Tuesday, June 06, 2006


The lovely garment above is called a mammography cape.

Little did I know that while undergoing a mammogram, you could actually make a fashion statement.

And...a fashion statement representative of not only one, but two different decades. I first wore ponchos way back in the '70's when I was a hippie wanna-be.

A few years ago, I thought, why don't they start making ponchos again...they're cute, easy to put on, functional, and will make every baby-boomer feel young again.

Well, guess what? That's exactly what happened. Two years ago, I found a poncho. It was fantastic, freeing, youth-inducing.

So when I found this picture, I thought...perfect...just the thing for women in their 40's, 50's, and 60's to make getting a mammogram a nostalgic experience.

Little over a week ago, I had my yearly mammogram. I am diligent about this, and have been doing it every year for the last 10 years.

Today, while driving home, my cell phone rang. (well, I should say, played the happy little tune from Sex in the City).

I answered only to hear:

caller: "Is this Cruisin-mom?"
me:" Yes, it is...who's this?"
"Well, this is your doctor's office calling, you'll need to come back in to retake your mammogram".

My heart sank. I knew this couldn't be good news. I quickly asked why, and here's what she answered:

"We need to take another "view" that we were unable to get the first time".

me: "Is anything wrong?"
caller: "Oh, we just need to get another view...can you be in today at 5:00?"
me: "YES, I'll be there".

How many different things go through your mind when you are asked to repeat a mammogram? Too many to mention.

My kids, what about my kids? Who will yell at them, and nag them, and tell them to clean up, and love them more than the ocean is deep?

And Mr. Cruisin...he comes across indestructable, but I know he'd be lost without me. (shhh, don't tell him I said that).

How can I possibly do this to my mother with all that she has lived through? And my brother...who has always protected me?

Ice cream, what about ice cream? Who will win the next American Idol?

What about my dog, who follows me wherever I go?

I could go on, but as I said, there was to much to mention.

A wave rushed over me...I couldn't breath.

As I was driving home...I just so happened to see Mr. Cruisin driving down the street...I honked and had him pull over. I told him about the call. He said, "I'll come with you".

I can only imagine what he was feeling. My husband is not a "mushy" person. But I know how deeply he feels. He is a man of action, much more than words. He will do anything for a friend, no questions asked. And being his best friend, I knew he'd be there for me.

We drove to the doctor's and as we drove, I burst into tears. I admit, I was scared.

I entered the mammogram area, and asked the tech, what was really wrong. I knew it couldn't just be "the view". She told me that something had "changed", since a prior mammogram and they needed to get a better view of the area. She said a doctor would look at it immediately for determination.

Now, as any woman who has had one knows, mammogram and the flattening, stretching, cranking, and picture taking of one's breasts, is not the most pleasant experience...but you do it, because it's just what we have to do. It's well worth the early detection, and prevention, that is hopefully the result of a yearly mammogram.

I sat and waited, all the while still thinking, what will I tell my husband, my children, my mother, my friends.

Mr. Cruisin sat patiently in the waiting room.

The tech came back out, and told me everything was okay.

I quickly got dressed, came out to the waiting room and told Mr. Cruisin the good news.

He hugged and squeezed me. We both...breathed. I'm not sure who was more relieved.

I had been given a gift. All I could think about was how quickly life can change in the blink of an eye. I thought about all the women who did not get this reprieve, and bravely set out to do battle with breast cancer. I thought that perhaps, I needed to think about what was really important, and worth getting upset about.

So I came home, saw my son, and yelled at him for leaving dishes in the sink...

and I knew, that everything would be okay. At least for today.

(for another viewpoint on mammogram, read Sweettooth's post here)


torontopearl said...

Glad all is well with you and your boobs. And can I try to make you smile even more? Just think, you're not just Mr. Cruisin' Mom's "main squeeze" but that of a machine, too!
I had my annual physical today -- I'd been avoiding it like the plague and hadn't gone for about 18 months. Now it's a waiting game for me to get all my results...

Chana said...

I'm glad everything's OK!! If it had been me, they would've had to level with me, because I would have said, "sorry, you should have taken all the 'views' you wanted last week, you'll just have to wait until next year!!"

When I first saw the pic, I thought it was a new kind of nursing blanket. LOL...

kasamba said...

When I first saw your post, I though it was going to be about getting a haircut!
Sometimes we need little scares like that to make us take a step back and appreceiate everything we have.
Glad you're healthy!

jackt said...

1) Very glad to hear that everything turned out ok, and also that you are very conscientious about preventive maintenance when it comes to your heath. Most of my friends are primary care doctors and they never stop talking about the importance of prevention.

2) Those ponchos, hehe. Country kitchens everywhere musta decided to unload their floral prints curtains and tablecloths to medical supply manufacturers, who then punch a hole in the middle and sell them to radiology labs!

Irina Tsukerman said...

I'm so happy everything was all right! : )

Another meshugannah mommy said...

