The Mammography experience – the wait

The Mammography experience - DinoW

Welcome to my world, the dinoWorld (The Mammography experience).

We won’t talk now about the sacrosanct yearly visit to the gynecologist. It’s always gruesome and we’ll delve deeper into it after we exhaust some chapters, which are exclusive to the dinoW experience. The dinoWg (dinoW girls) will play an important role in a while.


We’re back to the moment you turn 40, the true “middle” of middle age. It’s a crucial moment because it’s the beginning of an era, the era of heartaches, headaches and all the small things that will start to make you feel as a “desperate housewife” -even if you work- dinoW. 



You’ve certainly read somewhere that when you reach the age of 40 you need to start doing a mammography to check if you might have breast cancer. The screening will reveal any microscopic small growth that might become a risk on your life; in short you need to do it to detect Cancer, the C word that creates havoc in every human mind although we all know that there are more deadly diseases. Have you ever wondered why it’s the ultimate nightmare? I think that the reason lays in our subconscious and genes going back to the first time the word “cancer” got its definition: ORIGIN Old English, from Latin, ‘crab or creeping ulcer’, translating Greek Karakinos, said to have been applied to such tumors because the swollen veins around them resembled the limbs of a crab.”

Indeed; in French the word “cancer” means “crab”.

No wonder we’re so afraid of cancer. Imagine having crabs biting us and causing so much pain and fear… No one likes the shape of a crab, any crab!


So at 40 you’re facing the first of many sneaky bites, which will grow with you, the older you get. Am I too dark? Is it all-bad after 40? Of course not but, in this instance we’re talking about the moment we start facing our most secret fears. We’re just venting our frustrations and miseries. Later we’ll talk about the benefits of turning 40.


Let’s face it. One of the most unnerving experiences you’ll face is your first mammography. I’m sure many of us have gone through similar tense moments.


It all starts before the first visit. Whispered tales overheard from older women, sisters, friends…the whole process is a bit vague in your mind but you know for sure that it won’t be pleasant. You won’t be delivering a baby! No pain there but, not an entertaining moment either. You feel it will be a bit like the first time you paid a visit to the gynecologist.


You’re waiting in the reception area, a bit tense and lost. You were told that they would call your name when it’s your turn.


For the first time you face your own mortality. You’ve had bouts of this feeling every time you learn that someone has cancer or whenever you lose a loved one because of this disease but you never came face to face with “reality”, never like this. Feeling that one door separates you from the X-ray, which will decide your fate: “To be or not to be, to be with cancer or not to be with cancer!” You’ve been so busy with your life you’ve forgotten you’re mortal.


Enough with those morbid thoughts! You look around you. No one sitting there is at ease. You try to read into their expression. This one has many envelopes and seems an old hand with this process. She looks worried. Is she afraid to learn of her results? Does she know? Is she having “chemo”? No, she’s got all her hair. The other two dinoWs are looking vapidly at the T.V. The one sitting next to you is very poised but her expression is forlorn and she keeps on clenching and unclenching her hands. Not very reassuring all of them!


You become restless, look at your watch every 2 minutes. Every woman is eyeing the others from under her lashes. You notice that the age group is mainly 45 and above. Another pang in the belly! You are 40 no doubt about it. Your tension is sky high now. It’s official, you’re angry and fed up. You’ve been waiting for 40 min (is it a coincidence?). You go to the reception and ask the busybody full of her own importance when will it be your turn. Looking through you, she answers testily that she will call you when the time comes. Did you see her exchange an exasperated look with her colleague?


Back to your place. 15 min later you hear your name. A girl comes to fetch you and guide you to the X-ray room. Don’t they train them to smile? Don’t they feel the tension? Are they too young to care? Now you’re asked to sit once again to wait with 3 ladies for your turn. What is this? Slow torture? The women are visibly tense and don’t bother with chitchat. Who would? The nurse comes to escort one of the ladies. She wishes the rest good luck. Every one returns the compliment sincerely. Sisterhood facing adversity? Absolutely! You’ve never been more sincere towards a complete stranger. Did you feel that if the results were good for her they would be for you as well?


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