Squashed breasts

“Didn’t you take some pain killers before you came?” The radiographer asked me smugly as I winced for the second time in as many minutes. Pain killers? No one had mentioned that to me …

“Please don’t tense up – now I am going to have to do that right side again.”  I could feel her soft yet firm hands move my breast to where she wanted it – then she wrenched my shoulder back, told me to face ‘over there’ and “stay put”.  “Drop that shoulder, relax it. There. Stay like that …”

“Ouch” The words came out involuntarily …

“Just breathe normally please” this said, as she pressed on the pedal to make the two sheets of hard plastic come together further.  It was so hard not to wriggle, or to wince when every fibre of my being was screaming in agony at the pain being inflicted on such a tender part of my body.

“Now, we need to take the pictures from another angle.” She smiled, I could tell she was enjoying every minute of my discomfort. What was she, I wondered? A masochist?

Knowing that it would be over quickly if I was compliant, I told myself that this time it wouldn’t hurt so much, cos I knew what I was in for … but, my mind forgot to tell the pain receptors, or something. It still hurt, only this time I didn’t mention it – for fear of retaliation that maybe, just maybe she would want to do it another time, just for good measure.

(Sort of like that teacher years ago who continued to threaten another strapping if I cried ..)

So those of you reading this, who are over 45, will understand and know that I had my two yearly mammogram. Its not something we talk about a lot – aside from when its Breast Cancer awareness week. But we are privileged to have a health care system which provides these checks for every woman over 50, every two years. Yes, I see it as something to be endured as a sort of form of health insurance. No, they don’t catch every problem, but sure do go a long way towards it.

I guess it could be a bit like childbirth – you forget the pain inflicted until you arrive for the next one … and suddenly remember .. “oh no, I had forgotten how much this will hurt!”

It was back to work for me, but beforehand, I took a sneak peek to see if I really was as black and blue as I felt after all, I had been pummelled and prodded! I was pleasantly surprised to see that I didn’t look any different. I just felt it, and knew that I now had a couple of years to wait for that particular sort of pain to come my way again.

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