The wonderful singer Lhasa de Sela died at the age of 37 from breast cancer. This got me thinking that it was time to book myself a mammogram. After all, caught in time, breast cancer doesn’t have to be a killer.
I had heard vague rumours about the procedure but nothing to worry about. Although perhaps that sign in the changing room that said something about using air pressure and ‘the breasts can stand it’ might have been a warning…
I took off my top and stood there in front of a gleaming white machine with see-through plates. I soon found myself hugging the machine in some kind of weird pole-dancing posture while the nurse grinded the plates against my breast bone while jamming my breast uncomfortably between the plates.
Now, as flat as a pancake is not an expression I normally associate with breasts – well, not since school anyway! As the plates squashed together mechanically so that not even a pin would fit in there, the nurse came and tightened them even further for good luck – and I had the rather disturbing experience of feeling my boobs run out onto those plates like thin crepes.
After two X-rays, I started putting my top on. “Hang on!” the nurse cried out merrily. “Two more to go!” Ah – they squash the boobs laterally first and then horizontally. “Some people take aspirins before they come!” she said. (Now you tell me!) By now my boobs were running over those plates like batter. Who knew they could get that thin – and bounce back to normal size afterwards?
Five minutes and it was all over. And to be honest, a visit to the dentist is far more painful!
So, if you are aged 40 or above, make sure you book yourself in for a mammogram. After all, it’s all about one of the most important things in your life: your health!