Smashed

Well, here it is. The day of my mammogram, which careful readers will note is one of my very very favorite days.

I’ve talked a lot about careful readers lately. You know what else you are? Annoyed readers.

Back in aught eight, when I was already 43 and shoulda been havin’ mammograms for three years, I finally went with a group from work, at my old job, to get mammograms together. I don’t mean we disrobed and smashed out in front of one another. But they sent limos to work and served us sparkling cider in the cars, and drove us to the local mammogram place, so it was kind of more fun.

Heh. Yeah.

That was a Wednesday, if I recall, the week before Thanksgiving. I remember this vague, “Where’s my post card?” feeling that weekend, as they’d said that’s what they’d do. They’d send a post card saying everything was okay.

I wasn’t worried, though, till I got a call on Monday. “This is Ma’am O’Gram,” said the operator, who did not call it that at all, but maybe that’s what they should do: Give these places funner names. “Are you getting yours at Yes, Ma’am’s or are you going to AppleSqueeze?”

“Oh, my family has always gone to Booby Tuesdays.”

I like how they all have to be bad chains. Because eventually they would be. Someone would have a local, boutique mammogram place that would get bought out by The Man.

“Back when HootieFlats was local, their gowns were artisan.”

Anyway.

When Boob Evans called me the following Monday, my first thought was, I musta left my coat there. Because denial. It’s what’s for dinner. And of course I hadn’t left my coat there; if I had I wouldn’t be telling you this endless story. What they said is they found something and could I return for another gander.

And see, I was fairly new to blogging then, so I rushed back here and told y’all, a thing I’d know not to do now, because oh, with the horror stories, and then one of you said, “You need to know every detail. You need to call them back and find out what they saw.”

See. That was terrible advice. And I took it.

“Say, receptionist at Bad MaamaJaama’s, what all did the doctor think he saw?” I asked. And she read my report, which indicated a spiculated density, except the brain scientist receptionist called it a “speculated density.” “Aw, that’s okay, he’s just speculating that there’s a density!” she said brightly.

Oh, honey.

So not only did I Google spiculated density and SCARE MYSELF TO DEATH, I also had the mammogram place call my terrible doctor, who called me that night to say, “This sounds bad. Prepare for the worst.”

And that is how I spent 72 hours shaking and crying. In a fetal position. Because I’m nothing if not all the way with my dramatic reactions.

Then I went to a new place with a better reputation, my old images in hand, and they did an ultrasound and said, “You’re fine, but come back in six months” and Marvin can tell you. Oh, how he can tell you. I SPENT SIX MONTHS OBSESSING. I mean, that’s all I did. Oh, I Googled and I checked chat rooms and I thought and I worried and I carried on, and why so divorced?

IMG_2287.JPG
Speaking of Marvin, he just sent me this. This is what I made for him one Valentine’s Day. See, I’m not that bad. Sort of. That was our real rent at the time. Good gravy, man.

Then I was fine at that appointment, and hey, six months later, I went back for a regular mammogram and

GUESS

WHAT.

They called me back again. This time for the other side. When they called me that second time, I burst into tears and asked, “How could you do this to me?”

Turns out that was normal, too, but if I could describe to you the depths of my terror when they call me back, you’d be sitting here reading this post. Is what you’d be doing.

I’ve had normal results since then, but then for the last couple years I just didn’t go, because I was sad about breaking up with Ned and I KNOW THAT’S RIDICULOUS, but I was all, I feel bad enough without adding this terror, so I didn’t go.

I KNOW SHUT UP.

At the beginning of this year, not only did I say I had to get my finances in order, but also I had to get a PAP smear (another thing I’d been putting off), get my colonoscopy (I was two years late for that) and finally, get the dreaded mammogram.

PAP, check. Colonoscopy, check.

And that brings us to today. I switched places because their radio ad said they gave you same-day results, had my records switched over and everything, so when I get there the Bay City Rollers will be on.

I’ll be here all week.

But when I made the actual appointment, they said they “don’t do same-day at the Greensboro office” and FUCK EVERYTHING. So now I know I have ice-cold terror to live through for maybe, you know, a week.

Goddammit.

…I just heard a loud thump, which means Steely Dan is done being on the roof for now.

IMG_2286But I don’t see him. That was all jarring and annoying, but when I looked, there was nothing.

