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I’m 34 years old. And this was my first mammogram. |

I’m 34 years old. And this was my first mammogram.

Yesterday I got my very first mammograms – at the age of 34.

And it was stressful.

While I was in the waiting room, anxiously pacing back and forth for my name to be called, I very maturely texted a friend of mine a photo of testicles from The Worlds Largest Pig – taken the day before – at the Indiana State Fair (this is the thanks they get for giving someone like me an unlimited press pass).

Crusty pig ball – not my finest moment, but not my worst. I was nervous and I needed comic relief to pass the minutes. I blame stress so something.

But yesterday – I got my very first mammogram. I’m 34 years old.

Why so young? Of course I have reasons…

Your doctor will tell you that you don’t need a mammogram until the age of 40. And your doctor is completely right – 40 is the money age. If you’re over the age of 40? Smash those boobies.

But I’m 34, and I have a history – on both sides of my family.

And about a month ago, I started having deep tissue pain in my right breast. And then on my left as well. Normally, weird aches and pains don’t bother me,  but given my deep rooted breast cancer history, this mystery pain was a cause for concern.

Have you ever thought about how it would all end for you? You know, how you would die?

Yeah, I have. It’s almost always from breast cancer.  I die early, like when my kids are little. So when I started to have pain in my breast, I basically knew it was the beginning of the end. This is morbid, but this is my truth.

I’ve been thinking  about my kids, and how they would be loved and cared for. I’ve been thinking about Michael, and how he would deal with having a sick wife.

And yesterday, I had the mammogram, to determine the root of the pain.

The tech took me into a back room, had me un-robe from the waist up, and prompted me for a round of xrays.

She took a bunch of images, and sent me back into my private waiting room. She would show the images to the radiologist, and if the radiologist needed more images, she would call me back in.

And as I sat there in the little private waiting room, I wonder about all the other women that sat topless before me. About how many prayers had been sent up from this very spot, pleading and begging for a clean bill of health. Countless daily, assuming I wasn’t the only one.

And as I sat there praying for my own clean bill of health, I was called back – for more photos. Expected but not good news. The radiologist wanted more images, different angles – a more in-depth view of the breast tissue.

Was this a surprise to me? Nope. Not at all. In fact, I was woefully expecting it.

And if I can offer any advice to first mammogramer –

1. Don’t be modest. Figure it’s the college Spring Break you never experienced. Live it up silently with wild abandonment, and then treat yourself to a coffee or something special when you’re done. Me? I spent the afternoon cleaning out the freezer. What?

2. Skip the deodorant. Most mainstream deodorants have iron in them, and that shows up as “particles” on the xrays which is a bad thing. If you know you’re getting a mammogram, suck it up and stink for a few hours.

3. If you have long hair, tie it back. I have long-ish hair, and my tech was constantly messing with my mane, pulling rouge strands out of the xray. Had I known, a top knot bun or ponytail it would have been.

But I didn’t know, it was my first mammogram.

So I walked in for round two, and the tech assured me that it was because I was so young and my tissue was so – dense? active? plump? full? alive? (I’m forgetting the word she used, it was a weird compliment for sure) and that that was the reason for the “round two” images.

She took the second round, and then again sent me topless into my private little cell of a waiting room.

More pleading and prayers to God. More rounds of Candy Crush on my cell phone to pass the time. Friends, Candy Crush is nauseating in times of high anxiety. Prayer was much better, and I had run out of friends to “ball” at such an early hour of the day.


To cut this story short – after much he-hawing from my doctors (or at least that’s what it felt like they were doing, hee-hawing around), I’ve been given a clean bill of health.

According to my mammogram – stuff is dense, but there is no sign of caner.

I do not have breast cancer. Or anything that look like breast cancer.

But let’s not forget the reason I got my mammogram in the first place – pain in my right breast.

The radiologist told me it could be a myriad of culprits.

1. My hormones adjusting from basically being either pregnant or breastfeeding for the past decade. Valid point. Checkmate.

