Dangerous Compassions

I get to keep them

Hey, great news.  I had a special mammogram and breast ultrasound.  Then a doctor looked at my test results, and the doctor says they’re normal.  There’s no cause for concern.  The breast pain and other issue are not worrisome, not cancer.  So glad I get to keep them.

Yay!  Breasts are here to stay!  When the pain was bad, it scared me.  My midwife told me a few times, “Breasts just hurt sometimes.”  I didn’t like that–no explanation.


I giggled in the car on the way to my appointment.

“What’s funny?” Ming asked.

“Oh, I was just thinking–what if mammograms were special messages that breasts could send to other breasts?  Like if my breasts wanted to tell your breasts something.”

“Oh, like a…”

“Like a telegram,” I said.  “For breasts.”  I laughed some more.  “What would breasts say, anyway?  Jiggle, jiggle.  I love you.  Jiggle.

the mammogram

Those gowns don’t fit me at all.  Not even close!  The little dressing room place, it was silly.  I used two gowns, but that didn’t work.

They did my whole mammogram process, but there was the usual person supervising, and a new person actually doing it, who was still learning.  I felt annoyed to endure her lack of expertise.

The worst part was when my right breast was in the machine smashed flat like a pancake, it hurt, and the tech was telling me to turn my chin more more more to the right.  But it was only physically possible to turn my chin so far, considering part of my body was trapped in a huge breast-smashing imaging device.  I tried to do what she told me, but I was not quite able to.  It confused me.

What would happen, if my chin couldn’t go far enough?  Did that mean my chin was getting dosed with a bunch of radiation?  Not knowing the reason why I’m doing something bothers me.

I felt like I should be getting paid for training this new worker.  It was much harder for me, but what was the benefit to me?  Nothing–I was a good person, helping this tech learn her trade.  Not one asked me, “Is it ok if this incompetent person learns on you?”  I was just supposed to go along with it, and I did.

the reading

Then a doctor had to read my mammogram before they could declare me done.  So they put me in this inner waiting room, but a young white guy with huge muscles was in that waiting room, and he seemed really uncomfortable with me sitting three chairs from him, with my back and shoulders exposed, as the gown didn’t fit me.


My entire back, shoulders, and sides were exposed.  The gown was just covering my breasts and tummy.  I felt vulnerable and exposed.  And the dude’s discomfort with me made me uncomfortable in response.  I txted a few friends, but the dude’s vibe was ruling the room.

I waited so long in that inner waiting room–I saw many people come and go.  Feeling anxious, thinking there was something wrong, which is why the doctor was taking so long to read my mammogram.  What upset me most was the lack of update.  I really wished the mammogram people would tell me what the heck was going on.

People were getting ready for MRIs and getting their MRIs done.  I could hear creepy MRI sounds.  Why do they sound like that?


Then an aid brought an old man back to wait in the room I was waiting in.  But the aid saw me there, picked up a chair, and had the old man wait in the hallway.

I felt weird about that, like I was too indecent for the old man to be in a room with?  Then I was like–am I supposed to be ashamed, that I’m half-naked?  But it’s not my fault the gowns don’t fit me.  I’m fat, but that’s not really so strange.  Lots of fat people are in this world.

Later I told Ming, “If they treat people like that, why do they expect us to come back?”  It was a clear example of how fat people are harmed in medical contexts, which traumatizes us–then we’re shamed for not seeking medical care when we need it.  If you want us to care for ourselves, then at least give us basic minimal decency, like gowns and chairs that fit.  Let alone respect, fair medical care, and all the other things we need.


The longer I sat there, the sadder and more anxious I got.  Some other lady got mammogrammed, the complete process, from dressing room to mammogram room back to dressing room and out.  Still I sat, not updated.

The noises were too weird; the people were too bustling.  The muscular dude had trouble with his locker.  He couldn’t get the key to work.  “I give up,” he said to no one.  His anger felt self-indulgent, and it bothered me that it bothered me.  Another young white guy annoyed me.  I was thirsty.  I hadn’t brought my water because I didn’t plan to be there for an hour and a half.

Not wanting to cry there, I thought how this often happens.  I get overwhelmed at a medical thing, and I wish Ming was with me.  Covid means I’m not supposed to bring anyone, but I’m disabled.  It’s no joke.  If everything goes smoothly, I can be ok.  But if things go wrong, I start to lose my shit.

Finally the tech told me that the doctor said they needed to re-mammogram my right breast.  I was not very verbal at that point.

This time the experienced worker did it.  She was quick and didn’t ask me to turn my chin in impossible ways.  She told me to move my body deeper into the machine, arranged my breast on the flat thing with her blue-gloved hands, squished it down, and went back to her control place to push the button.

I get to keep them

Finally I was done.  I will not explain to you the whole ultrasound process.  At least I got to lie down there, and the room was dim.  I’m getting so I know what ultrasounds will be like.

More waiting in that room, and the distant doctor told the ultrasound tech that both my mammogram and my ultrasound were normal.  Nothing unusual was detected.  My breasts are healthy.

Wow, what a roller coaster of feelings.  I walked out of that place and called Ming, who had been waiting for me that whole time.  I told him my breasts are healthy, and I was tearful from the whole experience.  As we drove home, I tried to explain how anxious I had been.

“Can you believe I’m ok?  I get to keep them!” I said, gently patting my breasts.  “So glad!  They’re my favorite!”

I txted some friends to say I’m ok and my test results were good.  Now when my breasts hurt, I don’t have to be afraid.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *