Thursday, October 30, 2008

My First Mammogram.
(Long Post, But TOTALLY Worth It)

Aaahh, nothing like waking up on the morning of a day you know you'll never forget.

A sense of hyper-alertness comes over me. Like I want to pay extra close attention and remember every single detail so that I'll be able to write about it afterwards for y'all's edification. Because that's what I do.

Last night before I went to bed, I texted as many of my friends as I could imagine might possibly know another pierced woman who had a mammogram to ask if they knew the Official Pierced Nipple Policy for mammograms. I almost accidentally asked my mom if she knew the answer when I called her last night to wish her a Happy Birthday.

It's hilarious. I mean, I am absolutely certain that she knows about my piercings thanks to Cousin Keek, but Mom's never asked me about them directly and it's soooo totally entertaining to watch her sneak little peeks while trying to act like she doesn't know. She took me bra shopping, for cryin out loud. How covert.

Anyway, the overwhelming consensus among my texted friends (which most admitted was based more on logical assumptions than experience), is that I will have to take them out. I am FREAKING, people.

One of the reasons I love my curved barbells is because whenever I see them I remember that I (albeit temporarily) overcame my fear of pain and needles and did something nobody (including myself) ever thought I'd do. I love that they're under my clothes, making me feel secretly hardcore, perhaps even dangerous. In reality, as you know, I'm a total pussy - squeamish, and easily icked out. I'm not someone you'd expect to have pierced nipples. And yet, I do. Surprise!

I like to think they represent my Inner Badass. Whenever I think I can't handle something, I whip out my nips and remind myself of the time when R and I, over dinner at Sam's Steakhouse, were trying to think of something a bit outrageous to do after dinner. I can't remember which of us brought up getting my nipples pierced, but I'm pretty sure it was me. Up to the last possible second, he thought I'd chicken out. HA!! He didn't think I'd ever actually go to Goldenlands, place my breasts in the hands of another woman and allow her to stick me with a needle in a rather sensitive place - twice - BUT I DID.

(Ok, I don't literally whip out my nips whenever I face a challenge, but maybe I should - just to baffle my opponent! Take that!! And that!!! Feel my wrath!!!!)

Since I got them four years ago, I've never taken them out. Theoretically, they're removable; I could probably get them out. But I don't think I could put them back in. I just don't think I can do it. I get queasy when I snag one of them on a loofah in the shower. Not only can I not stand the sight of blood or even the thought of the possibility of the sight of blood, I hate the actual word Blood. The only word I hate more than Blood is Pus. Ugh.

Mucus is another word that's totally icky, but I love the word Phlegm. It's one of my favorite words in the whole English language, truly. Such an interesting combination of letters uniting to create the actual sound one makes when attempting to expel phlegm from one's throat. But I digress.

I didn't watch when the girl pierced them. In order for me to get the rings out and put them back in would require me to actually look at the holes, and I just can't. And I'm not sure I could let someone else do it either. R'd be too afraid of hurting me. It's not even the pain, really, I'd sooner just get them pierced again, but it's the idea of it. I don't even know how to explain what I mean any better than that.

I asked R if I could get them redone if I couldn't get them back in, but then what? Get them redone every year, right after my annual mammogram? Yeah, that makes sense.

So right now it's 7:15 in the am, and I'm trying to decide if I want to just take them out at home and get it over with in a place where I can cry or throw up privately (if necessary), or chance it and leave them in, hoping they'll tell me they could work around them. Fuck.

I don't know what to do. What if I take them out and I get there and they tell me "Oh, you didn't have to do that, silly!!" I'd feel like such a jackass. Back later.

8:45 am Fashion Choices.

Should I go for the hippie bohemian crunchy granola Birkenstock chick with pierced nipples look -

Or the hardcore, Yeah, I got pierced nipples - you wanna fuckin MAKE me take 'em out, asshole?? look -

Such decisions. Guys don't have to think about what they wear to a prostate exam.

I'm supposed to be there, with a full bladder, in four and a half hours. I know you're all thinking I should just call and find out if I have to take them out or not, right? Now, come on...that's not very sporting and it wouldn't make for a very interesting blog entry, would it? Plus, I want you all to feel my angst.

Are ya feelin' it, bitches????

That's it, I'm going with the hard core shirt. Back later.

10:01 am

Still have the rings in. I think that's the route I'm going to go - cling to the hope that just maybe I won't have to take them out. Maybe I'll pull a Charlton Heston:

Sure, you can have my barbells... when you pry them from my cold, dead nipples!!

Nah, never mind. That's creepy.

Meanwhile, my Nipple Ring Anxiety is affecting my brain. I went to go change my contacts (y'know, in case I cry or something) and for some reason I couldn't get my left eye to see right. Shit. I just ordered new contacts in the old prescription. I need to go back and get them checked again. There go the days of buying one box of contacts for both eyes to share.

And then I realized I hadn't taken the old one out.

I'm losin' it, y'all. I seriously need to get out of the house.
Back later.

