Attack of the Mammogram Machine

When I was in high school I had a boyfriend who nicknamed my boobs Will and Denise. His parents had a cottage on the St. Lawrence River and their neighbors had 2 dogs by those names, so… that was that. I’m telling you this because 2 weeks ago I took Will and Denise for their very first mammogram. Now that I’m 40, that’s just one of the super enjoyable things I get to do along with having my cervix scraped with a wire brush once a year. 40 is rad. Get psyched 30 somethings!

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Don’t hate me ’cause you ain’t me.

I made my mammogram appointment for a Monday, because who doesn’t love to start  their week in excruciating pain? I KNOW I DO! I made sure to give Will and Denise a good scrub before I went. I even made sure I plucked their nipple hairs because I’m a friggin’ lady and I wanted my mammaries looking their best for the big day.

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Get a load of my melons.

I checked in to the radiology office and a few minutes later, the young woman who was about to smash my front muffins into crepes called me into the room. She told me to take my top and bra off and put on a paper gown. She asked if I was wearing deodorant which I thought was weird considering my armpits (both currently unnamed) live directly next door to Will and Denise. Of course I’d slathered on my men’s Speed Stick this morning. Did she want to borrow a swipe off my trusty purse deodorant? She did not. She asked me to use a wet wipe in the changing room to clean my pits so I didn’t junk up her expensive boob-crunching machine.

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Gotta get those pits camera-ready, ladies.

She showed me how she was going to use her torture device on me and then she helped me pose for Will and Denise’s first pictures. She gingerly placed Will on a thick, clear plate and said we’d start with the front facing photos. Then she grabbed a second plate called a paddle from above and JACKED THAT SHIT DOWN with 23 lbs. of pressure until Will looked like a freshly made corn tortilla. It was more painful than I thought it would be which was awesome because it was about to get worse. She VERY STERNLY instructed me to hold my breath and NOT MOVE while her chompy booby monster bit down on me. Not going to lie. It hurt. A lot.

We ran through both of Will and Denise’s front facing pictures without a problem, I mean, as long as don’t consider having two deflated footballs for boobs a problem. Then it was time to kick things up a notch with the side boob pics.

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OMG CAN’T WAIT.

For the side boob pics you should be able to contort your body into an infinity symbol like an earthworm. This is so you can stand at the proper angle to get all the right parts of the boob on the plate. This was no problem because I’ve actually got LOADS AND LOADS of side boob. Just another one of the fun gifts that the Lord hath bestowed upon me. Denise was first. We propped her up on the plate and the tech lowered the paddle of doom down on her with around 28 lbs. of pressure. I held my breath, stood still and waited for the machine to kick in. That’s when I heard a GA-GUNK. The camera in the machine didn’t rotate like it had been doing before. I looked over and the tech was staring at her laptop with a crunched up forehead. She told me to take another breath and then hold it so she could try again, ALL THE WHILE, MY POOR DENISE WAS BEING PULVERIZED LIKE A PUMPKIN IN THE BACK OF A GARBAGE TRUCK THE MORNING AFTER HALLOWEEN!

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She fired the machine again. Nothing. I thought “OH MY GOD I LIVE HERE NOW! WITH MY TIT IN THIS MAMMOGRAM MACHINE! I’LL HAVE TO HAVE MY MAIL FORWARDED. THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE TO SERVE ME MY MEALS HERE.” The tech ran from behind the machine and yells, “The machine is malfunctioning! Can you get out of it?!”

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I’m sorry. What was that?

I wasn’t prepared for her to ask me this question since mammography isn’t my area of expertise, oh and, MY FREAKING LEFT BREAST BEING MASHED INTO A FLESHY PULP RIGHT BEFORE HER EYES! No I couldn’t get out of it!!!! Not if I wanted to walk out of that office with all the boobs I walked in with!!! She tried to push me back off the machine, but Denise, being attached to my body and all, would not be torn from the machine’s powerful grasp. I should’ve left all of that nipple hair on her. She probably would’ve slid out of there lickety split! Luckily, the tech was able to pry the plate and the paddle apart with her hands and poor Denise flopped off the machine and away from its angry clutches.

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I know people who would’ve had heads rolling in that office for the machine malfunction, but I was just grateful that I was able to leave that day with all of my pieces and parts still attached. The tech apologized up and down and we actually both had a good laugh about it. I had to go back later that afternoon to have my side boob pics retaken and I’m happy to say it was without incident.

