Friday, September 23, 2011

The Big Squeeze

Had my annual mammogram this week. My sister and I call it ‘the big squeeze.’ If this topic is a little too personal for you, stop reading here.

Okay, so you’re still reading. Either you’re an advocate of the preventative measures that we should go through to catch breast problems in early stages…or maybe you’re interested in my take on the whole 'squeezing' process. Or maybe you’re just curious how in the world a well-endowed woman responds to a mammogram. I can tell you that she responds with being sore (but thankful for a tool to pinpoint problems early). She also responds with amazement that two plates can come together and...well…I’ll save that for later just in case you want to stop reading now.

When the tech asked me if I do regular breast self-exams, I was embarrassed to tell her that I only do it when I think of it. And I don’t think of it much.

That isn’t good enough.

There is a history of breast cancer in my mother’s family. Her older sister had it. I don’t remember details about it, but Mother told me that her father had a lump removed from one of his breasts late in his life. Don’t even know what the biopsy results were…but I know Grandpa had a heart attack when he left for Heaven. I’ve had a complete hysterectomy in 1992 but I’d rather tell people I’ve been spayed because it gets more laughs. Because of the “spay-ment” I take a dose of estrogen every morning and night. That drives up my chances of breast cancer. And I’m stupid enough to have spent all these years NOT checking myself regularly.

Not anymore…

I’ve made the decision to take care of this on a regular basis. I’m going to mark my calendar and DO this! I’ll mark it just like I do to remind myself to give our poodle Dobie his heartworm medicine. The pharmaceutical company provided the reminder stickers and they are in the shape of a heart because (obviously) we love our dogs so we’ll give them the meds they need.

That heart will also remind me to do my monthly breast self-exam. I love my dog. I also love my breasts. Yes, they are bigger than I’d like, but I like how my clothes fit with them.

Friends, I am living proof that God answers prayer! I didn’t really need a bra until I was 16. You think I’m kidding! It’s true. I learned how to make a perfect collection of tissues to fit in my bras…all the while praying that God would give me real breasts. Maybe I sang “Fill My Cup, Lord” too many times because I’m totally blessed! Before starting my diet last year, I was a DD cup. After losing 30 pounds, I’m down to a D cup. It was kind of exciting for me to shop for bras again! I can buy pretty ones!

Is any of this offending you? Well, then why in the world are you still reading? I told you to stop! Didn’t I tell you to stop?

Okay…back to The Big Squeeze.

The machine that takes these important pictures is massive. There are pedals on the floor on each side so the technician can adjust the plates and angles with just a little tap of her foot. As I stood where the technician told me to stand and leaned in just like she told me to lean…she ‘stretched’ me across the plate. (Small-breasted women can stop reading now because you will NOT understand what I’m about to describe.) The technician stretched my breast across the plate and then stepped on the floor pedal that lowers the other plate onto the top of my breast. That plate, in turn, flattens my D-cup endowment to the depth of a Cracker Barrel biscuit. Granted, it looks like a biscuit as big around as a dinner plate…but I think I’m pretty close with the depth. Please don’t let this scare you out of getting a mammogram. My description could be better, I’m sure…but I am trying to help you picture this whole scenario and I’m always happy to use food comparisons.

One breast down (so to speak) and one to go: I stand again and lean again…just like I’m told. There’s another giant Cracker Barrel biscuit stretching out before my eyes, but this time the tech says something like “oh dear!” And my biscuit is getting flatter! Suddenly she releases the plates by hand and said, “Mrs. Green, your foot is on the pedal.” It was ME flattening out that giant biscuit!

I had moved my leg/foot to the side because my right knee hurts most of the time and after all, I was standing in an awkward position. Moving my foot allowed me to stand more comfortably. The problem was I moved my foot over to the little pedal on the floor and I didn’t feel it! I can tell you that I certainly felt the effects of that pedal before the technician released the plates!!!

Are you still reading? You okay with all this personal stuff I’ve shared?

I’m glad you kept reading. I hope your reading of this blog entry will encourage you to take care of your breasts. Check them regularly and have regular mammograms, according to your doctor’s recommendation.

And, while the technician is placing your ‘ta-tas’ on the plate…it might not seem important, but be careful where you place your feet!

Always remember that if you have a pulse, you have a purpose…so make your life count!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Predictable Creatures of Habit

This is a redundant title, but considering I went off on Geraldo Rivera for his redundancy in my last blog posting, I’ll claim ‘creative license’ and forget it.

Do you have little habits…or quirks, if you will?

