So I’ve finally reached the starting line of a (allegedly) great blogging adventure. It’s taken me ages to get here, but if you write for a living then why would you ever want to spend your spare time writing some more?
On-line writing about the outdoors
According to my Running Potter Blogging Pal Rachel: “It’s about time you got my act together.” And after a prompt from her latest posting to write about my boobs I thought, well if ever there was a good place to start then it was with my “less than ample bosom”. If nothing else, it’ll give readers a laugh!
So this is the beginning. Mammograms (report by Fiona Indoors wearing Outdoor clothes).
I had no idea what the mammo machine would look like. I know it’s aim is to take X-ray pics of your bosoms. I know, from friends, that it would flatten my breasts in preparation for the piccies. But, for some reason, I imagined I’d be lying prostrate on a cold hospital bed (possibly squashed down so flat that I’d wouldn’t be able to breath. I’m a drama queen!) as the X-rays were taken from above.
So I was rather intrigued to find myself standing face-to-face with a strange pink and grey (colours presumably chosen to give the machine a fluffy, girlie look) machine. I saw a ledge at breast height, I saw a clamp above that and then I suddenly felt the warm hands of the doctor/nurse (she never said) holding on to my right boob.
She had my whole boob in her one hand (not difficult, I imagined my husband saying) and then she proceeded to sort of stretch and eek it forwards, encouraging it towards the ledge where I presumed it was suppose to rest. But there ain’t much to my A-cup-on -a-good-day breasts so all I could think to do was push the front of my body up tight to the machine in the hope that the said breast would stay put.
Continuing to hang on to my breast (clearly afraid that it would plop back off again like a fried egg on the edge of a frying pan if she didn’t) the nurse/doctor then pulled a lever, which brought a clamp-style gadget down on to the top of my bosom. Think Breville toastie machine and you’ll be close to the image. Except instead of a nice cheese and tomato filling, the mammo toastie machine was obviously planning on serving up a “today’s special” of Fi’s boobie toastie.
Although friends had told me that their experiences in the clutches of the mammo machine were agonising I only experienced a little pain from as the skin around my boob was pulled taut. I wondered if this was because their more ample bust required more significant squishing to get them flat enough for an X-ray photo. But not according to the nurse/doctor, who told me it depends on the shape of your rib cage.
I wasn’t really sure what she meant but since I was standing topless, wearing only socks, clippity, cloppity bike shoes and an unflattering pair of lycra cycle shorts (I cycled to Glasgow’s Western Infirmary) with my right tit clamped tight and my mouth pressed up again the cool apparatus I didn’t feel inclined to chat this through.
Then it was the turn of my left boob, before the attention was returned to my right boob for another pic, this time with my arm stretch awkwardly up and round. The final clamping proved to be the sorest (not sure why) but as each X-ray takes only a few minutes it was over before I could even start to thinking about crying.
A little shell-shocked after the somewhat sobering experience I returned to a cubicle to re-dress and then awaited news of what the great mammo machine had revealed. Nothing, thank goodness.
Although I’d been pretty sure that the lumpy bits I feel at the side of my breasts around the time of the month were, as my GP had indicated, simply annoying cysts, until you are given the all clear you always have a few nagging doubts.
Apparently I could reduce the cysty lumps simply by drinking less caffeine. Or not. But mostly these extra (harmless) lumpy bits are to do with getting older. Changes in hormones (that also bring the delight of more frequent and heavier periods) can also do annoying things to your boobs.
It wasn’t until later in the day, during a fabulous night hill run (more of this another time) with Rachel and a couple of guys that the mammogram experience fully sunk in. While I joked with them about the comical side of the breast-clamping machine in another part of my brian I suddenly realised how fortunate I was to walk away with an all-clear.
For many other women in the hospital unit on that day, the sobering visit to the big mammo machine would have also ended with the life-shattering news that the X-ray had revealed a lump; a potentially fatal lump.
Having your boobs turned into a toastie sandwich didn’t seem quite so humilating afterall.