Kind of like how I hope today turns out.

74 thoughts on “Smashed

    1. And Megsie – I say this with love . . . don’t make us come over there. Careful readers of June, en masse, are a force to be reckoned with. Make those appointments and GO!! We’ll be behind you all the way. I went for my second colonoscopy last week (I’m so lucky, I get to have one every five years instead of every ten) and I bitched and moaned and complained and cussed through every bit of it, but I did it. I’m pulling for you!

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  1. You’re going to be fine – it’s all going to be just fine. I’m beginning to think they keep calling you back because they want to look at your hoots again. Take a deep breath and it will be over before you know it – then you’ll be back home, cuddling with all your many animals. Maybe you should reward yourself with a trip to an animal adoption place.

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  2. I feel ya. The first time they tell you that the radiologist wants to see you… your heart races and then drops into your bowels. I recognize that we are lucky enough to live in a country where we have mammograms as an option; that is no comfort when you’re lying (laying?) on a biopsy table.

    I hope you get the ‘all clear” today, my Internet friend. Please do report back!

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  3. Empathy provoking post, June. Having company in 56 minutes but I’m glad I took the time to squeeze in reading your post. Been there, done that, all the way to damned open biopsy because I was all so spiculated they were SURE and know what? Nothin’. And here 21 years later to say still nothin’. I’m hoping you got nothin’.
    I’d like to share my big brother’s advice in trying times but I don’t have a big brother so I’ll share my little brother’s advice in trying times and I mean it from the bottom of my heart, “God speed, little doodle.”

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  4. I’m overdue for my mammogram. I’d rush to make an appointment if I knew I would be speaking to Ma’am O’Gram!

    I love the Monopoly card you made for Marvin.

    Have a good smashing o’tha boob! I’m hoping that it will all turn out fine.

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  5. Knockers up! (Which insta-type wrote as knickers up) And hey, that’s a song so look it up. I call it getting my headlights aligned. Good luck!

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  6. I had my annual mammogram this past Saturday. Typically it’s uncomfortable but not painful. This time it hurt. I think it’s because during one of the views I was looking at the digital thing that measures the amount of pressure the machine is using in pounds. It was a lot. It shocked me. After that every image hurt.

    The spa-like place I go to gives me a card with a phone number to call for results in 3-5 days. I plan to call on Friday.

    Now the PSA portion of my comment: my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in June. They found it through mammogram. They caught it early and she’s doing well- no chemo, no radiation. She did have a mastectomy and she’s getting her new boobs in about 3 weeks.
    Get your mammograms!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh Joob. I remember all of this. I’m sure I told you that I had Something that had to be monitored? I was sent to the Breast Cancer Center (or whatever) and had to have mammos every six months. EVERY. SIX. MONTHS. For five years. By the third year, *I* recognized the Something and it wasn’t changing. But I still went every six months. Mammo and what’s the other thing…Sonogram. Finally the doctor said, “Oh. OH. That’s just a fatty cell. No worries. You can come back in a year.” A FATTY CELL. Five years, every six months for a fatty cell. But finally, fat was my friend. Now every year when I go and the tech says, “Oh, uh…” I say, “FATTY CELL, NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE IT ALONG.” Yeah, they love me. And don’t forget my last mammogram and what happened when I got off the table and how I am convinced my file now reads: “high wind warning.” Did I tell that story? ANYWAY, if you’re still awake, my point is: don’t worry.

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  8. You’ll be just fine! I agree with Jan. Early detection is the key. Make sure you all go. And June, I would guess that you have dense breasts like I have. Doesn’t mean they’re stupid (stupid boobs!), means they have a lot of dense tissue in them and you tend to have fibroids, etc. So when you have a mammogram, they usually do see “something”. It’s usually totally harmless, but they always err on the side of caution, which is a good thing.

    I am one of those who had the reality of a breast cancer diagnosis. But like Jan said above, they found it early and were able to do a lumpectomy and I had to go through very little treatment afterwards. The worst scenario in my head turned out to be just fine and 5 years out, I’m great! I do take bc meds and had some trouble with one type, but once they switched me to another kind, it’s all good.

    That doesn’t mean that I don’t get a little nervous every time I go back, but I’m glad that they keep such a close eye on me, just in case it comes back. I’m more than happy to go if it means that keeps me healthy.

