Monday, December 31, 2007

So What Am I Doing . . . Right Now?

Eating chocolate, of course.

Well, it is December 31 and by my count, I only have 8 more hours to indulge in sweets treats before I launch into my annual (and almost always short-lived) ascetic denial of nearly everything. (List to come.)

But until that carriage turns pumpkin, I'm going after it. And this hour's featured selection (or one of them) is from KC's own Willy Wonka: Christopher Elbow.

And I do not Wonka lightly, my friends, for I am eating of not just any old candy bar. I am eating a chocolate bar with 61 percent blissful, velvety, dark chocolate, blended (wait for it) with pop rocks.

That's how you bring in the New Year. Pop on, my people.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

So What Could Possible Wake Her from Her Slumber?

[What if we smash her boobs? Yes, I think that will do. She will have to sound off about that.]

And so here I am, just a handful of hours after my very first mammogram, writing about the intensely personal and uncomfortable experience on my blog. We strive hard to bring you authentic living here, my people. And we do it for your amusement.

I think my biggest fear (you know, before I actually experienced the smashing of the mammaries) was the cold. I'd been told that your breast is placed and pressed between two cold plates of metal. So naturally, the frigid plates lent me the most apprehension.

I gleefully dashed that fear when I saw only one metal plate (the other is plastic and decidedly unchilly) and that the cold would be buffeted by a nice, warm foam pad. This, I thought, would not be a problem. Mammogram, I laughed. Bring it on.

So confident and cocky, I approached the mammogram press (Wikipedia was generous enough to let me know it's called a Full Field Digital Mammography detector). And that's the way I wanted it. I asked no questions. I didn't research the m'graph process. In fact, when I told my mother I was going in for my first screening, she laughed. I believe I noted a touch of cattiness in that chuckle. But, true to conviction, I decided to ignore it and not ferret for an explanation.

(And while I'm in parens, I ask, and especially after living through birth, motherhood, and a mammogram, why isn't there a word for courage based on our sexual characteristics? I don't want to be a pussy about it, but it makes me wonder if our idiomatic expressions aren't a tad bit misogynist.)

Then the tech hoisted--and I do mean "hoisted"--my boob onto the pad. Never have I felt such disconnect with my breast as I did when it was lifted eight inches above its resting state. (Granted, my boobs hang low. I could tie them in knot. I could tie them in bow.) That is, until she started lowering the plastic to plate to meet my boob flesh and then squash it into the thickness of Red Robin burger. Which, sure, is thick for a burger, but quite thin and rather uncomfortable dimension for a D-cup boob. My nippled has never traveled so far from its home base. And projecting from my nursing experience, I truly doubted if it would ever snap back.

But the FFDMs have have a solution for that: the counterpress.

Which isn't, as I thought it would be, a straight on vertical squeeze to counter the horizontal. To rescue the true roundness and, of course, get a better portrait of the breast tissue, the FFDM comes at you with a somewhere-close-to-45 degree press. And let me tell you this, my bodacious sisters, they save "the best" for last.

The tech instructed me to embrace the FFDM--which I wasn't feeling inclined to do, not a lot of love for the machine at this point--and then she rehoisted the boob, pressed me in closer to the machine, and then rolled in the plates. This time, the plates captured deeper tissue, you know, those sinews that reach back into my pits. Then she locked in the plates. I literally couldn't breathe. I thought she might have got hold of a lung. And just when I thought she'd retreat behind the shield to snap the shot (hurry up, lady! Can't. Breathe!), she turned the crank a half-dial more. And then nudged it a quarter. And then another. Just for sadistic good measure.

Good God, why didn't someone warn me? I know I refused listen, but couldn't you insist? I really think you didn't try hard enough. Sisters should share this information. Speak out. Speak up.

Woman, I'll tell you, this wasn't just a disconnect, a longing distance from self to nipple. This was as close to detached as I ever want to get from my boob.

(Which is, I suppose, one significant point about the whole mammography in the first place.)