Girls, it wasn't bad at all. More pressure than pain and nothing that actually HURT.
My good friend Michelle gave me the best little nugget of information when she told me that I should expect them to call me back for a second mammogram. Since I had never had one before and they had nothing to compare it to she said it's pretty common.
So sure enough, I get the results and was told that my right breast was perfectly clear. Nothing to worry about there. But the left breast had some asymmetrical density that they wanted to get a better look at.
So I make an appointment for the day after Christmas - first thing in the AM. I trudge over to St Vincent's Breast Center. Thankfully they got me right in. I had to "disrobe" from the waist up and was told to put on this little half gown/shirt thing. This hospital gown/shirt had the world's most complex system of strings to hold it shut. I didn't think I'd ever figure out how that thing worked. When I came out and locked my possessions in the locker, I told the rad tech that the shirt had to have been designed by a man who wasn't about to have a diagnostic mammogram! She chuckled and admitted that people are confused by all the strings and what should be tied to what.
Anywhoooo, This time they wanted to look at a specific area so the mammogram machine was positioned a little differently, the paddles they used were different and she cranked down on it a little tighter. We both wanted to get the best image possible and I have a really high tolerance for pain, so I told her to go for it, get it as flat as she could. We got 3 really good images that showed what looked like a cyst. Still girls, this didn't hurt at all. I have very full breasts and believe me this baby was smashed flat, but still no pain, just pressure and not unbearable at all.
When they do a diagnostic mammogram, they have a radiologist there to read the films on the spot - so I was told, "you'll know the diagnosis today". Oh good!
They cart me off, still wearing my little hospital gown-like shirt, to the "you might have cancer" waiting room with the comfortable couch, TV, a few magazines and 2 boxes of Kleenex strategically placed within reach.
Within a few minutes she was back to tell me that "I had been cured." Funny, I didn't know I was sick! As we were walking toward the dressing room, another gal runs toward us and says, "Wait! He wants an ultrasound!!!"
So off we go to the ultrasound room with the calming leaf shaped light on the ceiling. She digs around at "1:00 just north of the nipple" and finds a pretty good sized cyst. She reassured me these are always benign and they just want to record its size and then keep track of it the rest of my life. The radiologist gets on the phone and looks at the ultrasound while I'm laying there and tells her "tell her she has a cyst and she's fine."
So girls, the moral of this story is - go get your mammogram. It doesn't hurt and they are able to see microscopic little things that can be precancerous which makes your chances of a full recovery so much greater. It's reassuring to know that nothing is going on in there. So, be sure you do your breast exam every month and go for that dreaded exam, it's not bad and it's worth it to know you're ok.