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The Girls

And what better way to start a post than with an announcement from my gynecologist?  None, really.

"You have thick tissue in your breasts," she told me.

"Um-- thank you?"

"I suppose you know what this means."

"I should have been using this as a pickup line?"

"You should schedule an early baseline mammogram."

"...Or that."

I should explain here that I'm thirty-two years old, I've never been pregnant, I'm not planning to be pregnant, I'm not on the Pill, tampon commercials make me extremely uncomfortable, and that is the extent of my interest in Womyn's Health.  I know--via hang-tags which once dangled from the shower heads in the dorm showers up at The Womb, but one day mysteriously wound up in the bathrooms in one of the male dorms across the street-- that I'm supposed to perform monthly self-exams, but am only supposed to do them during certain times of the month, and it's only during these non-certain times of the month that I remember what the shower hang-tags were trying, in their pedantic drip-dry way, to tell me.  In fact, until I had one, I was fairly sure that a mammogram was an especially female form of Hallmark card.

My rack is a mighty rack, valiant and true, and it doesn't take kindly to mistreatment.  As to the procedure itself, I will simply report that it began with an entirely useless hospital gown and ended with a drive home which seemed to contain way more potholes than on the way out.  My favorite part of the whole thing was the flat, picture-frame styled fish tank in the waiting room, not that it negated the extremely worrisome actions of the technician, who, after thirty second's acquaintance, got farther with me than any man on any date ever, and I include my husband in that statement.  I suppose that "Making Uncomfortable Cup-Size Based Queries, Then Placing a Boob on a Shelf in Preparation for a Giant Cutting Board to Slam Down on Top of It" is a major course in radiology school, but as a lowly English major, I would like to know why I was told not to wear any deodorant, and then upon arrival in the digital imagery room was immediately asked to raise my arms.

Somewhere between the time I was pinned to a tower of machinery by each boob in turn, then told to hold my breath, and the moment the tech told me that I might well receive a call for an encore performance, I resolved to pay better attention to Shower Examination Activities.  I'll just slam my chest up against the wall and mash the shampoo bottle against it; same deal.

screening at:  mbe@drinktothelasses.com

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Reader Comments (12)

[...] It’s a post all about boobs! Share and [...]

I am always HIGHLY amused by the idea of having to tape BBs to my nipples before this procedure. It gives me the giggles every damn time.

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterstarnarcosis

My mom had breast cancer this spring, and I am 34 (35 in Nov), so I will have my first one in the next few months. I am NOOOOOOT looking forward to it. We (as in the girls in my family) have fibrocycstic breasts...mine are of the DD variety.
Did I mention how much I am looking forward to my first mammo???

From what I've heard, they are now saying that sonograms of the breasts are more accurate than mammograms...guess we'll see what technology brings. I imagine a sonogram would be painless - always a bonus. :)

You may be interested to know that we're doing the Race for the Cure up here in Baltimore in October - our team is named Teachers for Tatas. (Since EVERY woman in my family except for me happens to be a teacher, it's a good name.) If you'd like to join us, you're more than welcome! I'd be proud to say that we had a REAL LIFE published author and blogger on our team. :)

Hope your results show you're in the clear!

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKris


Just went through the "smash and dash" myself. Did you also receive, as part of the prep before the smash the vital "protect - the - nipple - Peter Marxx bandaid - with - the -tiny- metal-stud"? Closest I'll ever get to a piercing on my torso - forgot they were there for two days! The yank and pull bandaid manuever not quite the way to go.

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

Oh dude, you got accessories? No fair. All I got was the useless robe, and even that I had to give back.

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMB

Very best wishes to you and your mom-- hope she's doing well.

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMB

Heh. I got the pasties too. To my dismay, the tech removed the first one herself after smooshing me, sans consent. Most uncomfortable moment ever. It was like she was copping a feel because I wasn't ready for it. Of course, I backed away quickly before she could pull off the 2nd pasty and wound up wearing it all day before I remembered.

Plus, the pain. Oh the pain...

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVicki

Heh, I don't remember it hurting quite so much. What I thought was the coolest - and what I still remember from my baseline (next year it will be a regular thing) is the BSE video and the boob model, which actually had examples embedded in it to show what a lump really feels like. I couldn't even guess before, and knowing what it feels like took the scare out of the BSEs. I was reluctant to do them because I was always feeling something - I have the thick fibrocystic boobs too.

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnne from Iowa

If it serves of any consolation to you ladies, I always hoped that medical science would advance sufficiently during my lifetime to spare me from the medieval methodology that is currently the prostatic examination.

Alas: along with rocket packs, lunar bases and hover boards, science has failed to deliver this holy grail of medical achievement. In one month I'll be 36, so unless some unheard and blessed Steve Jobs of Med tech delivers the iPod-equivalent of the prostate cancer test, I'm afraid I'll have a rather uncomfortable date with a thick-fingered doctor in the foreseeable future :-S

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

So MB,

I am not looking forward to my baseline mammy-o-gram as the old ladies say but I think I've had my own gyn hell. It is called a TVU. (trans vag ultrasound).

Basically they use it in addition to a regular ultrasound to check my ovarian cysts. See where at a mammy you get to be felt up, here you have to insert the wand into your lady parts and then the tech takes the handle and, shall we say, uses it like a 4 year old with a joystick. It isn't that it is totally painful, it is that as she moves the thing and tries to get better angles there is stabbing pain.(Literally) Also, you have to do this with a full bladder so all I can ever think of is "Try not to cringe or you'll pee on her hands." Then again, maybe she deserves it.

Ever wonder what we did to our bodies to make them treat us like this?

August 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKelle Belle

Kelle Belle - I always likened that to them using a large barrel curling iron. Yeah, that is not the most fun ultrasound ever...
You want me to drink HOW much water??

September 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKris

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December 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHarnessed « Blonde Champ
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