Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mammo Talk and Bilateral Post -Mammo Pancake Protrusions
About a month ago ... a few hours after my mammogram, I was inspired to write this post ...but alas ..could not type it up, because of my newly acquired ...albeit temporary (Thank God!), physical obstruction to the key board. Some years are worse than others and I think that is determined by the preferences/training of the tech doing the test. I shall explain.
Men just have no idea what we have to go through with these mammograms.

Earlier tonight, while in the middle of "the mammo", compressions (No ...NOT CPR to the girls kind of compressions ...although they must think they need it when finally removed from the machine), an idea occurred to this wincing with a little desperation mixed in (OWWWWWW), SeaSpray. By the way, it seemed to me that this tech would've compressed my girls all the way down to China if I had not eventually whined "OWWWWWW." I tried to take it ...I really did. So when she did the second one ...sure enough ...she kept compressing until I again whined, "OWWWWWWW." (Mental note made - whine earlier next year ...wincing in conjunction with whine particularly effective ;)

Epiphany moments are interesting. Mine came to me tonight as the mammo compressor facilitated the morphing of said girls into ...oh I don't know ...PANCAKES!

I began to think about how they (said girls) would not fit back into my bra or blouse. I decided that the radiology center should supply women with post mammo attire, i.e., more accommodating clothing and bras better suited to the varying pancake shapes women sport afterward. It's so awkward walking out in public with this altered breast shape and ill fitting clothing. This is the real reason we are told to leave the gown open in the front. We all know that we can just lift the gown up to proceed with the test. But, they KNOW the girls aren't gonna fit under it after the mammogram. This would be a much appreciated courtesy extended by the mammogrammer & radiology center to the novice mammogramee ...until they get with the program (remember to bring appropriate post-mammo clothing and bra) like us veteran mammogramees. It would also help the forgetful mammogrammees.

Perhaps it would help if the radiology center provided something like a Madonna bra gone pointy pancake. Well ...unless you are more the melon type ....then cantaloupe gone pancake. You see there are the strawberry girls and then there are the cantaloupe girls. That's all I'm gonna say about that. Otherwise, the common denominator is pancake.

Anyway, this SeaSpray knows to bring a really stretchy bra, fortified with an under wire made of steel that can extend or shorten if necessary (It all depends on how hard the mammo breast compressions were), with attached thin under shelf for the additional support ...also made of steel. (I designed it myself :) I mean ...obviously ...well assuming I could even get the bra I came in with back on ...obviously the cups would be extremely ill fitting considering I would hardly be needing much of a 3 dimensional fitting bra cup. Talk about puckered material - sans depth to fill it and painful compressing back in, well it just would not work! because the cups would now be too short. It's simple math really. Take the depth of the girls and smoosh them as flat as possible and ...well everyone knows that same compressed matter has to go somewhere ...thus extends outward ...far ...far outward and sideways. They spread out and around just like breakfast pancakes ...hence post-mammo pancakes. And it doesn't matter what cup size ..even Band-Aid sized girls will need a steel support bra once they've been flattened to protruding mammo pancakes. We all know that air is not conducive to support ting objects of any kind. Has something to do with the law of gravity.

Any woman who has lived through a mammo can verify this. Actually ...anyone witnessing a mammo patient exiting her mammo appointment can also bear witness to the altered appearance post- mammo appointment..

Furthermore, our girls are compressed so far down (to get a good picture), that it gives new meaning to the expression "flat chested." And "routine" mammo? Let me tell you ...there is nothing "routine" about having your breasts compressed down to oddly protruding pancakes. There is just something so unnatural about it.

It's so obvious really.

So you see ...and you probably have can recognize all the mammographied (I know not a real word, but I like it anyway:) women as they exit the center because they are the ones with their girls pointing straight out and flat as a pancake. There is one perk to it all though. Well ...technically speaking ...2 perks. ;) But, the perk I'm referring to is that they also make convenient shelves for awhile once you get past the inconvenience of not being able to see anything underneath them. Like a full term pregnant woman trying to see her weight on a scale ...mammographied women can't see anything beneath their girls for a while after the test was done. So you just make the best of it and appreciate the temporary functionality of having two shelves jutting out from your body. There is that convenience factor.

