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mammo-slam

In a time where we have technology so sophisticated that we can take photos of Earth from space and zoom in on specific streets; where medical procedures are so incredibly advanced that certain surgeries (like those to stop brain aneurysms in specific cases) can be done with minimal invasion; in a world with 3D printers that can recreate organs…we’re still squishing boobs flat – both ways – when we send women for mammograms. WTF?

The way we treat women’s bodies and the things we expect them to endure are barbaric. From birth control pills, to IUDs, mammograms, pap tests, pregnancy and groups of disgusting old white men sitting together to make decisions about women’s reproductive rights (all while technically being the cause of all unwanted pregnancies), I can’t help but wonder if the reason we haven’t advanced as far as we have in other areas in medicine is because we are just comfortable with women being uncomfortable.

Why are we so far behind with technology for screening for breast cancer? Are we really behind in the technology, or are we behind in recommending protocols for screening? Breast MRIs are found to be more sensitive than mammograms in detecting breast cancer, but they’re not recommended because there are false positives detected as well. That said, false positives are also detected with mammograms, and some recent research indicates that women with false positive results are twice as likely to develop cancer than those who get a negative result. If this seems conflicting and confusing – it’s because it is. Many doctors don’t agree on recommended screening intervals. We have to advocate for ourselves, ask questions, share our stories and experiences with each other and demand better.

Just as I am sure if we tried hard enough that we could create birth control options other than vasectomies for men, surely to GOD there must be something better by now that can screen disease without women being forced through pain and discomfort. If ONE nut sack in history EVER had to be painfully squished flat for a testo-gram the world would come to an end. Men everywhere would revolt – “Did you hear what happened to Stan?! They squished his balls!! FLAT, MAN!”

Look, I love men (that aren’t douchecanoes) and I don’t want them to suffer either. I don’t want anyone to suffer, in fact, I think if we had a more positive process for screening that didn’t involve assaulting women and leaving them with a tender sternum for a week after the mammo-slam, we would have higher screening compliance and early detection rates. All of us have girlfriends who put off their gyno screening & slam-o-grams because it’s just so uncomfortable for them that they feel violated enough to day drink. Everyone’s tolerance (and boobs!) are different, and for many of us this process hurts like a mo fo.

I can’t imagine a world without diagnostic imaging; I know how incredibly important it is. When I had my mammogram and ultrasound of the lump that has since been evicted from my body, the radiologist said it didn’t look like cancer but that it didn’t look like nothing. Thank GOD this guy recommended a biopsy immediately because the pathology revealed it was indeed cancer and we needed to get it out. Diagnostic imaging gave him the ability to see that there was something else happening that needed further testing instead of waiting 6 months for another look. I wouldn’t be here.

I will be having my post op/post radiation/still healing/scar tissue filled mammo-slam in the next few weeks ( I have been advised to take some ibuprofen before heading in because it’s going to hurt a LOT with all the healing still going on). I’m obviously not looking forward to it, but I’m also not so stupid that I’m going to just ignore getting it after everything I’ve been through. My hope though is that one day we evolve enough as a society to do better for each other and be less complacent with expecting women to endure diagnostic imaging procedures that force our boobs to resemble Wile E Coyote after an encounter with a roller. Wish me luck!


love heals for reals

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