11:20 am

I just spent twenty bucks on Halloween candy. And I just realized I forgot to put deodorant on. I did manage to remember to put the trash out, though, so that's something. And I remembered everything I went to Target to get, I think. Yeah, I did.

Gotta get my mind focused on other things.

Here's a little pre-pubescent humor I meant to share with you. Say it out loud.

I believe the sequel is called "Diary of a Sperm", and it's about a whale.

Totally getting down to the wire, y'all. Fuck. FUCK.

Ok, I was gonna publish this as one big post when it was all over, but I think I'll post this now and let y'all read it and sit in suspense until I get back, and then I'll tell you whether they made me take out my nipple rings or not.

Believe me, I'll be thinking of you all, THE WHOLE TIME. Later.

************* PART TWO *******************

Ok, I forgot to tell you all the part about how I had to get an Ultrasound first. Nothing major, I just think I have a cyst or something, so I wanted to get it checked out and I figured I might as well do Cooter and Hooters at the same time just like yesterday.

I hate it when they tell you you have to come in with a full bladder. I have a belly pooch and I'm rather sensitive about it, and one time, more than 26 pounds ago, I had a tech lament out loud that she couldn't see anything because my bladder wasn't full enough and there was Too Much Tissue in the way. Yeah, you don't have to be a medical professional to know what that means. And I'd rather not hear that ever again, so when they say Full Bladder, I go Maximum Capacity. I push my limits.

And as you know, I was big time stressed about the whole day, what with the nipple rings and whatnot. So what sucks more than being stressed out and having to pee really bad? Trying to find a fucking parking space when you're stressed out and having to pee really bad.

And what sucks worse than that? Finally finding a parking place and going inside, only to find out that you're in the WRONG fucking building. FanTASTic.

So, running cross-legged, I got to where I needed to be, filled out my paperwork and waited. And waited. And tried to read. And thought I'd die. And waited.

And took a pic of the Turn Off Your Phone sign.

And my socks.

Thirty minutes I waited, in total agony. Ow. Then the tech called my name, and I said, out loud, I have to pee SO BAD. And she chuckled politely as she walked me to a room. And the second she put the thing on my belly she literally gasped and said,


God, don't you LOVE that? Cuz where does my mind instantly go? Right back to the time I went in for an ultrasound thinking I wasn't pregnant at all but rather suffering from some bizarre medical abnormality, and the tech told me I wasn't just pregnant, but FIVE MONTHS along.

Yeah, shit happens to This Girl, so please don't take one look at me and whisper words of horror. I'm way ahead of you, sister, freaking out before you even tell me there's a reason to.

Holy cow, what? What's wrong? It's a tumor, isn't it? I knew it.

You DO have a full bladder!!

Yeah, pretty sure I mentioned that...

So I unbuttoned and laid back, and I saw that they have these peaceful serene nature photos up on the ceiling, presumably so you have something to focus on and you can relax and zen out while they press on your uterus. And one of the pictures was a waterfall. SO not what I needed to see. I politely pointed out that they really shouldn't have a waterfall picture when patients are laying on the tables with full bladders.

They finished up and I finally got to go pee. And in the bathroom was this lovely picture.

It's fibroids, but doesn't it look like a Cooter with teeth?
This is my what my WHAT THE FUCK?? face looks like.

So to continue, I hate that they don't just tell you what's wrong with you right then and there. You know they know, and more that that, you know that They know that YOU DON'T know. They're sitting right looking at it, not saying a word. I hate that. Just tell me. Or, if you legally can't because you're the tech and not the Doctor, at least give me a fuckin clue.

Oh, and the worst part is when they ask you a bunch of follow-up questions. They've seen what's going on. They know what the answers to my questions should be, based on what they've seen. I always feel like they're trying to catch me in a lie or something.

So, are you on any birth control?
Um, no, my husband's had a vasectomy.

And the look on their faces just says
Hmmmmm.... innnnnnteresting...

So from there I went to:


And I still hadn't asked anyone if I'd have to take my rings out. At that point, I figured I'd get into the room and if they said something I'd play dumb, like, "Oh yeah, I've had those things so long I forgot they were there! Tee hee!!" That was my entire plan. Cuz I'm a criminal mastermind, you know.

So they took my information (which would have been the PERFECT time to find out the Pierced Nipple Policy, so I could gracefully back out if I decided my nipple rings were more important to me than finding out if there's anything wrong with my boobs, but the chick was kind of abrasive and I had a feeling that she'd roll her eyes in disgusted disbelief that I'd even ask such a stupid question), handed me a robe and led me to a locker room, where I saw this sign in one of the stalls.

It says, Happiness is like a Potato Salad - when shared by others, it's a Picnic.

My reaction was twofold: First, what about getting your boobs squished resembles either Happiness or a Picnic? And Second, Funny, you could almost say the same thing about V.D. Almost.

But I put on my sexy blue gown (which I totally snagged, because I thought it brought out the color of my eyes - oh, and I also snagged a Probe Sheath from the ultrasound room because I thought they were funny)...

