Thursday, December 1, 2011

If They Were Called Menograms

If I could do a back flip, I would. Monday I had a breast biopsy. It turned out negative, which is a really strange way to say positive. It is not cancer. Why the biopsy? It seems that certain calcifications were grouped in a formation that looked suspicious. What kind of formation, I don't know. A pink ribbon, a sad face? This little group of possible evilness needed to be investigated. With a punch needle. While I was squished.

There is no way a woman invented the mammogram machine. Let me try to explain this so a man can understand our pain.

Let us say, for fun, that this had all happened to a guy, a guy named Stanley. Stanley gets his card in the mail and it is time for his MENOGRAM. He puts it off and puts it off, knowing how uncomfortable they can be. But he finally decides it is time, and goes in for his appointment. He undresses from the waist down, puts on his blue gown and waits in the little rooms with all the other half dressed men, nervously smiling, trying to cheer the others up.

It's Stanley's turn. Turn for torture. He goes in to the Squishing Room, greeted by a large machine that is about to send bits of radiation into his beloved body parts. OK Stan the Man, turn this way, chin up, arm down, bend your back, grab this bar, slouch a little - good - and here come the machine down with an unknown amount of pressure, smashing poor Stan to kingdom come. OK, now hold still, don't move a muscle, the tech is going behind the wall of protection while he gets zapped with cancer causing rays. To look for cancer. Cancer causing rays. Great, now let's get five more shots with different variations of the torture machine.

A few weeks go by, enough to forget the agony. Then the call comes. Stanley must come back. There are some microscopic little bits naked to the human eye, which he needs to get naked again for some human eyes to check out. Come on in Mr. S, it's a different machine this time. Climb up on this table. Put your, umm, beloved goods into this hole in the table and we'll get started. Wow, that is a really big hole he thinks (I thought). Way bigger than they need for this patient. So now, not only is Stanley thinking about cancer, he is wondering why there is so much extra room in the hole in the table.

That worry is soon forgotten, because under this special table is another squishing device! Now the squishing will be continuous for about 45 minutes. Now just lie still Stanley, don't move, as you are being squished, we're going to raise up the table so you feel like a car at the lube shop. This might hurt a bit as we "numb the area." Might hurt a bit was a lie. As his knuckles become one with the table, he begins to wish he never made that appointment for the Menogram. More radiation, while the techs all scurry for cover, the part that is sticking through the large hole is getting more cancer causing rays. And to stop the bleeding, this nice strong tech is going to push on the most tender area for, hmm, shall we say FOREVER? Just the way we all want to spend our Monday morning.
OK, Stan, you're all done, except now we go back to the Menogram room, we need to make sure the titanium ball we placed in your, uh, area, is showing up. You see, our buddy has one already on the other side from a similar biopsy, so hey, now he has a matching set of titanium balls in his bod. We're all done, stick this ice in your drawers, go home and take it easy, no housework, no lifting, no showers for 3 days. Just go home and wait for the call to see if you are OK.

And it is, everything is OK. AGAIN. This is getting really old. I have been poked and prodded and drained and zapped and biopsied and mammogrammed and it is always nothing. NOTHING. But the stress is always there. The only good thing about this whole 20 years or so ordeal of mine was getting to meet Dr. Ernie Bodai. He is the Breast Guy, the inventor of the breast cancer stamp. He is one dedicated man. And do you know what he said about me? The doctor who has examined thousands of breasts? He said mine rock. Well, actually, the quote was "They are as hard as rocks" as in dense and impossible to tell the good from the bad from the ugly.  But, today rocks because I don't have cancer. I'm celebrating by continuing to eat well and by putting a fire under my exercise routine. Jingle Bells, Titanium Balls, the report was negative - which is positive!