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    1. I’m in the stupid boob club too. First time ever I went and they’re all oooh you have dense boobies, you must have an ultrasound! What? So I learned that’s a thing. And the woman who did mine was a BITCH all caps. She acted disgusted with me if I would move and did one twice. I swear she did it because she didn’t like me. And I was a nervous wreck.

      But, nothing found. Just stupid boobs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, dense breasts are considered a higher risk for breast cancer so they are extra-vigilant with them. (Although don’t tell June, that will make her worry even more).

        Wow, I’m so sorry the bitch was a bitch with you! I would complain to her office, because that’s the opposite of what they want you to feel. I’ve become pretty well-acquainted with the staff who work at the Breast Cancer Center at the huge university hospital where I had my bc surgery, and those women there are so wonderful! They are patient and calming and concerned. The doctors, surgeons, nurses and staff make you really feel like you are their #1 priority. That makes the whole ordeal so much easier. Leading up to my surgery, I had a “case manager” (she is a MD) who went with me through every biopsy and test, and even rode in my Mom and Dad’s car with us to the hospital when I went in for surgery. She got me checked in and walked with me literally to the surgery room door. She was an angel.

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  9. Why DO they have to smash? Couldn’t they just do like an ultrasound? I mean, I hope if they could they would. But I always suspect men are in charge of how these things go down. Ever hear of a check for testicular cancer where they SMASH REALLY HARD? That’s my point.

    And another pet peeve is the “helpful” sort, who clamor to tell you all the horror stories they can recall. Please, spare me. I can read. My daughter is 962 months pregnant (by her own reckoning) and is about to stab the next person who tells her some pregnancy nightmare. WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THAT??When people are facing scary things, you need to sprinkle them with rainbows and glitter and kittens!

    You’ll be fine June. Also, you are pretty, smart, and funny. That Valentine to Marvin is the best!

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    1. I have had an ultra sound and it hurts worse than the mammogram, especially when they are “front and center”. I recently had the new 3D technique and it seemed like it didn’t hurt as much. About the pregnancy stories, it has always amazed me that people do that. I don’t know if they are trying to commiserate or maybe they are trying to make you feel better because they had it worse than you. Or maybe they are just jerks! One of the worst parts about being pregnant is having strangers coming up to you and rubbing your belly! I can’t believe people think that is OK.

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    2. Yes! I always tell people that I was fine and they’ll be fine, too. Noone needs to hear all the possible complications. It’s scary enough!

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  10. Hi June. I already did mine earlier this year. Every time I walk into that office, it’s like time stood still. The same receptionist, twirling a pencil (I’ve never seen her computer). The same technologist who hoists my “stuff” this way and that, while cracking jokes. And during a few visits, I’ve seen an employee take their lunch out of a refrigerator that has a big sign on the door “Specimen Storage.”

    What “specimens” would be in there???? And why?

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  11. I had a lump 15 years ago that was biopsied and was nothing. So 10 years later, they want to sonogram the same lump – I tell the boob smasher nurse: “You did this one before and it was nothing.” No response and they send me to the sonogram. I go to the sonogram and I tell the sonogram lady: “You did this one before and I had a biopsy and it was nothing.” She asks where did you have it done? I say here. She gets on the computer – click, click, click. Oh, yeah, that’s right. You’re okay. Sorry about that. Ever check your records people?

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  12. Know what’s sad? I’m almost too embarrassed to say it. And DON’T laugh at me, I’m serious!

    I didn’t know Marvin Gardens was from Monopoly. In fact, I’ve never played Monopoly in my life. As a kid, it was just all so overwhelming, so many cards, money, rules.

    My 72 month old grandson taught me how to play Monopoly last weekend. He’s a shark at that game, the regular game, not the junior Monopoly one. Apparently unbeknownst to me, his mother, my first born, played that game every day of her life since she was 60 months. I had no idea. I’m a bad mom. A bad, bad mom. They call them board games for a reason. Anyway, grandson is teaching me Monopoly and I’m telling him he’s lying and just making up stupid rules and he swore he wasn’t. Apparently he really wasn’t. You know how sometimes someone can be so dumb you just cock your head to the side and stare at them, trying to figure out how that person gets through life? That’s what my grandson did.