This is the face of a CRIMINAL MASTERMIND, bitches!

...went through this door...

and saw THIS. The BoobSquisher 3000.

MaryJo was going to be handling my boobs today. She was really nice. I was hoping for a nice person, because now was the moment of truth. She asked me if I had any questions. I said, very timidly,

"Um, yeah, I have, um, Nipple Piercings... AmIgonnahavetotakethemoutpleasepleasepleasesayno?"

I begged her, close to tears, explaining that despite the fact that I had pierced nipples, I was actually a total wimp and I'd never ever get them back in and I'd been stressing about it since yesterday.

She left the room to go check. And I was left in the room with a fucking Frankenstein switch on the wall, in case you missed it in the above pic.

Fuck. I'm gonna throw up.

She came back and gave me the verdict. Y'all ready??




have to take them out. They just bent them outward (or upward, I guess) so they really didn't interfere at all. AWESOME!

Thank GOD, because the only way to handle this whole boob-squishing drama is to relax, and fuck if I could have relaxed if I had to think about getting them back in.

MaryJo was an absolute sweetheart. She was patient and she didn't get mad when I giggled, and you know I get these giggle fits at the most inappropriate times. She asked when I got the piercings, and why (a question that does not offend me in the slightest), and I told the whole story about how R and I talked about it after dinner and just went and did it, totally spur of the moment.

And after she took a total of four pictures, she told me she'd see me next year.

So overall First Mammogram Experience, not bad at all!! And I got to leave with my TittyBling intact!

And P.S. - Renee, I'm really glad Kev asked you about the Nipple Ring question because you were the ONLY one who said I might not have to, and that was the hope I held onto the entire day. :)


Kevin C said...

No, guys' angst is when you're in for a prostate exam (or physical that includes a prostate exam), and a female doctor walks in the room.

Uh, oh.

Think it doesn't happen? I beg to differ.

Renee said...

Sarah, I'm glad I was right. Have had a few and they usually tape ball bearings onto your nipples anyway to know where your nipple is in the x-ray so I thought it would be OK. Glad you didn't have to take them out. I would be squeamish about getting them back in if it were me too! OUCH! :) Nonetheless it still feels like you are getting them slammed in a refrigerator door!

Anonymous said...


I so thought you just outed a pregnancy. Guess I should read every word of a sentence instead of just skipping around a bunch.
By the time I figured it out, I had already started to plan a baby shower.


SiressYorkie said...

Yeah, I had my first mammogram about 4 months back...imagine everything your tech said to you except with a British accent. It was a trip. My poor tits got squashed so flat they looked like chicken fillets. I thought I heard air hissing out of them.

Doncha love how they make you bend and contort into positions that are Cirq d'Soleil freaky, then say, Okay, now relax...??

If you do have to have an MRI ever, they will definitely have to come out. An MRI sucks any piece of metal straight out and up. But I'm glad your tit bling stayed where it was!

Penny Karma said...


Everyone I'm currently sleeping with is, thankfully, fixed.


Bezzie said...

I gotta say my fave picture is that executioner's switch on the wall!

Your name's in the pool too chickie!

Penny Karma said...

Fuckin scary, right??

I was SO afraid MaryJo was going to walk in and bust me taking a picture of it. What if that's how they deal with Criminal Masterminds and Those Who Ignore The 'Turn Off Your Cell Phones' Signs??

Stickyfingers said...

Just in case you ever do have to take them out -- you can usually pay a piercer to put them back in. And it's not expensive either. I think $12 the last time I had to do that (rings to barbells). You just want to do it right away, because those things can close up quick!
I lost my nipple rings to breastfeeding our first baby, but I told DH I'd totally have it re-done when the family's complete. He thinks I'm joking. I LOVED those piercings!

Cary said...

No flattened boob pix?


The Beautiful Kind said...

That was super entertaining! Great first post of yours for me to read. I thought you were preg at first, too, ha! Then read it again.

I HATE the full bladder ultrasound routine!!

I like your pierced nipple badass shirt.

And I've never had a mammogram. Nor will I ever pierce my nipples. They are soo sensitive - I still can't believe I breastfed for a year.

Anonymous said...

Thank you SOOO much for this! I have piercings and my first mammogram next week. Your post was wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Extremely helpful to know!!! I'm the same...secret bad ass for having them but am so chicken I can't ever give blood for fear of passing out.

Anonymous said...

This is the first of your blogs that I've ever read. I'm hooked! I have my first mammo in less than 4 hours, am pierced(just one side, because well...OUCH!), and now planning to find a badass shirt and a way to smuggle my phone in for pictures. Thank you for making me laugh, I really really needed this.

Ruthie G said...

Thank you for this post! I found it when googling "mammogram nipple piercing" because I'm in the same first-timer position. Will I have to take them out? If not, will the extreme squishing-down pressure upset them lots anyway (mine are only recently healed)? Your post had made me laugh and not feel alone - thank you from a London UK chick.

SurlyQ Bear said...

I needed this!