Advice for a 1st time Mammogrammer

One of the perks of turning 40 is getting a mammogram. I say perk because I’m lying to you. I recently had my first mammogram and I feel it is my duty to tell you two things. Because before going to get my first exam, I’d only heard women reference the uncomfortableness of having your breast squished between two bits of machinery. That’s it. No one clued me in on what to wear to my appointment and as a person who likes to show up as prepared as possible it would have been super helpful.

Listen to me now, hear me later: A) You should wear pants or leggings to your appointment.

I was brought back to a changing area with dressing rooms and lockers. She handed me a gown and directed me to a room, looking at my bare legs, boots, and dress saying, “You can remove everything but your shoes, bra and underwear I guess.” I disrobed and donned the gown, leaving on my shoes which created quite a fashion statement. I secured my stuff in a locker and headed to the back waiting area where women sat reading magazines, waiting their turn to get their boobs squished examined. I sat down and immediately noticed that every other woman was either wearing pants or leggings under their gowns. OH! So by wearing a dress without leggings to my first mammogram appointment I had completely outed myself as a newbie. Or an exhibitionist. Ooops. I sat, feeling their eyes scan my bare legs, as I tried to read up on the latest celebrity gossip.

Sitting among the clothed-legged ladies wasn’t the biggest embarrassment of the appointment though. Because when they called my name and took me into the exam room, I realized that I would be standing for the entirety of the appointment in boots and underwear with a robe off one shoulder like some kind of sick stripper.

Important to also note: B) If you’re going to go bare-legged, at least have the decency to wear cute underwear.

Luck for me, my radiology tech was a smooth operator probably used to such rookie mistakes made by patients. And while the exam itself is uncomfortable, it wasn’t terrible. All those appointments with my gynecologist examining my cervix made the boob smooshing a relative breeze. I’ll take the boob machine over the stirrups any day. The exam basically consists of the tech taking your breast and sort of (wo)man-handle it into place on a cold, flat piece of machinery and then positioning your arm so they can clamp down the top of the machine onto your breast, making a boob pancake.

Side note: I did not want to eat pancakes after this experience.

It’s relatively quick and soon, you and your boobs are getting changed out of your robe and you’re off to enjoy the rest of your day where hopefully your boobs will get a rest from being handled. Unless you like that sort of thing and have sexy plans for the evening.

If you haven’t had a mammogram and you’re in your 40’s or have a family history of breast cancer: GET YOURSELF AN APPOINTMENT. Early detection is key and you know how I feel about early detection. And wear some pants to your appointment!

**My mammogram results came back clear, thankfully, because my cervix is problematic enough. I don’t also need boob problems.**

11 thoughts on “Advice for a 1st time Mammogrammer

  1. I can’t believe they make you sit in a waiting full of half-nekkid women, waiting for a machine to open up. I’d drop through the floor if I had to do that! Good news on the results!

  2. Oh my god you kill me. I was laughing out loud through this – you are such a crack up. And I love that you were wearing boots. That just makes the story. Thank you for the heads-up. I have to get my first mammogram soon (the referral slip has been sitting on my desk for 6 weeks now…) because my mom had “a touch” of breast cancer earlier this year. Very glad to know I should wear pants. šŸ™‚ I think Nilsa and I should each write a post about our experiences and link back to your blog!

  3. Due to some suspiciousness, I had my first mammogram at 26. All I remember thinking was “wow, I had no idea a boob could get that flat.” But I’m glad I had it when I did because it is really nothing to dread. I agree, stirrups are so much worse.
    Good for you for being proactive and encouraging others to be!

  4. Thank you for the cold (heh), hard facts, Siz! Although I have no bc history in my family, my ob/gyn likes to remind me every year how close I am getting to 40 and commences the countdown to mammogram time.
    And I’m with you–I’ve had enough bizarre procedures in my life that this doesn’t sound too bad.

  5. I think that the painfulness of the smooshing can vary, depending on the size of one’s breasts. After I had one about 13 years ago (after having a lumpectomy), I had bright red lines on my upper chest for hours afterwards. I would also recommend against wearing a low-cut shirt, because all of my co-workers wondered what was up with my chest when I returned to work…

  6. My mammogram was super simple and no boob squishing at all. I just plopped my boob up on the platform and they took digital photos of both of them and I was done. The only thing I had to take off was my bra.

  7. Hahaha! I loved this post so very much. šŸ™‚ I’m going to remember it this Wednesday when I go in for mine so I can keep a smile on my face.

  8. I’ve been contemplating this very thing 1) because of my diagnosis and 2) I’m adopted and don’t know my family history. I don’t think insurance covers mammos before 40 in normal circumstances, but maybe if my oncologist refers me???

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