My First (and Second) Mammogram

One of those fun prizes you get when you turn 40 is that you get to have your very first mammogram. Yay! Just kidding, nobody actually says “yay” about a mammogram. Most likely, you envision some scary contraption squeezing your boobies into flat little pancakes while you grit your teeth and try not to punch someone.

Well, that’s what I imagined.

In reality, it was actually not that bad.

I had a 3:40 appointment and I was literally out of there by 3:55. For me, I walked back into a private changing room and stripped from the waist up. They had told me not to wear any powder, lotion or deodorant, but if I had forgotten they had wipes available to wipe yourself down. Then, you get that sassy robe to wear.

From there, I went straight into the mammogram room. The nice technician lady was super professional and I have to say that I didn’t really feel weird at all when she manhandled my breasts. Which is not typically a sentence that I would say. But really, you’re both there trying to get through this as quickly as possible… so she just grabbed a boobie, stuck it on the plastic plate of the machine and squished the lid down like she was doing a photocopy. You hold your breath for a few seconds and that’s it. They do a few different positions, but none really hurt that much. It was only three photos per side (I got the 3D xrays) and as soon as I was done, I popped my shirt back on and left.

About a week later, I received a letter in the mail saying that my x-rays “showed a finding that required further imaging evaluation.”

So, I made an appointment at another location that specialized in follow up x-rays and went by on Monday. This was a busier location, so my appointment took a bit longer. All in all, I was in and out in 90 minutes.

They started with a technician doing another mammogram, focusing on just on my right side. Then, I sat in the waiting area (a special one for the robe-wearing ladies, not the main one with dudes) for about 5 minutes while the doctor reviewed the x-rays. Then, another technician brought me into a different room to do an ultrasound of just the right side. She took a ton of photos so that the doctor could get a better look at the area in question. When she was done, I hung out in that room for about 5 more minutes. She then returned and said that everything looks fine. Apparently I have a somewhat swollen lymph node and a small cyst by it. After all their looking, they decided that everything looks okay, but they want to see me in 6 months for another ultrasound. Then, I’ll stay on schedule to get another mammogram in 1 year.

Since this was my first mammogram, it’s pretty typical to be called back in for them to check any iffy bits. They don’t have any mammograms to compare it to, so this one is my baseline that they will look at for my next appointment.

I did get a few mammogram questions from you all on my Facebook page, so I wanted to answer them for you. Keep in mind, this is only based on my limited experience with mammograms…

Does it hurt? How badly?
I wouldn’t say that it hurt, but it was just kind of uncomfortable. The first mammogram was basically no big deal and very little discomfort at all. However, for the second mammogram the technician was trying to get a better angle on my lymph node that was in that little area between your boob and armpit… so it was more uncomfortable to try and stick that bit under the plastic press area. Even then, it was only for about 5 – 8 seconds while the x-ray was taken and then the pressure was released. This morning — which is the day after the second mammogram — I certainly feel more sore.

Did you bruise?
No, I didn’t have any bruising.

Does it take long?
Each time they did the x-ray, you would hold your breath and hear a ‘tick-tick-tick’ noise while the x-ray was taken. That only took a few seconds. For the first appointment, there were 3 x-rays on each breast. For the second appointment, there were probably about 6 x-rays on just my right breast.

Did the machine pinch your nips?
No. It was more of a whole boob smush.

Do you put your boob in the machine or does the doctor?
The technician did it at both appointments. I just stood there and put my arm where she wanted it and she was in charge of boob placement. I didn’t really find this as awkward as you would think.

Okay, so if you have any other questions feel free to ask them in the comments! I know that I was kind of apprehensive going in to my first appointment, so I feel much better knowing what to expect in the future. I hope if you’ve been putting off a mammogram you go ahead and make the appointment… it’s really not bad at all!

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7 thoughts on “My First (and Second) Mammogram”

  1. A few years ago my best friend went and got one and the technician was a girl from from grade school that we really weren’t buds with. My friend said, “I didn’t hate Darlene, but I didn’t want her handling my boobs either!!!”. LOL

    PS very nice post. Very accurate. I am 52 so I have had several. Some technicians seem to squeeze more than others. I’ve had to do the ultrasound thing too.

  2. Another story… You didn’t talk about the little metal nipple markers. Well once I forgot to take them off. I undress later while chatting with my husband after I got home from work. He’s so amused and confused, like “well, what are those??!!”. Poor thing he had no idea WTH was going on.

      1. Hmmm… They are metal, so they show up as a bright dot on the X-ray. They are some sort of a reference point. It is a little silver ball on a sticker, and so you end up with a silver ball pointing out. So they are funny looking when applied especially for the unaware like my husband. I have had them at two different hospitals in two states very far away from each other.

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