Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Taking Care of the Girls

There are many reasons that breastfeeding has benefited me and my family. Only one of which was apparent today. What happened today, you ask? I had my first mammogram.

I've heard horror stories about small-breasted women and mammograms. "They squish the tissue you have, which isn't much, and it hurts," one person said. "Very uncomfortable," the second woman added. And another one revealed that she "passed out afterwards, the pain was so bad."

Really? Could this possibly be true? Would someone who has dealt with post-marathon muscle pain, natural childbirth, and a cracked nipple really find a mammogram uncomfortable? (I've experienced all three of those, if you didn't' know. And don't laugh about the cracked nipple. The nipple pain was worse than any of my labor contractions, and those pains were monumental; don't let anyone tell you otherwise.) I was confident that I'd be okay, but I'd be lying if I didn't at least have a slight bit of apprehension clustered around me and my aura this morning.

Well, fast forward to the point where I am standing in front of the mammogram machine. I see the plates and know that Jessica, the technician, plans on squeezing what little tissue I have between them. Thankfully, she starts with my right side, which has about two ounces more tissue in it than my left. She deftly places her fingers under my breast, pushes up against the chest wall, and flattens it out over the table. She has me do a little dance with my feet and moves my hands into different positions. She cranks the plate down and voila. My breast is the thickness of a pancake. I am standing in a very odd position, and the only discomfort I have is that I can't breathe. Literally, I can't breathe while they take the picture, or it could come out fuzzy. So two seconds later, I can breathe, and I am fine.

Jessica does the same with the left and then moves on to perform two more scans that involve part of the muscle. Even having my armpit hanging over the square edge of the mammogram machine is no match for marathon muscle pain, so I take a breath, hold it, let it out, and smile. I'm done.

And now you are wondering why I am thanking my former life as a cow, nursing mother. Well, I won't disappoint. It's because my breasts have seen far worse than the underside and top side of a mammogram machine. They've been grabbed at by little baby hands, which magically have a vice-like grip even though those same hands have very little fine motor control. They've become engorged and uncomfortable such that shooting milk against the shower wall became routine. They've done time between four sets of choppers, none of which actually bit me, but several of which tried to extend the nipple way past its normal elasticity.

So you see, this field trip this morning? Just another day in the life of my breasts. Nothing to see here, they said. Move on.

So I'm hoping they're still happy and healthy, because these girls have been good to me and my kids. I've got no reason to think that they won't be, but I'm glad that I took the time to have them checked.

1 comment:

Kelsey said...

You describe so much of this experience perfectly... even though I bet our experiences weren't exactly identical. :-)