I do. I will not take your time listing my bad habits. Beside the fact that there are too many for just one blog posting…a lot of my bad habits are visible for all to see. One example is bad eating habits. One look at my shape gives that one away. Clue Phone, Beth…it’s for you! Some are good habits such as making the bed as soon as I get out of it. I do that even before I go to the little room to relieve the pressure that has been building in my bladder since the night before when I killed off a 16.9 oz. bottle of water. I call that my physical alarm clock, but for blogging purposes, we will call it ‘going to the potty’ first thing out of the chute! And trust me when I tell you I can make a bed in RECORD time!

If I make my bed right away, two things are accomplished:
1. The room looks so much nicer with our bed properly covered and filled with the odd number of pillows – seven – that I anal-retentively place there every day. (I have this compulsion to put an odd number of pillows on the bed, an odd number of decorative items on our mantle, tables, etc.)
2. With the bed made, I won’t be tempted to prop myself up in it again just to read the paper and chance falling asleep because I’m so comfy!

They say (whoever ‘they’ are) that if you will do something 21 days in a row, you can form a habit. Maybe that is why I’ve had such a bad habit of eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Mini’s! I’ll soon need to join RPBMA (Reese’s Peanut Butter Minis Anonymous) to help me stop that habit after the summer I’ve spent traveling! I’m almost certain I’ve had them 21 days in a row!

But I digress, which is something I seem to do here on a regular basis.

My husband is a ‘creature of habit.’ When we eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Sazon, he orders Diet Coke and a #6…or “numero seis” as he loves to pronounce it to the server (who might not be impressed that Joe can speak two words in Spanish – but I am). When he eats Chik-Fil-A (his favorite) he orders a Diet Coke, Waffle Fries and a Chicken Sandwich. (I would impress you with knowing the combo number, but I don’t eat there with him enough to become familiar with it.) When he isn’t dieting, he orders a Brownie to finish off the combo. Cracker Barrel: the Wholesome Morning Sampler with what else?!? A Diet Coke!

Then there is the whole shopping-for-shoes thing. My sweetheart will go into the Rockport Outlet Store in Pigeon Forge, search the L O N G E S T time for the perfect pair of shoes, pay for them, bring them home, leave them in the shopping bag for a several days, take them out of the bag and set the box down with the shoes still in it (for another few days), pull them out of the box and walk around a bit on the carpet…put them away and then wait another week before deciding whether to return them for another pair. Then the whole process starts again. Comfort is important and something my husband takes quite seriously!

As you see, my husband is a creature of habit. Or maybe I should say he is predictable but only with certain things. If you want to know a real creature of habit, you should meet our toy poodle, Dobie. This creature is like a little old man with his routine. Do not mess with his routine.

Dobie sleeps in a crate. He loves to be next to us while we’re sitting, but doesn’t particularly enjoy sleeping with us. He might start out there, but will end up in his crate before the night is over. A dog that puts himself to bed is an okay pet for me! (Why couldn’t my kid do that?!?) I do like it in the winter though, when he enjoys the cuddly comfort of the quilt and his female human. Of course he only gets to enjoy it until I have to go to the bathroom on those cold mornings because the bed gets made!

First thing in the morning when Joe opens the front door, Dobie eagerly makes his way outside while his male human gets the newspaper out of the box at the end of the driveway. He only stops running long enough to do the necessary ‘outside work.’ If the neighbors’ girls are in their yard ready to get in their car for school, he makes a beeline over to them, runs around them once as a greeting, then comes back to our yard. If he only has to do his first job, he wastes no time then heads to our front door to wait on his human. If he has to do the second job, he starts doing circle eights in the yard…making them smaller and smaller until he hits just the right spot to leave his special fertilizer. Inside the house again, he curls up on his blanket and pillow which is always on the couch…watches Joe finish breakfast in the kitchen…then waits until he is at the very same spot in the dining room before jumping off the couch and to our bedroom (where he knows the male human will pick him up and put him in the bed with the female human).

At night, he has another routine. At 11:00, whether we are ready for bed or not, he expects a quick run outside. He will either sit at the front door and stare at us until we ‘feel’ it, or he will start jumping around on our shoulders and chests – back and forth – wanting one of us to finally say those four magic words: “Want to go out?” When he is back in the house he usually goes straight to his crate, waits for us to hand him a treat and close his door.

At first it really bugged my hubby that a dog had him “…figured out.” Now Joe takes pride in how smart our little guy is. But if I could get Dobie to talk to me, it’s a good bet that he’d tell me how proud it makes him to have us on a good schedule!

Always remember that if you have a pulse, you have a purpose…so make your life count!