Phew. Glad everything is okay.

My mom is a breast cancer survivor. Glad to see you are taking acre of yourself.

cruisin-mom said...

T.P.: yes, I was a main squeeze! Hope all your results are positive.

Chana: Hi! Nice to see you here. Hey, that would make a great nursing blanket :)

Kasamba: LOL...a new kind of haircut cape. Thanks for the good wishes!

jackt: Yep, I agree about prevention. And about what you said re: the poncho...LOLOLOLOLOL

Irina: you're so sweet...welcome back...everyone, go read Irina's post about her wonderful trip to Israel. It is inspiring.

AMM: I'm so glad your mom is a "survivor" and hope she continues to have good health.

JMK2006 said...

Just reading about your scare is arresting. What a relief.

Jack's Shack said...

Glad to hear that you are ok.

zahava said...

Boy can I empathize with the whole experience -- from the humor to the fear! (also loved SweetTooth's descriptions -- thanks for the link!)

When I was 26, shortly after my mother (z"l) was diagnosed with stage III overian cancer my doctor found a lump in my left "breast." The word is in quotations because I was, at that time, "mammary-gland-challenged!" Which is to say that I had a chest approximately the size of a nine-year-old boy's!

Try slinging one of THOSE mosquito bites onto the vise! HA! The technician kept saying "We need a little more boob, please!" And I kept tearfully repeating that despite the nightly recitation of the mantra "I must, I must, I must increase my bust!" the boobie-fairy passed me by BIG TIME!

YIKES! As though I hadn't been frightened enough I also had to endure inadequacy and performance-anxiety!

The final insult however, was when the radiologist informed me that due to my age, the tissue was (get THIS ONE!) TOO DENSE to read on a mammogram and that I, the inter-galactic reigning champion of needle-phobia, had to have a needle biopsy instead!

After a failed needle-biopsy, a high-level ultrasound, and 6 monthly checkups with an gyno-oncologic surgeon, I was given a clean bill of health. It was, needless to say, a HUGE relief -- especially given the ferocious nature of my mom's illness.

And my husband was my rock during the whole trauma. Though, now that I think of it, he nearly injured himself in a giggling fit trying to envision me being asked to put my breast in a clamp! (Remember, I was so under-endowed, if you squinted, you could see my shoulder blades if I was facing you!)

My fear hasn't diminished. But at least now, three babies later, I have something they can actually test! :-)

Ezer K'negdo said...

I have my first baseline mammogram in July. Glad you are ok, and makes me go in to mine with great resolve to keep up. Zahava: how scary for you - glad you were ok. How devestating in concert with the illness of your mom. I am so sorry you had to live through that.

Ezer K'negdo said...

CM: PS: LOVE the title of the post, btw.

cruisin-mom said...

jmk2006: yes, a huge relief...thanks.

Jack: thanks!

Zahava: Wow, what a story, or nightmare, I should say. And at such a young age, and with everything you were going through with your mom...so sorry that you had to go through so much. And, let's hear it for Trepp!
(by the way, 2 kids later, I still have the problem of having enough material for that clamp, if you get my drift!)

E.K.: good for you. I started at 35 with a baseline, and have been going every year since 40. If one woman reading this goes because of this post...then something even better will have come out of my experience.
Glad you like the title! (half the fun of writing my posts is finding the right picture and the right title)

wanderer said...

Phew! Breathe.

Sweettooth120 said...

Zahava, whele sitting in the waiting area, someone throw out the age old debate big vs small - which is more painful during a mammogram? Since none of us were in the "small camp", but knew we had more to flop around if need to, we kinda figure that "small" was the winner. Thanks for confirming it - very funny description.

CM - boy you guys in Los Angeles ARE REALLY into fashion. Out here in the Mid-Atlantic - we still only sport the mid-length, paper version poncho. Hey...then again, maybe we are in style...aren't those little boleros wraps still cool?

Sweettooth120 said...

(oops, sorry for my poor grammar - the little nudniks are quite the distractions!)

Val said...

Glad to hear you're ok.

cruisin-mom said...

Wanderer: coming from a doctor, I will take that as sound medical advice!

S.T.: fashion before all, here in L.A.!

Val: Welcome! and thanks :)

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Yes that is scary but gr8 it turned out ok.

Ralphie said...

What everyone is missing here is that CM anticipated the poncho comeback but failed to capitalize on her premonition. You lost a windfall there, lady.

PsychoToddler said...

I try to refer women to places where they read the mammogram while you're there, in case they need the extra views. I know such places exist in LA (I toured one a few years back).

cruisin-mom said...

swfm: couldn't agree more! Thanks

Ralphie: Yay, you came by!...and tell me about it...I'd be swimming in poncho profits.

P.T. Yes, there are places like that...and actually, I don't mind that I was called back a week later, I'm very glad that they were closely observing. And the fact that they didn't leave me hanging while I was there for the retake, is a good thing.