Friday, October 22, 2010

Save Dem Ta-tas!

October is, of course, Breast Cancer Awareness month, so it was high time for me to knuckle down and haul myself and my boobs over to the Women's Center at Mills-Peninsula Hospital in San Mateo to get the girls x-rayed. I have been shamefully neglectful about getting mammograms these past few years--not good for a 48 year-old woman. So, here I am in the waiting room, wearing my uberly comfortable waffle robe, waiting my turn to get the boobs compressed in a machine I can only describe as a high-tech vise.

The last time I had a mammogram was when I turned 40, and the experience then was not unlike feeling as if the skin on my back had been pulled so taut it would tear. Apparently the technology has improved, because today's mammogram was not nearly as painful. In fact, it was pretty painless, and I had a good time joking around with the tech. She was so matter-of-fact about lifting one boob, adjusting it around, moving one arm this way or that, pulling the robe further back for a fuller view, easing some more tissue by the armpit forward to get more boob in the x-ray, and that kind of stuff. Okay, so this is probably TMI.

But really, it didn't hurt--a Pap smear is worse, and that's hardly bad. So there is no excuse other than stomp-down laziness to not have this procedure done annually, especially when she informed me that the technology has gotten so good that now the teeniest grain of cancer can be spotted way down in the tissue, well before it even approaches a lump you could actually feel. If it's caught at that point, the cancer is 100% treatable and curable, so there's no reason to not get this exam. Insurance covers it, and if you don't have insurance, there are programs that will pay for you to get the procedure for free, such as this one.

On an interesting side note, I noticed that the mammography machine had the name "Hologic" stamped on it, and it's not without some pleasure that I note that Chelle's dad is behind mammography screening. He was president and CEO of Hologic when that company first developed a computerized program for reading mammograms (in fact, that technology is now in the Smithsonian, as a point of interest). He's long since retired (though he served on the Board of Directors for some time) and Hologic is now a public company, but hey! It's nice to know that even my father-in-law is all for women's boobs being healthy. Not to mention those very handsome stock options--thanks, Jim.


Molly said...

Joyce,i hope you will now get your boobs taken care of from now on!! Glad it was a good result also!!

Joyce said...

I know, Molly! Thirty lashes with a wet noodle for me!

I was too busy trying to drink myself to death these past few years. I'm taking better care of myself these days, that's for sure. Now I just need to get better about regular exercise. ;-)