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!


  1. Good morning Beth,
    I do not think I have laughed so hard in a long time. Let me just say Ouch and Thank you!!!!
    I love you Sister!
    God bless you and make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you!

  2. 😜 someone understands!