Mindfulness, Mammography, and Me

Living in the moment sure has its ups and downs. The news cycle not going to go there, life, work, kinder (kids), the Mrs., all present their own unique challenges and opportunities. Hell, even the weather these days is hard. But, despite it all, I am trying my best to show up with intention. I breathe and practice mindfulness, while being as present as one can be with a smart phone and a chaotic life. There is however, one time where I strongly recommend leaving your mindfulness in the dressing room. It’s when you go for your annual mammogram. After recently experiencing my yearly squash-fest, I thought it right to share. Nu?

So I’m wearing my fresh little cloth gown, open in the front for obvious next steps, and I am called into the room with the gargantuan techno-seer of all things boob. A very pleasant technician named Linda shares niceties with me as she readies her mammoth monster for action. “Come this way,” she says, as she guides me in for my first “close-up. Let’s do the left one first.” Being the liberal I am, that works quite well.

Quiet, happy place. Quiet happy place.

Now, I am not one to complain at all, but in the department of mammary glands, the women in our family must have been out to lunch (more likely folding laundry) when actual bosoms were dispensed. There are men walking around in the street with more cleavage then we have (collectively). Not that there is anything wrong with that, mind you. But being small, resembling an 13 year-old boy, makes this ordinary, yet necessary procedure rather extraordinary. Stars, fireworks, skyscrapers, and everything…

As I cautiously inch over her towards Linda, she begins to literally pull skin from my left facial cheek (I think my ear lobe was stretched in there too) to the bottom of my rib cage. Linda (whose hands must have been pre-chilled), she wants some breast to image. How can I blame her? She pulls my taut skin tighter and tighter, as she begins to electronically close the gap on the two plates of glass that are squeezing the stuffing out of me. “Don’t breathe! H-O-L-D!” As if breathing was even an option? I hear a noise, feel a real zetz (a strong blow, or punch)  of radiation pulsate through my soul and realize this would be the exact right time to not be mindful. To check out. Think funny thoughts. Go to my quiet, happy place (where is that again?).

As Linda released the confining compression case, I looked to the floor to see if a pool of blood had formed. I half expected to break a rib. “Let’s do the left angle view now.” Yup, the angle. Great. I’m on it. At this point, my head is turned in such a way that my aching neck begins to twinge. “Raise that arm up. Closer. Closer.” I had no idea ones belly button could move diagonally? Is it possible that she is also checking my thyroid? IS Linda that good? Oy vey iz mir. ( oh, woe is me.) “Don’t breathe! H-O-L-D!” I definitely felt more radiation this time. She must have seen something. That was a zetz alright! I begin to sweat. Sweating while she is forcing all of the derma on my left side into the glass crushing chamber of boob makes for one slippery slope. Is it a hot flash? Is it fear. Is it because of the radioactive blast she just unleashed to snap my picture.

“Okay. Let’s do the other side.” Linda, she says this cheerily.

Gentlemen who may be reading this, just imagine Roadrunner and the Wile E. Coyote. Roadrunner always has a handy Acme anvil that always flattens our Coyote friend. Well, take your (rhymes with klutz) …, and place them in a vise in order to understand yet another thing us women must endure.

I’ll spare you the details of the right side. You know, Lather, rinse, repeat. UGH! I feel as though I experienced as much radiation as Meryl Streep did in Silkwood. If you recall, she was zetzed pretty good. Where is that special shower and the metal scrub brush. I’m doused! I may light up like a firefly at dusk.

I head back into the dressing room and observe my ruby-red torso in the mirror. Singed, albeit tattooed by the vicious radioactive scrunch and crunch machine, I reflect on how this procedure had to be invented by a man. As I put my clothes back on, I ask Siri, and don’t you know, Raul Leborgen from Uruguay thought up this special compression technique for capturing cancer.

With my inside voice, I thank him. I open my curtain and head to the exit. A bowl of chocolate adorns the desk at check out (a woman’s touch), and I am fully assured that as my two go, we are cleared for another year. Mazel Tov (kudos and yahoo!) to me and my girls!

Women, make sure you do this! Mammograms save lives. It’s a boobemysah (old wive’s tale) that it is painful, unless of course your bra has no cups, hasn’t bought a vowel, or was burned in the sixties…

 

Yiddish Proverb:

If you are healthy, you are wealthy. Aoyb ir zent gezunt, ir zent raykh.

 

Some great folks I like to share with….