2. Wearing the wrong bra. So is the doctor implying that the bra I bought postpartum almost 4 years ago after Gage’s birth not good enough anymore? I think that’s what she’s saying…

So I’m off to do a bit of wait-and-see. I’ve been told I don’t have cancer, and maybe I need to invest in a new brazier.

But for today, I don’t have cancer. And I need to go shopping.

I’m counting it as a win.

And yes, if you’re wondering – I would totally not hesitate for one single second to go all angelina jolie on my rack. As they say – first set is for function (did that x4), second set is for show – or something like that. I’ll do whatever it takes to be here for the long haul.




  1. I know exactly what you went through. I had my first one when I was 31 and even though I’ve always gotten a clean bill of health every year I still get nauseous when my annual scan is due. I’m a bundle of nerves sitting there waiting my turn and until I get the letter in the mail that all is well. I’m so glad you got checked out and that you are okay!!
    Amy recently posted..I Heart Traveling


  2. Hugs. I had my first one at 24, and I was the youngest person in the room by about 3 decades. An old lady cried when she saw me sitting in the little private waiting room.

    Glad to hear you got a clean bill of health.
    classyfabsarah recently posted..2 Years. 45/44 Days.


  3. Susan Alberda says:

    I’ve always had mad respect for you, but you just took it to a whole new level. Kudo’s for taking care of you so you can stick around for the rest of us who love you.


  4. Whew! So happy you are all clear! GREAT news!

    And yes, I have thought about how I would die. All the time. And since I was a little girl. I always had a feeling I would die young (probably because my sister did and I grew up knowing that you could go at any time). I’m talking my forties or something. And I usually picture breast cancer or some type of cancer. I actually was thinking about it just last night. Crazy. I try not to think about it too much because I don’t want my mind to talk my body into it because I think about it so much or something. Is that crazy?

    And yes. I would chop my breasts off in a hot second if there was even a trace of cancer. No question about it. Wouldn’t even think about it. It seems like a no brainer to me.

    Again, SO HAPPY to hear you are all clear!
    Kat recently posted..WW- A Little Hard Work


  5. (((()))) I wish I could have been there to hold your hand.
    The Many Thoughts of a Reader recently posted..The Wednesday Daughters


  6. So glad to hear you have a clean bill of health. You can text me pig balls any time, day or night.
    Angie Six recently posted..This is Insane


  7. So glad you got a clean bill of health!! My mom has “dense” tissue as well and it caused her years of ridiculousness with mammograms but once she found the right radiologist – smooth sailing! Wonder what I have in store down the road?!

    Also, giant pig testicles? You give me hope that having a baby doesn’t mean I have to be a mature adult all the time 🙂


  8. Yay for cancer free, and whoohoo for going shopping, even if it’s for a bra 🙂
    Renee recently posted..What to wear on a coffee date


  9. @StateofKate says:

    You were really brave going in and getting it done. It took courage. So glad it went well.


  10. Glad it all went well. I had my 1st one a few years ago for the same reason and had to have a “couple more” pictures too, but then it turned out fine too, thankfully. I was supposed to go back last year for another check, but then I got pregnant, and well, I guess we’re going to have to wait until these babies dry up before I go back! 😉
    Yay for a clean bill of health & an excuse to go shopping!
    chris recently posted..merry christmas 2012


  11. Christine says:

    Do you know about breast thermography? Check it out. Every time you get a mammogram, you apply 1000 times a regular chest x-ray to your ta-ta’s. Some people believe this preventative measure is contributing to what you’re trying to prevent. Thermography is a safer alternative.

    Also, I’m not sure what your family situation is, but although never mentioned by this pink-washed nation of ours, when you have a baby, breastfeed – and do it as long as you can! Breastfeeding a child for 2 years reduces your breast cancer risk by 1/2! (Recent Yale study)


  12. To cut the tension a bit… how does one get on a “ball” text list? 🙂

    But seriously… glad it came back clean; I’ve had my own concerns given family history and have been fortunate enough to get the same / similar news.


