I enjoyed my first mammogram about two years ago. I had never experienced such an odd, awkward, sadistic and outdated medical procedure in my life. But since I became a woman of a certain age, it was time to partake. If only I could partake daily.
It’s always weird to undress and put on one of those fancy patterned hospital gowns. This one opened in the front. As I entered the XRAY room, the nurse began handling my small boobies in a way I found comical though offensive. She acted as though they were separate from me though they did not detach. She yanked and pulled, mashing them between the metal and plastic plates, leaving the room and taking the XRAY. She did this several times, at several angles, while I stifled giggles and inappropriate comments. ‘So this is a mammogram?’ I thought. How terrible.
I waited in a room with a quiet woman who had the same running shoes as me. If she had been wrangled and pressed as I had, she wasn’t letting on or even making eye contact. Maybe the process shamed her. I wanted so badly to joke! I busted at my seams with lame one liners but she wasn’t receptive. The only thing we shared was our taste in shoes, not a need to expound about this medieval lab procedure!
Three or four weeks later I received a report that my results were inconclusive as I have dense breast tissue. Further testing was recommended. They meant further pulling, yanking, pressing, pushing, probing and handling. I couldn’t believe such a miserable yet seemingly thorough procedure could turn up inconclusive results! It’s so advanced and enjoyable! 🙁 Yet I was told only how stupid my breasts are! ” Dumb Breasts!! Tell me your story!!”
Two years later my chiropractor held a meeting on thermography with the technician presenting her information. Thermography is the use of infrared cameras to read heat patterns in the body. It’s not WOO-WOO from the fields of dandelions, it’s an actual physiological test. The technology allows for early detection of many infections or irritations, not just breast cancer. Since early detection is a key weapon against cancer of any type, I was curious about thermography since mammography failed me.
Some insurance covers thermography but I decided I had to do the test regardless. I’m overdue for my mammogram but see no point in going through something so miserable a second time to yield inconclusive results. I can shove my boobies between two cinder blocks if I need my fix. I set the $195 aside and scheduled my thermography breast exam with Spectrum Thermography, a mobile unit. The test was done in 10 minutes and I saw the images immediately. I did have to remove my shirt but there was no handling or stretching; no pressing or odd angles. In fact, no one touched me at all. I only had to hold my arms up while the images were recorded. The tech didn’t have to leave the area for her own health. What a concept.
There is some controversy around thermography and I won’t get into the opposing viewpoints. I don’t think one procedure nullifies another. If my thermography exam turns up something questionable, I assume a mammogram will follow. But I just can’t see exposing myself yearly to so much radiation and yanking and mashing when my dense breasts refuse to tell the story of their health. I think thermography is a good alternative for some of us even if our doctors dislike the procedure. Just as a side note, some students from the University of Oregon (this could be the wrong school – my dense breasts told me) are conducting a study to determine WHY doctors dislike thermography so much. I can’t wait to read the results!
Happy scanning and stay healthy, ladies!