Breast Cancer Awareness Month: My Mammogram and Me

As I sit here in my semi-quiet house freezing my ass off with a furnace that likes to play “No Heat Today” games, I recall my thoughts and feelings from February.

February 6th, 2011 to be precise; and getting the call that my 33-year-old sister is in the hospital with Stage IV Breast Cancer. Fast forward two days to February 8th, 2011 and another phone call, “Your sister is dead.” Those moments were the most horrific moments of my life… that is until October 8th, 2011 when I spotted a massive lump in my breast. The pain was unimaginable; my paranoia was out of control… all I wanted was the pain to go away and for the lump to recede. All I wanted was a mammogram/ultrasound to tell me the lump was not cancerous. I wanted an answer immediately; that is what Emergency Rooms are for, aren’t they?

It was October 9th before I actually saw a doctor, those of you by my side through this whole ordeal you remember that from my earlier post, Breast Cancer Awareness Month: There’s a Lump in my Breast. I spent all day in a hospital bed before actually seeing a breast specialist on the 10th. Starving and thirsty from fasting, just in case there was to be a surgery, paranoid and restless from waiting to be seen, tired, cranky, in pain and tears… It was a day like no other as it was also the day that would have been my grandmother’s 75th birthday if Stomach/Liver Cancer had not taken her from our family 10 years ago. Just another typical day in the life of an atypical girl. 

Luckily, I was released and sent home with antibiotics for the “we think it’s an” infection that I was diagnosed with. My inner cynical bitch cried; “Bullshit! If it’s just an infection where the f@ck is the pus?” Don’t mind her she has driven doctors and nurses to an early grave for a good part of her miserable adult life.

I was released the same day I saw a breast specialist; still don’t know why she is special when all she did was grope the twins but, hey it’s whatever at this point. I went into hiding for over a week, because that is what I do when I am stressed. I make up bullshit reasons about why I can’t come to the door, the phone, the laptop, or my senses and well most of you believe it so thank you all for that. LOL Honestly, I was tired for a good part of the week; any time I am forced to take a prescription, my brain fights back by telling my body to hibernate. It’s perfectly normal…for me!

I managed to scrape my weak body out of bed on Tuesday for a Mammogram at the breast specialist’s office. And after two hours of erect nipples in a cold office building in nothing more than a hospital gown, I am still wondering why she is so special. Let me start off by saying my husband did his part by taking me to the appointment and sitting there patiently waiting for me to be done. I also have to give him credit for not being a man and going all ape-shit over a chick groping my twins err I mean, his twins. Because Lord knows one comment about that and I would have pulled out a tire iron and dumped his bloody ass in the Mississippi faster than you can spell it.

NOTE: I, Jenni being of somewhat sound mind and not quite sound but close body, swear that I was framed if by some cruel joke of Zeus that my husband, Luis ends up in the Mississippi River. In the immortal words of Jake Blues played by John Belushi in Blues Brothers…“Honest… I ran out of gas. I… I had a flat tire. I didn’t have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out-of-town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts! IT WASN’T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!”

Anyway, I digress. So, at the doctor’s office I waited for my mammogram where they take X-Rayesque pictures of your boobs with a machine that is 1- cold as a meat locker at the North Pole 2- as comfortable as wringing out your hand in an old-fashioned wringer washer (which I have done by the way), and 3- not intended for any woman with a cup size over C. (Which I have been over since 4th grade) If I ever doubted that my gargantuan bust-line needed a reduction, watching the poor nurse juggle my boob with two hands reminded me that I am indeed due for a reduction STAT! If you have never had a mammogram consider yourself lucky and if you have and you thought it was no biggie… please grow bigger boobs and a painful firm lump before getting your next one, thank you.

The nurse took two standard pictures, one the straight forward kind and the second with the machine angled which I imagine with a woman with normal sized breasts is supposed to catch more of a side view. They do this on both breasts for a total of 4 pictures. It is uncomfortable, it is cold, and it is ridiculously hilarious/embarrassing to watch a nurse juggle a boob that is bigger than her whole entire head. I was asked to take a seat while the radiologist checked my “close-ups.” When the nurse came back she asked me to step up to the machine again because well, my boobs are special and need extra pictures. *Wink wink* After the last juggling session, she told me to sit in the waiting room and wait to get another ultrasound done. By this time, more than an hour had passed and another woman was waiting for her turn at the Boob Camera. By the way, I was the youngest woman in the doctor’s office and in the mammogram waiting room. That alone f@cks with your head!

“Ok Jennifer, we are ready for you.” The woman beside me stands up as I go to stand up. Oh flippin great wouldn’t you know it…we’re both Jennifer’s. Stupid 60’s and 70’s. The nurse apologized to me as I told her that I was there waiting on an ultrasound, she assured me that this didn’t usually happen because well seriously what are the chances that two women in the breast lab would be blessed with the same exact first name? As much as I wanted to tell her, “I am more important, bow down to me now peasant!” my sense of humor was missing in action, because I was freaking out about the length of time I had already spent in the clinic.

