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Entry 6: BONUS BLOG: Mammography

So, last week I had my second mammogram (an experience that I will vlog about somewhere down the line). I don’t want to give too much away, but it was MUCH different than the first time. Stay tuned.

As I mentioned in Vlog 5, from here on out some of our production values get sketchy. So far, that is most apparent in this entry. Going into filming I knew we were varying significantly from the truth of mammograms, but repeating the process last week reminded me of some facts I left out and inspired me to give a few tips about the process. So, while I hope my vlog was amusing, below are some truer thoughts on the art of mammography.

1) The above photo is what a mammogram machine looks like: The compression plates do look like clear cake pans or Tupperware, but there is also this giant machine.

2) A radiologist stands behind a partition so she (or he I suppose, though I’ve not seen any male mammo techs yet), doesn’t get zapped by radiation all day long.

3) Do not wear deodorant the day of a mammogram (you’ll have to wipe it off anyway). Don’t wear any necklaces (again, you’ll have to take them off, why risk losing them?)

4) Do schedule the mammo for one week after your period ends (if possible). Your breasts are least sensitive this time of the month. Also, do as I did and dress in two pieces so you only have to take your top off. This goes for all doctor trips revolving around breast cancer.

5) Before the mammogram begins, the tech puts a led apron over you (from the waist down), to prevent you from getting zapped by more radiation than is necessary. She also sticks nipple markers on your nipples. They look like the male end of a snap. I don’t know what they do. They’re not a big deal (or I would have remembered them from the first time).

6) During my first mammogram, the machine was tightened in the way I describe in the video (Marla stood behind the partition near the wall and pushed a button that tightened the machine). It seems to be more typical that the machine is hand-cranked by the mammo tech.

7) Not all people find mammograms as painful as I do. But… I do. However, more important than knowing that a mammogram may be painful, is knowing that it is quick. Even if it hurts like hell. It will only last a few seconds. I promise.

8) I still think even with all the research out there questioning the importance of mammography that you should get mammograms. My mother has had breast cancer three times. Every time it was found through mammography.

Again, I think mammograms are a pain in the ass; but you know what’s worse? End stage cancer that could have been detected if you hadn’t skipped your mammogram. That’s worse. So get mammograms!

Also! As promised, a link to a video about mammograms (that feels like an airplane safety video) can be found HERE.

A much more detailed video can be found by clicking the media link for "Quality Mammography Video," at the site linked HERE.

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