Going for a mammogram did not frighten me half as much as going for my first pap smear. I was actually eager to have my boobies touched and tested for breast cancer.
Even though I had no history of breast cancer in my family or any unusual lumps, I was approaching 40 and felt it time. I felt equipped with information going into this mammogram session, prior to this, no one urged me to go, unlike my previous scheduled routine tests where I almost had to be dragged screaming to do something that would inevitably benefit me. I even took extra care on the morning of the test (you never know who’s going to touch your bosom during the test) so I put on my best white cotton bra just in case a beautiful woman was on the other side of the examination. My doctor told me that the session was going to be conducted by another woman, which gave me heavenly thoughts…
Finally, with my head out of the clouds, I find myself wearing an all too familiar green apron, walking towards the x-ray machine. It is at this moment I realise how ill prepared I am and start freaking out quietly internally. Then one of nurses in the room gently cups my breast and squishes it in between cold, hard metal plates – bringing it closer to the x-ray light. At this point all heavenly thoughts of how nice this should feel disappear. She asks if I’m comfortable? I mumble a moan, and hiss a groan underneath my breath, why the ‘bleep’ do I have to pretend to be this brave, Lord knows I could pee in my ‘boy cut’ jeans round about now. Gosh, this feels more like a boobie trap than a test for breast cancer.
I thought my Pap smear session was intrusive but this was now threatening to overtake that. Bearing my boobs to a stranger really takes the cake for me. I am an extremely private person, wait, I’m insanely private. I’m freaking queer I have to be private for crying out loud, otherwise society devours me to hell and back. The machine feels foreign against my best friends, my boobs, the machines presses even harder, making the experience worse, “it’s not as bad as it seems, it will be alright,” shrieks a voice behind the machine’s operator. I reluctantly shuffle swiftly ahead allowing them full access to my boobs with their ‘boobie trap machine’.
When the test is over and I am told the next day I have no signs of breast cancer, I feel silly at how I over reacted to the feel of metal clamping down on my breasts. Not the most pleasant test but within minutes it’s over.
Screening is recommended from the age of 40 onwards, even 50 years up. So until then I will keep examining my own breasts, or better yet get my girlfriend to get lost in my bosom.