Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Nutcracker Suite

Yesterday, my morning began with something I have been dreading for nearly two months. My gynecologist, whom I have known since fifth grade, is a very good doctor, and she always makes me feel good about what I’m doing to take care of myself. However, when she wants to prod me into doing more (for instance, exercising more), she has a way of using the pronoun we instead of you. She likes to use phrases such as “We’ve reached that age. . .” and “At our age, we really need to. . . .” So, at my visit with her early last month, it was with this tactic that she persuaded me to undergo my first mammogram. She assured me that it wasn’t really all that bad and that she didn’t dislike it nearly as much as that other part of the yearly checkup. I wasn’t exactly convinced, but I decided to go along with it.

Some man who hates women must have invented this torturous procedure. While it didn’t hurt as badly as I imagined it could have, I have nonetheless decided that I will likely not do it again. Surely, a monthly self exam is good enough. If a self exam is good enough for men—you know, guys, that you should examine your testicles periodically—then it should be good enough for women. However, if the medical establishment insists that an x-ray image of the breast is the best way to detect those little breast cancers early, then it stands to reason that men would need to detect testicular cancer early using the same method. In fact, in the interest of promoting healthy families, couples could make appointments together, and her mammogram and his “testigram” could be done at the same time, in the same room even. First the wife could have her mammogram, and then the husband could get his testigram done on the same machine. Besides being a great bonding experience, it would be very practical to do them together because after the exam, the wife would have to push the man back to the car in a wheelchair and drive him home.

On second thought, maybe that much togetherness is not a good idea. After all, when you have to go through a mammogram first thing in the morning, the last thing you want to do is take care of an incapacitated man that afternoon. No, a day of shopping and a nice lunch is a great reward after the torture of the morning.


Tony Arnold said...

Let me get this straight JMG: the mammogram is not pleasant therefore you feel men should have their testicles squeezed between two plates just as women have to endure with their breasts.

I am sorry it is not a fun process but that is no reason to want to torture us.


I have wondered why with certain cancers, such as prostate cancer, blood tests provide early detection but not with breasts.

Tony Arnold said...

p.s. to everyone else reading, I was joking and I am sympathetic of the mammogram. I know JMG would take it the right way, but intention is hard to read in print.

Also, JMG, please do not cease in getting an annual mammogram. It is the best method for protecting yourself against breast cancer. Surely the uncomfortable test is endurable in order to stay healthy. Talk to someone female confidants who have had breast cancer before you quite having the mammograms.

Your friend, Tony

Justin said...

I will admit that I am a novice at all these types of tests, but it seems to me with the minutia of knowledge (is that phrase correct?) that I possess about anatomy, that breast tissue is more dense, making it more difficult to distinguish tumors? I mean, I'm sure there's some guy out there with elephantitis that has testicles that are as dense as breasts, but for most of us, they are not quite that large (praise jesus).

Is that not the reason a mammogram is required rather than just doing self examinations?

JMG said...

Justin, you might be right; I have no idea.

Everyone, I write (mostly) in jest with this post. I have recently heard of a new process for obtaining a mammogram which does not involve the torturous squeezing. Why it took so long to come up with this new method is beyond me. And the fact that I know about it but it isn't available to me is maddening.

Tony, I'll probably go again when my doctor prods me into it again. I don't think my insurance will pay for it again until I'm 40 anyway.