Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mammo Gram

Some of you have are kind enough to know what is going on in my life and actually follow up on it.  Thank you, ladies.  It's a pleasure to know you.  As you have asked, I'd like to let you know that I did have my umpteenth mammogram in May.  The hospital mailed me the Mammo Gram a couple of weeks back.  Only I haven't really felt like talking about it much. 

Now, I don't really like the Mammo Gram.  It has delivered unwanted, unexpected news more than once.  The first time it told me that I had abnormal results before my doctor could get in touch with me.  That wasn't a fun day.  Once it told me I had a BIRAD score.  Last time it informed me that my BIRAD score had increased.  So, when I saw the Mammo Gram in the mail, I got a little nauseous.  I took it into Mr. Incredible's office and sat down in one of the comfy chairs.  Pulling my feet up into the chair and tucking them underneath me, I showed him the envelope.  He asked if I was okay.  I nodded.  I quietly and slowly ripped open the envelope and fished out the dreaded letter.  Always folded in tri-fold, I right it so that the letterhead will face me when I open the first fold.

Dear [Reckless],

Your recent mammogram was normal/benign. Blah. Blah. Blah. WHO CARES what the rest of the letter said.  Normal and benign.  A HUGE relief, blessing, praise.

Whew!!!!  I've been waiting two years for a letter like this one.

But, then, I find myself saying, "Whoa."  Am I to believe that digital radiology technology has advanced so far in the past six months that I can go from needing to visit a breast surgeon again to not even having a BIRAD score?  I begin to wonder if the letter is wrong or the images were of the wrong section of my breast.  Maybe they have finally figured out what "normal" is for me.  I mean I do want to hear "normal."  I do want to save $$$ by returning to a normal schedule of once a year boulder crushing appointments.  Mainly, I want to quit focusing on these lobes of lumpy flesh that hang in front of my chest muscles.       

Before I get any further, let me say that my relationship with "the twins" (not identical, btw) has always been your standard love-hate.  I vividly remember their entrance into my world.  I discovered that they were growing when one of them collided with the banister at my best friend's home.  Pain is not an accurate description.  Having a breast bud meet wood is actually a fifteen on a pain scale of one to ten.  It makes childbirth look like a cakewalk.  I just got a chill thinking about how much it hurt, and it is THIRTY YEARS LATER.  Wow.  So, I rubbed the newly injured area as one might rub any bumped area on the body.  My fingers are halted by a lump that I knew had not been there a short time ago.  Being the hypochondriac that I am, I IMMEDIATELY jump to the conclusion that I have breast cancer at the ripe old age of ten.  If the pain wasn't enough to kill me, the cancer surely would. 

Breasts were just a little too much drama as far as I was concerned.   And then they grew a little and the training bras were replaced with actual brassieres with underwires and four hooks.  A cute little boy named Jeff began teasing me that I was a pirate's dream and laughed hysterically when he told his friends the punchline: a sunken treasure.  Or the other one he liked was that I was a carpenter's dream--flat as a board.  Only, I wasn't flat.  I was really the only girl in the fifth grade who had anything that needed to be "trained,"  so I told him he was an idiot.  And inside I got pretty upset because I was shy and these bra occupants were attracting unwanted attention.  And they still attract a good bit of male attention in the bathing suit or in a sweater buttoned up to my nose.  They just do.  I'm pretty well used to it now, but every now and again, it still catches me offguard. 

I guess I should have known way back in elementary school that these things were gonna cause a ruckus.  They make my shirts gape open.  They flop up and down when I run (so I rarely run... yeah, that's my excuse...).  Some days I think I would like it better if they just got lopped off.  Then, I remember that I fed each of my baby darlins with them while dreaming about who they would grow up to be and who they would marry and thinking about how much I loved the tiny little person squirming in my arms.  I cried tears of joy and thankfulness with those babies at my breasts and praised God for letting me have not one, not two, but three unique opportunities to be face-to-face, skin-to-skin, belly-to-belly with these people who once grew inside me.  I know breastfeeding is not for everyone, but I loved it.  Miss Proper nursed until she was two and a half, RNR until she was eighteen months, and Bonus until he was two.  RNR got cut off early because she kept biting me; that gets old real quick.

And then, there's that part with my husband and how he thinks they are a pretty interesting part of me that he would sorely miss. With that, there's the whole deal of how they make me feel feminine.

So, I go to see my specialist on Thursday, and she will tell me what she thinks of the latest pictures of my ducts and calcifications and masses.  And hopefully the "Whoa" can be a full "Whew."


  1. I'm glad you've given an update about this. After knowing a few too many young women who have had to deal with the big C, I just don't want anyone else to have to. Hoping your Whoa can become a Whew!

  2. That was probably THE best story I've ever read about The Girls. You do, my dear, have a great way with words. ; )