A word of caution though. Be careful not to stand too close to these recently mammographied women while their girls are so prominently jutting outward in their flat chested state (Oxymoron - I know :) ...because if they make one quick turn in either direction and you are too close're going D-O-W-N! That's if they left the mammo appointment wearing their stretchy, yet steel supported under wire bras. Admittedly a wardrobe hazard ...but every woman wants good bra support you know, no matter what shape she is.

Thankfully, the girls usually return to their pre-mammo state within a few hours.

But, another word of caution: Even though, individual breast size determines the rate of return back to normalcy, i.e., the pre-mammo state ... if the post-mammo pancake breasts remain in the mammographied protrusion state for more than 4 hours, it is recommended that the ordering physician is called for further direction regarding your unresolved bilateral mammo pancake protrusions. Even if one mammo pancake protrusion returns to the pre-mammo state, but the other one remains jutting outward flat as a pancake, do not assume the other one will return back down to it's pre-mammo state. Therefore, it is still recommended that the physician is called. Otherwise a woman runs the risk of remaining that way (1 normal breast and one protruding mammo pancake breast) for a long time ...if not permanently. (Then just try and find a well fitting bra and/or clothing for the rest of your life) Also, if the ordering physician is not available, then it is advised to seek out the nearest Emergency Department physician for assistance.

Flat as a strawberry or cantaloupe pancakes I tell you.

Maple syrup anyone? ;)

PS - Please be advised that while the main content of this post is fictional (you knew it was ..right? ;), if you or anyone you know does suffer from sudden onset of post-mammo pancake syndrome and do end up with a mammographied protrusion state for more than 4 hours, you ore they really should call a physician or go to the closest emergency department for evaluation and assistance.

PPS - Women, please get your mammograms whenever you are supposed to. It could SAVE your life!


Peggikaye said...

I had mine done a few weeks ago. I am never very comfortable, I have a lot of scar tissue from my reduction so in addition to the pancakedness ... there is tearing of scar tissue that off with the fact that my 'trouble spot' being watched has nestled itself, ever so kindly (rolling eyes) ON my chest wall instead of say, middle of the breast or hey, near the surface! so they have to seriously flatten me ...

This girl takes me and sticks me in and flattens the paddles and suddenly I let out a whelp, she'd pulled waaaaay too much of my chest skin AND it'd folded ...

she rather rudely made a comment about some people having no tolerance for pain and millions of women have these every year w/o making a sound ...

She snaps the picture and I'm in so much pain I can barely breathe and am getting close to fainting ...

then she lets the paddles loose and says she has to check them, then says, oh, there is too much skin from above your breast folded in, I have to retake it ...

I tell you, she's lucky I was in too much shock to react .... though, i did manage to tell the story to the office manager before I left, she was rather surprised by both her mistake and her callousness ...

Chrysalis Angel said...

"Use them for shelves." ha.

rlbates said...

:) sq2m

SeaSpray said...

Hi Peggikaye- OUUUUCH! Make that a double OUUUUUCH x2!

I really feel for you. What a horrible experience.

It sounds like you already have issues to contend with due to scarring and she was certainly insensitive. I had a tech do that to me once. Probably not as extreme but went higher up than any one ever has and boy did that hurt.

I think you were right to report her. I could accept that it hurt, but to belittle or dismiss a patient's concerns and not take their pain level seriously is unprofessional and rude. Hopefully she was spoken to and perhaps another patient will be spared because of your speaking up.

Oh and so she did mammos on millions of patients so she can claim that statement as accurate?

I am sure millions of people make a sound too.

Thanks for sharing your story. Perhaps a medical person needing a reminder will be a bit more sensitive to their patient's concerns after reading this.

SeaSpray said...

Hi Angel - yeah ...convenient actually ..just interferes with typing for awhile. ;)

SeaSpray said...

Hi Ramona - I am glad you appreciated the zany humor. I was concerned it was over the top and would be perceived as weird. Even worse ...I was concerned maybe a breast cancer patient would be offended if they thought I was making light of a serious subject.

And then I was away last night until just now with no access to a computer and i was having blogger's remorse over the post. But since the 3 of you commented ..I've relaxed about it.