  13. I’m so glad you wrote this. Ten more points for living in a generation where we understand that talking about our worries and health experience improves well-being in every kind of way. And congratulations on that especially dense rack.
    To KIss the Cook recently posted..Post yoga dinner is another point to Pinterest. Roasted broccoli…


  14. My family has a history of fibroid cysts so we all end up getting checks in our early 30’s. I’m sure I’ll start getting them soon as I am now 32. It was good year after I stopped nursing that phantom let down pains finally stopped.

    I’m glad you are OK. Now go get fitted for some pretty post-nursing bras!! JCP is having a bra sale right now.


  15. I had my first mammogram 2 (?) years ago. It was for kind of the same reason. Weird pain and bump in one of my breasts. I can’t remember which right now, but for some reason right is sticking out in my mind. It was far back. Almost to my armpit. (And I lied. It was a year and a half ago. I remember now. I was 31.) It was uncomfortable. And my breasts aren’t even very large, but they are fibrous, so all that manhandling that was done was not pleasant. And I already had pain, so why not just give me some more? They ruled out breast cancer for me, too. I think they said it was a cyst and if it got worse to let my dr know. It was a relief to know it wasn’t cancer, but still not knowing exactly what it was was a little nerve-wracking. I feel for you and I’m glad you are cancer free!
    Katie O recently posted..A Promise Kept


  16. Oh Emily! I can’t imagine how scary that was, but I’m SO glad to hear you are cancer free and rocking some dense TAs. 😉


  17. Thanks for sharing 🙂 I had my first at age 18, I don’t think I had any mammary tissue back then..ouch!
    Great idea for another post.. some friends and I all realized we’re desperately in need for a good bra fitting, and some new attire to hold up the girls. Let us know what you learn if you go to a pro, please 🙂


  18. I feel for you. After discovering a lump when I was 22 I had to have two (and the lump removed). Then I had to have two more later to qualify for insurance (even though my lump was benign…grr).
    They are NO FUN …but such an instant relief when you are given the all clear. Glad everything was good.
    And if you ever want to clean another freezer…well, I have a nice cold one for you.


  19. First off, I’m sorely offended that I didn’t get a pig scrotum text.
    Secondly, I’m relieved and so proud of you for checking it out. I admire that courage. xxoo
    QuatroMama recently posted..10 Free Things for Kids at the Indiana State Fair


  20. A: I am always down for texts of pig balls.
    B: I’m glad you did what you needed to do and you were given the all clear.
    C: ILY
    Just Shireen recently posted..Inappropriate Feelings Towards Paper And A Giveaway


  21. I’m 32 and I’ve had two (my mom had breast cancer). What I hated most is that when you go in and you’re young you get a lot of pitying looks like there must really be something wrong with you. I wanted a tshirt that said, “I’m fine, I just have a family history!” (Or maybe not a tshirt given the topless nature of the visit…how about a sign that said it 😉 Glad yours was ok!!


  22. I had my first one a year ago and was told I have very dense tissue too. Guess it runs in the family. Glad you’re ok though!


  23. Woman, you can ball me anytime! I mean it! So glad your results came back clear. Hooray!
    Ordinary Sarah recently posted..This Nearly Perfect One


  24. How is ‘Pig Balls’ not in your category list? There is clearly demand for it.
    Joe recently posted..150 Calories per serving


  25. I Am So Glad You’re Well. And this –> “Candy Crush is nauseating in times of high anxiety”? This is Truth.

    I haven’t had a mammogram yet. I’ll keep your helpful tips in mind when that time comes!
    Nichole recently posted..Three things I witnessed yesterday during a brief trip to the grocery store


  26. Thank all the stuff.
    joules recently posted..The Argus – Summatime, Part Deuce


  27. I have yet to have one but he big 4-0 is not that far off so…

    SO glad you got it checked and that all is well. Now go buy some good fittin’ bras for your girls! 😉
    Elaine A. recently posted..By Searching


  28. That was the best balling I’ve ever had.

    moosh in indy. recently posted..have a vivi nice day.


  29. Superb post however I was wondering if you could write a litte more
    on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further.
    low carb diet plans recently posted..low carb diet plans


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