Slam, Bam, Thank You Mammogram

November is mammogram month for me and thousands of other women who procrastinate having this dreadlightful procedure done during October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

We can’t all get our mammograms done in one month. The long lines would be the last straw in a pile of complaints that we have about this test.

Because I have many male readers (Hi guys! How’s it hangin’?) I’m not going to tell any girly stories, but I am going to reprint this Internet forward that has been cracking me up for years. If you’ve never had a mammogram, this will clue you in:

Many women are afraid of their first mammogram, but there is no need to worry. By taking a few minutes each day for a week preceding the exam and doing the following practice exercises, you will be totally prepared for the test. Best of all, you can do these simple practice exercises right in your home.

Exercise 1: Open your refrigerator door and insert one breast between the door and the main box. Have one of your strongest friends slam the door shut as hard as possible and lean on the door for good measure. Hold that position for five seconds. Repeat again in case the first time wasn't effective enough.

Exercise 2: Visit your garage at 3 a.m. when the temperature of the cement floor is just perfect. Take off all your clothes and lie comfortably on the floor with one breast wedged under the rear tire of the car. Ask a friend to slowly back the car up until your breast is sufficiently flattened and chilled. Turn over and repeat for the other breast.

Exercise 3: Freeze two metal bookends overnight. Strip to the waist. Invite a stranger into the room. Have the stranger press the bookends against either side of one of your breasts and smash the bookends together as hard as she can. Repeat for the other breast. Set an appointment with the stranger to meet next year to do it again.

I have a great deal of respect for a person who can find something funny to say about something as horrible as breast cancer. (And don’t say that mammograms are not the exact same topic as breast cancer. If it wasn’t for that beastly disease, we wouldn’t be standing there with a pink gown hanging on one shoulder, avoiding eye contact with a part of our body that has apparently been run over by a steam roller. There’s only one thought that runs through your mind while getting a mammogram and it’s breastcancer breastcancer breastcancer.

I know that all the funny things written about breast cancer are written by women. We’re funnier, you know. Deep down to the core, we’re funnier than men.  Example A:  The above exercises were written by a woman. Example B: When Scott Batiuk tried to write a breast cancer story line in his comic strip Funky Winkerbean, it wasn’t funny, it wasn’t even heartwarming. Seeing Lisa bald, bone thin, in a head scarf, announcing in a cartoony conversation bubble that she was refusing further chemo was just what we all wanted to see when opening the comics page of our newspaper. You’re a hoot, Scott.  Why don’t you just have the band director get scrotal inflammatory disease?

When I was a reporter I had to do a story about the Mammo-van, a big bus that went around and parked in mall parking lots and other spacious places and had the mammogram machine inside. The idea was that it would be super convenient to just walk outside of your place of employment and clamber into a bus and get your mammogram. The mammo-vans didn’t take off, I’m guessing because no self-respecting woman wanted to be seen walking into a vehicle that said MAMMO-VAN on the outside. (Kids kept drawing nipples on the headlights with permanent marker.) Also any guy with a van and a hand-lettering kit could try to set up his own in bar parking lots.

But it was a good effort. Since then, I think more women submit to the indignity on an annual basis. They say the procedure has become less painful, but I’m not feeling it. The mammogramicians have become more sensitive. Fewer of them will make comments about the size of your boobs (they never ask me if I have implants, even though it’s a state law . . . weird . . .) and some will even warm up their hands and dim the lights.

If you missed breast cancer’s October surprise, get your mammogram this month, girls. Don’t wait for any encouragement or support from your husband. (When I told my husband I was getting my mammogram yesterday, all he said was, “Don’t blog about it.”) Don’t wait for something that doesn’t feel right. If nothing else, do it so you don’t have to think about breastcancer breastcancer breastcancer for another 12 months.

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