    In summation, I got all excited wanting to go online and tell all the Pie peeps that I knew where the name Marvin Gardens came from. And right then I knew.

    Liked by 6 people

  13. All these names! Snort. Just had my mammosmash. It was fine. My place sends out a letter and in all caps, bold print they say, “THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF CANCER…” That is the only thing I see on that letter. Then I can breathe. I saw a new doctor this time, because my doctor, fmr., is no longer caring for breast patients. I liked the new office, especially her PA. She told me the mammogram looked better because as you get older your breasts aren’t as dense. You have something to look forward to, less dense. Two maybe three mammosmashes ago, I think the technician was trying to rip my breast off my chest wall. I promise you I was in so much pain I almost cried and then I had pain for about another 18 months. I was not happy with that technician. The next year I made a point of getting a different one. Here’s hoping for a good report for you!

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  14. Your spectacular boobs will me fine, June.
    I just have a feeling.
    We may need to start up the prayer circle again, if it’ll ease your mind.
    I’ll be having my pancakes flattened to crepes soon. Hope they make a comeback.
    I prefer the fluffy plump buttermilk ones.
    Good luck today.

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  15. Boob Evans. *snicker*

    I probably shouldn’t say that I actually kinda like getting my mammo done. It’s this pink & black, totally girly office with fun sayings on the walls. The tech is funny and totally laid back, and other than the smash, I actually like going. I also make sure to take the morning off of work and go treat myself to either a nice lunch or something sparkly afterward.

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        1. Oh yes, after ever bc-related appt down at the medical center – Oncologist, Mammo, Surgeon, etc., I always treat myself to a huge sloppy meal at the McDonald’s right by the medical center. Fries, milkshake, the whole nine yards. I decided I deserve it after those appts.

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  16. I’ve had the same thing happen to me after my first mammosmush, it scared the living shit out of me but I had to put on a brave face for my daughter and husband. I was dying inside. Turned out to be OK and has never happened again. Good luck.

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  17. Well done on the naming of the mammo-chains! So clever in the face of fear.

    Crossing my fingers for you, Coot!

    P.S. I will be seeing my cardiologist today to see if my heart is still ticking. Wish me luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I went through the whole come back thing, then on to an ultrasound last year wherein they told me it was just a benign cyst and unless said cyst suddenly grew or did something weird they’d mark it and never call me back again.

    Sure enough this year the tech said, oh there’s that cyst as she did mine. My place just got some new and improved sort of technology so that even if you have dense breastseses it doesn’t matter. Sees right through them I guess.

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  19. I’m also a “screw it I”m not going to” person when it comes to these tests. I had a pap smear in January and it was the first one since my 12 YEAR old son was born. I just hate that stuff. The Lord will take me when he takes me.

    Also, according to my husband my compassion needs some improvement. Perhaps more than a spit shine. Last week my husband called me on his way out of work, and I was leaving a work meeting in another town. He said he needed me to call the doctor because that day when he went to the restroom he filled the toilet with blood. He went on and on for a bitabout the amount of blood. I said “Oh my God it’s probably The Cancer and it’s near the end. But sure, I’ll call.”
    Turns out that is not what he wanted to hear.

    He did go to the doctor that night, and they determined his guts were scraped by the heavy antibiotics he was just on for bronchitis, and was to eat shitloads (ha!) of yogurt and such. They also scheduled a colonoscopy, which he had been avoiding and wants now like people in hell want ice water.

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  20. My sister is freaking out because they called her back. I tried to reassure her, but frankly I am freaking too. She goes back next week. She is all the family I have, so things like that scare me.
    I hope all will go well with you June and that it will be a one-and-done doctor’s visit today. I snorted at all your boob references. You are a hoot, Coot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love “boobs crossed” as much as all June’s clinic names. Sending positive thoughts since I can’t think of anything as funny as those.

      My mammograms at the women’s clinic I’m about to have to leave because of insurance change have all been painless since the new equipment–I wish I knew what it was. I had my first breast ultrasound yesterday and it wasn’t madly comfortable but brief. The technician puts gel on with a butter-knife-sized paddle before you get pressed. I said I was sure I wasn’t the only one who thought of icing a cake, and she started talking about all the cupcakes she iced for her children: “but these all have cherries on top.”

