I had my first mammogram. I put it off because it scared me, all the smooshing, mashing, and flattening of such sensitive skin. And besides, mammograms are for old people. And suddenly I'm denying being in that age category. I had the appointment last week. It truly was not nearly the excruciating experience I was anticipating. Sophia, the tech, was sweet and explained each step to me, the rooms and plate were not the frigid temps I've heard other women complain about, and the scans themselves take about 5 seconds each once my breast was positioned just so. I've definitely had better appointments (think pedicures!) but in the end, the hype didn't live up to my painful expectations. Whew!
And then I received a call to come back for 'additional views of right breast tissue.' The caller was very careful to let me know this was not something I should spend any time worrying about, that baseline mammograms have no previous scans with which to compare, so they compare them to each other, right breast to left breast. Any issues seen in an initial scan are usually just the way the person is created, not cancer. Yesterday was my second appointment.
So I had more scans. With odd shaped paddles at odd angles at (I swear!!) higher pressure to try to get a look at the area in question. And then I sat in the dressing room waiting for the scan to be read. I was called back for a few more, this time twisting my breast (really?!?) while the plate descended to try to get a slightly different view. More waiting room, and then an ultra sound. I almost asked for an ultrasound picture of my breast for my husband because when you get an ultrasound you should really get a picture of something cute out of it, don't you think? I didn't think it was cute, but at least I could have said, "Here's a picture of my boob, show anyone you want!" The Dr. came in at the end of the ultrasound to check out my very normal but hard to penetrate breast (I always wanted a super power!) and to let me know that he was not seeing anything to be worried about, that I just have fibrous breasts, and to come back in a year.
When I got dressed and left I thought I was going to cry. I guess that despite warnings to not over react, I'd gotten myself pretty worked up. I didn't even know it until I just wanted to go home and go to bed. I hoped I could get there without crying. That emotional exhaustion is hard to navigate!
The hospital is on the side of a hill. Or Duluth is on a giant hill on which the hospital also stands. The drive home is uphill all the way. So I'm driving, turn right to continue uphill, and my van dies, power steering and brakes go out and I coast to an ungraceful stop right in an intersection, blocking two lanes of full end of the day traffic. Awesome. Hazards on so cars can stop beeping at me now please. Try and try and try to start the van, nothing. By now I've probably flooded it and drained the battery on top of whatever made the van die. So much traffic that I can't even put the van in neutral and coast back to an out of the way place.
And I'd like to take this moment to thank the woman who felt like it was necessary to pull along side of me, roll down her window, and yell, "Get off the f****ng phone!" because that was so helpful, really the best advise I've gotten in a while. And you're absolutely right, I should just leave my van in the middle of the intersection and not try to call anyone for help. Too right. Thanks!
Yeah, by then I was crying.
And a most sincere thanks to the perfect stranger who pulled over in the middle of his busy day, stopped traffic, directed me in the direction to steer while recruiting a volunteer off the street to help push my car uphill, over two curbs and off the street! I hope I can return the favor to someone someday!
And the man in the auto shop who came to see if I needed help even though I was getting towed to another auto shop, and the friends from church who saw me and stopped to see if I needed help, and the friendly tow truck driver, the other people who saw me and texted that they were praying for me, and my sweet husband who came to rescue me - thank you!
Definitely one of those day!