Hendricks Regional Health Blog

My First Mammogram

Posted by: Becky Wardzala   |   Tuesday, March 15, 2011   |   Latest Articles   |   Back to Blog

how to prepare for a mammogram, mammogram, scheduling a mammogram, what to expect at my mammogram appointment

Like many women, my 40th birthday came and went without me setting up a mammogram appointment. Sure, I know that medical standards recommend that this screening be done annually beginning at 40, but I just didn’t make the call (or online request!). And if you are wondering why, well the list of excuses can go on and on – busy, forgot, in denial that I’m that old, etc. You get the picture.

Anyway, I finally had that moment where I thought, what is the matter with me?!?!?! I even work right here in the hospital. I only have to go upstairs to take care of this. So, I scheduled. Not having done this before, I wasn't sure what to expect.

The time was set and I headed to The Women’s Center. Staff got me registered and took me back to the changing room.

First, I was handed the latest fashion in breast exams. I’m not really sure how to describe this top, but let’s just say it was the color of Pepto-Bismol and sort of shaped like a short poncho. This new poncho is, of course, to be worn with nothing else above the waist. Lovely.

And as she closed the door behind me, the registration staff member indicated that there were wipes to remove my deodorant. Huh? How could I have worked in healthcare for most of my career and never heard about this? Well, I don’t know, but here’s the deal – deodorant can show up in the mammogram, making it difficult to get a good clean picture for the docs to have a thorough look. So be sure to use the wipe!

After changing into my nifty new outfit, I headed to the mammogram room. The tech asked me lots questions about my health and medical history. Then she was ready to position me in the mammo machine. This is sort of like a small, standing height, sponge-topped table with a glass top that can clamp down on your breast tissue. OK, that description doesn't sound too great. But in reality, it was only a little uncomfortable – but it really didn’t hurt. Plus, the free Mammopad that I was provided made it more comfortable. I was, however, wishing I had a hair band though because hair product can also show up in the pictures. So if you have long locks, you might want to be ready to get them out of the way.

The entire photo shoot only took 5 or 10 minutes and I was done. I was ready to check this much-needed "to-do" off my list! So off I went to the private dressing room to finish off my task. Now I was feeling pretty good – this really wasn’t a big deal. Then I round the corner. And standing there is the department director. One that I work with a lot. And worst of all, to my embarrassment, is a man.

Clearly there’s not a good way to avoid this as he is standing just outside the dressing room. So I figure I better say something. “Hey!” I say. He responds, “nice outfit.” “Yeah, I think it’s time to find a new style, huh?” At that point, my bra-less self took cover in the dressing room. Now this bit of embarrassment was just a little occupational hazard that you run into when you work in a hospital. Thankfully, I’m over it and plan to return each year.

Thanks everyone in the Women’s Center for providing a great experience!

Editor's Note: Click here to check out the answers to frequently asked questions about mammograms. To schedule, call (317) 745-3404 or request a mammogram online.

 ~Becky Wardzala

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