“Aunts, wanna see my Pokemon cards?”

“…so that’s why you have to come back in soon for the diagnostic mammogram.”

“In a minute,” I said. Continue reading The Mammojammogram: Take Two

The Mammajammagram

I’m undergoing a bunch of diagnostic procedures over the next few weeks. Some are to determine the reason for ongoing girl pain accompanied by other not so fun symptoms and some are to catch me up on the annual girl stuff I skipped because I had no health insurance for two years. (I don’t recommend following that course of inaction).

First up: the mammogram. Ugh. The last  one, which was five years ago, made me cry.  I swear the tech thought she was working in a North Georgia chicken processing plant specializing in producing tray packs of boneless, skinless breasts with rib meat.Mam

She used a spatula–a spatula! — to lift the breast onto the viewing stand. She then used the spatula to spread both my AAA-sized breast and whatever rib meat she could get over the lower plate.  Just when I thought we were ready to shoot some images, she smashed the top plate down and tried as hard as she could to make those two plates meet and meld. Continue reading The Mammajammagram

Intimacy on Youshare

How cool: my post from a few weeks ago is a feature on the awesome website, Youshare. The piece is “The Touchy Subject of Intimacy” and it seems to resonate with a lot of people. That’s really encouraging because intimacy or sex is a sensitive subject and I felt really nervous about sharing such, um, intimate, details with casual acquaintances, friends, family, and complete strangers. Maybe that’s why it’s been so well-received: we don’t tend to talk about these kinds of things but we want to know how to deal with them.

I know I have the tendency to suffer silently, believing I’m the only one who has problem xx or challenge ky. Everyone else is grooving along, joyfully dealing with their symptoms while maintaining stellar smoochy relationships with people who understand them and completely support them, while I suffer from lack of the tools or the personalities they have to “make it work” (nod to Tim Gunn for his signature advice). From where this idea came, I don’t know. Some programs call it terminal uniqueness: the idea that we are so special or so weird or so different from everyone else that the rules don’t apply to us, the solutions won’t work for us, reaching out for help won’t make a difference because people can’t possibly understand us, special, different, wallow, wallow, wallow.

I’ve finally realized that talking and sharing are the only ways problems get resolved, especially if the problem involves me and someone else. I try not to wallow and I definitely try to find the positive in every experience, even the bloody, painful ones. It’s a heck of a lot better way to live than to live with perpetual self-pity.

Maybe you have a story that could help others. If so, tell it on Youshare. It’s a great place to be yourself.