      Weirdest comment from a doctor was during a routine PAP that eventually led to surgery: after spending an inordinate time down there, he looked up and said, “I can’t find your cervix.” I’ve always wished I’d said what I was thinking: “Well, I’m pretty sure I had it with me when I left home.”

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  21. Well, I went. I’ve gone. I did it. Now I just have to check my email obsessively for the results. As soon as I got back to work, I checked email, of course, and the only one I had read, “Are you ready to check out?”

    NO!!! What a terrible way to break the news, mammogram place!!!

    It was from Stitch Fix. So.

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  22. Just went for a mammogram this morning. I have been on an every-six-months schedule for the last several years after they found some calcifications. I’ve been reassured that they are and probably always will remain benign but I still get anxious before I go. After what you went through, it’s totally understandable that you’d be anxious before yours, too. I’m the praying type so I’ll say a prayer for a quick, clear report for you. It’s good that you went. My mom and her best friend both had breast cancer that was found via mammogram. In each case, it was caught early enough that they both were able to get away with lumpectomies and very minimal additional treatment. And neither has had a recurrence in almost ten years. Also, my mother’s doctor told us that the vast majority of mammogram call backs and even diagnostic biopsies indicate that there is no cancer. Sorry to rattle on. Just want to pass that info along in case anyone hadn’t heard it.

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  23. Fingers crossed and will say a prayer for best results. All of this crap is hugely frightening. My sister is being watched every six months for a possibly pre cancerous growth. She can’t take the medication the doctor wanted her on, it caused severe anxiety and depression. I had a needle biopsy in 2002, I think. It was negative. I am WAY overdue for a mamo and pap. I have adressed a few other things recently.
    My.husband has a nodule in his lung that has grown quite a bit. It takes a year to get cyber knife results and we have them now and they are not good. He went and got a PET scan this morning. They (his oncologist’s office at Penn in Philadelphia. They rock!) said they will call him later today with results. I am alternating between spinchter clutching, tension headaches, weeping and prayer. This is a crappy day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thinking good thoughts, Koala, for you and your husband. Waiting for results is the worst part of any biopsy or test. They should figure out a way to give you instant info!

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  24. I had a teeny tumor discovered via a mammogram and was able to have a lumpectomy and radiation. That was 7 years ago and nothing since, but thank goodness we have the technology to see the tiniest things. I have to go for mine in January, so hey, not a stressful December at all, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I normally have the smoosh-o-gram in December so my reminder card should be arriving any day now. I used to have dense breasts with fibroids (which one time resulted in needing an ultrasound) UNTIL I quit caffeine. Years ago I read an article about it and asked my dr. At the time he said there was not much scientific evidence that eliminating caffeine would result in less dense tissue, but anecdotally, he heard it all the time and believed every word. That was enough of an endorsement for me. Since then, no mammogram issues at all. Coincidence? Maybe, but I don’t care.
    June, you and your hoots will be A-OK!

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    1. I’ve heard that about caffeine as well. Too bad I like coffee and tea so will have to live with the dense breasts. My sisters have dense breasts, as well, so I don’t know if it’s heredity or we all like our caffeine or both.

      June, good for you for getting all the tests done this year. Hope you don’t stress too much while waiting for the all-clear postcard.

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        1. OH MY GOSH!!!!!! We should all dress up and pretend like we’re decorating the tree or lighting the menorah or doing some typical holiday tradition and then post pics! That would be awesome!!!

          Liked by 1 person

  26. Oh sweetie – I’ve been there too many times to count. Finally, the last time they called me back and it was nothing – but they put a tiny chip in so that next time they would know that area is fine. Now, I need to go back…*sigh*

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    1. Yes, Gigi, I have 3 titanium chips in muh’boobs. As a person who has been through it all with the whole breast scan things, I love how they can mark places now so they know things have already been checked and you don’t have to go through the scare every time you go in. Also, they know right where to check to see if anything has changed or grown larger.

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  27. Thanks guys, no news before tomorrow. I don’t mind, I could use a break. I have a tension headache, how do you all do it with the migraines?

    I hope you hear back soon, Coot.

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  28. How in the world did I miss that fabulous header picture and the new text which really should be the tagline for every Christmas tree lot!

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