I’m still shaking and I’m still hurting because although the pretty young radiologist was very nice and chatty, she pushed and pulled me about like some kind of old rag doll, squashing me between two plastic plates, telling me not to breathe, then lowering the machine just a fraction more before she left me wincing in pain. Then she did it all over again on the other side. Next she forced me into a different position in what could certainly have been used as an instrument of torture.
But that wasn’t the worst part. As she left the room she informed me that another doctor would come and discuss the mammogram with me in a few minutes and if she saw anything untoward they would do further investigations. I didn’t have time to even put my glasses back on before the door opened again and I was told I would need a scan immediately because she could see something strange.
I’m very good at fooling myself that everything will always be alright but here I was lying on the hard, black table, with my hands in the air and I realised that I might be shot within the next few seconds. Diagnostically shot of course. My brain was doing somersaults, my stomache leaping up into my throat, my heart beating faster than ever before and my eyes were filling up with the tears that would inevitably spill out in gushes as soon as she spoke. But she didn’t speak. She just kept pushing and pulling, dragging the nozzle thing back and forth, back and forth, over and over.
‘Bloody hell, just tell me!´I almost screamed at her. Nothing, push, nothing, drag.
After about ten years she finally said ‘It’s just a little cyst, nothing to worry about’.
I held it together until I stepped outside then let the dammed-up tears rush quickly down my cheeks.
But I was crying with relief. What if, what if, what if she had in fact found some kind of tumour, some sign of cancerous cells? What would I have said, what would I have done, what would I have become?
I have friends who have had breast cancer, I have acquaintances who have had breast cancer. I never really understood the reality of it until today. And I can only apologise for not understanding better.
That was one scary mammo but I will be going back for more, as often as necessary. And I will examine myself more regularly, feeling for anything unusual, anything that needs to be checked out.
I promise, I swear, I cross my shaking heart.