Before long I was back in the doctor’s office with my husband, awaiting the 5 words that could make or break my life! Fortunately for me my doctor doesn’t like 5 word sentences and told me I’m all clear. I was instructed to come back in 6 months or sooner depending on the breast lump, which they still believe to be an infection…I however, have come to know it as the illegal alien. Because of my family history with cancers I have to get yearly mammograms now, oh yippie how I look forward to the smashing and juggling of my bresteses!!!

So there you have it folks… I am not afflicted with Breast Cancer. I will be around a long time to talk shit and be a general pain in the ass. Yea me! I once again want to thank all of you who sent me prayers, thoughts, and well wishes during my schizophrenic meltdown into the abyss of paranoia and hypochondria. To those of you who wish to offer me a donation for this extremely comedic post just give me the word; I am a paypal account away. *Wink*

Now, it is your turn… self-examine, mammogram ‘em, don’t be a disappointment just make an appointment and always take care of those boobies!

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Oh and don’t forget to get involved and support Breast Cancer Awareness, preferably all year not just this month.

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14 thoughts on “Breast Cancer Awareness Month: My Mammogram and Me

  1. Franca Reale says:

    Your post so hits home its a very emotional time for me at the moment, all I can say is that no matter what you are dealt with if you have the love and support of your WHOLE family you can toan extent pull through , you are indeed special 🙂 Thank you for sharing …

  2. Sheilagh Lee says:

    I am so sorry you had to go through all that cancer sucks and worry that you might have it and waiting for the results is the worst. I hope the “infection; gets better and you feel more comfortable again.

  3. Jessica Brant says:

    Jenni,

    I’m so relieved to find out that you are free and clear of cancer. It totally sucks you were scared half to death and had to go through all that shit.
    I love the way you can look back and make fun of this traumatic experience. Glad to have you back.
    Xoxo
    Jess

  4. sulekha says:

    Jenni, congratulations for being cancer-free. I know the agony and ecstasy of tests and results of a biopsy. Been there, done that 🙂 I have a multi-nodular growth in my thyroid gland and get check-ups done every 6 months, I know the drill and the fear and also the relief at the end of the ordeal. Love your humorous take on such a sensitive topic, you are a great writer my friend.
    I have written a poem on Cancer and will be posting it soon. Take care

  5. Martha Orlando says:

    Jen, in this post, your courage and humor shines through once again! Taking a serious subject and transforming it into such personal and intimate communication isn’t easy. But, the good news is, you did it!

    No, mammograms stink, no matter what the proportion of breast we have. God didn’t give me much and those poor nurses really have to work it to give me a reason for having it in the first place! But, I do it faithfully, every year.

    We will put up with anything that will save lives in the long run. I did go through a breast biopsy a few years back, but everything has been clear since then.and I am so thankful. There still may be some question as to cervical, though, and will see the doctor in February to make sure . . .

    You are doing the right thing, considering your sister’s history, to keep up with regular exams. This is what she would want you to do; this is what is right and sensible and rational.

    You are cancer-free, and I rejoice in this, Jen!

    Blessings!

  6. Mary Hudak-Colllins says:

    Jenni, I am so glad to hear that you have been ‘cleared’. I have kept you in my prayers 🙂
    On another note, just have to say that I love your writing style! Even with such a serious content, you had me in stitches with your humor!

  7. Sameera says:

    I kept scrolling down hoping it was some infection. Yay it was! 😛

    I was about sixteen when I had gone for a check. There was tiny lump which I formed after getting hit by a basket ball inappropriately. The doctor she had laughed on my face.. Well, that was kinda funny, how paranoid I was.. I was over exposed to breast cancer awareness. 🙂

    Wishing you a speedy recovery. Good day!

  8. rimly says:

    Thank god it is just an infection Jenni. But I can imagine what you went through waiting for the result. I am yet to get a mammogram done but just last month after years of procrastination I got an ultra sound done of my breasts and a pap smear. All clear! Take care, my prayers are with you.

  9. jan says:

    I am so glad you got the all clear. I can’t imagine hoe freaked out you all must have been. You have such a strong sense of humor and such strength in general. <3<3<3

  10. Chris says:

    Some days everything in life just plain sucks. You’ve sure been through hell and back. You’re a survivor with a wicked sense of humour. I’m sure it helps with those tough days. I survived a melanoma, went through similar anxious moments and now I spend every day of my life looking for damn spots and I am the freckliest person on the planet, tell me that’s not a challenge! My melanoma was two freckles not a mole, go figure. I still think the best medicine is laughing and a big smile.

Stand upright, speak thy thoughts, declare The truth thou hast, that all may share; Be bold, proclaim it everywhere: They only live who dare. -Voltaire

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