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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Do you have to smush 'em like that?

My health and weight loss journal

I delayed posting my
health and weight loss journal for a day because I wanted to tell you about my first mammogram, which I had today. Don't let my title fool you; it really wasn't that bad HOWEVER I didn't think my boobs could be manipulated in the way they were today.

My appointment was at the St. Joseph's Hospital's Women's Breast Health Center, which is a very nice facility. The environment was comfortable and inviting. This helped to somewhat alleviate my nerves.

My appointment was at 10:30 and I arrived early. That allowed me time to fill out the registration paperwork then sit, relax and read my magazine. Once called I was escorted to a changing area where I removed all of my clothes from the waist up. I put on a gown, with the opening in the front, like I was instructed.

Seems easy, right? Well, I didn't take the gown from the top of the pile because it didn't have a tie attached. I pulled one from the bottom so I could tie it securely.

I won't bore you with all the details, but I will say this (for those who haven't had one yet): Regardless of the level of discomfort, I felt empowered for doing something proactive and necessary for my health.


The following picture is the part of the machine where they place your boob. You stand up and lay your boob on the bottom tray (they put the nice white cushion on the bottom for comfort) then they press some pedals to get the top clear part to come down and compress your boob. I had two images taken of each breast ... so, yes, I had both breasts smushed and squished twice. Oh, that pole you see on the left is what you hold onto when they're doing it. There is also one on the right, that you can't see, to hold onto when the right side is being done.

This (below) is what the bottom of the machine looks like. The computer and contraption on the left is what the technician looks at and she stands behind a little thingy to protect herself.
The technician told me that the results would be sent to the Veteran's Hospital this week and they would send me a letter. The first mammogram will be used to make sure both breasts are the same... if there is a drastic difference then I will be called back for more imaging. If everything looks fine then today's images will be used for a baseline of future mammograms.

And there you have it... the day my boobs were squished.

If you have a history of breast cancer in your family or if you're 40 or older, be sure to schedule your mammogram. And, remember, always do monthly breast self exams.

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