Thankfully my mammogram results were normal. As hilariously terrifying as my experience was, I promise you it was very quick. I urge all of you to suck it up and get your girls checked every year because there’s absolutely nothing funny about rolling the dice on your health.

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CODE BROWN: The Jelly Bean Incident

Long before our girl Oprah was doing yoga in a black spandex onesie on her lawn, I was on Weight Watchers. I loved it because I was on a diet but I could still have junk food. I was like a CIA operative when it came to finding sweet, guilt-free treats that I could fit into my daily points. Until one day when my skills backfired. Literally. Like, fire came out of my backside.

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Settle down, O. We got it.

It was a gorgeous, sunny, summer Friday and I was scheduled to head home from my publishing job in Manhattan at 1:00. I’d been good on my diet all week so I decided to hit up Duane Reade on the way to work to do some WW friendly intel in the candy aisle. I spotted a small bag of Jelly Belly Sugar-Free SOURS and flipped over the bag to check out the calories. It was 200 calories for the bag, which came to 3 or 4 points at the time. “Sweet!” I thought, “and sour.” CHA-CHING.

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I got to the office, settled in and immediately inhaled my bag of jelly beans. (Yes, at 9:30 am. Take your judgement elsewhere.) They were awesome. I felt like I really had my you-know-what together. A little while later, I grabbed the empty bag to take a closer look at the nutrition info so I could enter it into my WW account. That’s when I noticed it. This very small (IMO) red box on the back of the bag.

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“WARNING: CONSUMPTION MAY CAUSE STOMACH DISCOMFORT AND/OR LAXATIVE EFFECT. INDIVIDUAL TOLERANCE WILL VARY; WE SUGGEST STARTING WITH 8 BEANS OR LESS.”

Uhhhhhhhhh, I’m sorry. What was that? Was that 8 beans or less? I ask you, have you ever eaten 8 jelly beans? OR LESS? In fact, turn to the person next to you and ask them the same. If you’re on a train or a public bus or an airplane reading this, stand up and ask everyone around you. Has anyone in the history of humankind EVER eaten 8 jelly beans as a single serving? Because I ate 70 jelly beans. Yes, that’s right. 70. Roughly ten times their suggested serving.

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Yea, lady in the yellow shirt, you have no idea.

I should’ve read the package more thoroughly, but a WARNING on the back of a bag of candy was not something I thought to look for. And quite frankly, if they’re being honest, they should call the candy ASS BULLETS and the disclaimer should read “PACK A BAG FOR YOUR INTENSTINES BECAUSE THEY’LL BE LEAVING YOU SHORTLY”. And laxative effect?? I googled the jelly beans and read, to my horror, account after account of people who, like me, had mistakenly eaten the whole bag. The sugar alcohol they use in place of real sugar is no bueno on the old insides. I looked at the empty bag. OMG. WHAT HAD I DONE?

giphyI looked at the clock. 11:00 am. I was taking a 1:30 train home and would be safely at home by 3:00 p.m. I hated going #2 at work. The thought of taking a smash (<- my husband’s term) next to a co-worker and then pulling up a chair next to them at a meeting was too much for me. I briefly considered trying to throw up the jelly beans to save myself a nail biter situation, but that’s not my style. I love food too much to part with it in that manner. And my husband and I eat Taco Bell regularly, so I figured if my insides could handle their refried beans, some sugar-free jelly frijoles wouldn’t be too much of an issue. Right?

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He’s right. I was.

One o’clock rolled around and there’d been no action. I finished at the office and peaced out, optimistic that I was going to survive this shitstorm. I hopped on the Long Island Railroad and texted my husband (teacher, off for the summer) to pick me up about 10 minutes from our house. As the train pulled out of Penn Station, I felt my first gurgle. My plan was to take deep breaths, focus on the music in my headphones and not dwell on the fact that Rosemary’s Baby was brewing inside me. This worked for the first 30 minutes and then, about halfway home my stomach started cramping and making pop & whoosh sounds. With 40 minutes to go, I sat very still and accepted the fact that it had begun. I had to elevate my poop status to the emergency level – CODE BROWN.

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I tried to remain calm but as the minutes passed it began to sound like an airplane toilet was flushing in my stomach. And then it happened. I downloaded, if you will. The brown hellhound had climbed the steps and was at my back door. I WAS TOUCHING CLOTH. This is when the feverish, desperate, soul-igniting, buttcheek clenching began. I clamped those babies shut so tight, the jaws of life couldn’t have pried them open. It was my only hope. All I could think was, “I’M GOING TO EXPLODE POOP THE TRAIN.” The LIRR bathrooms are no place for an episode like this. NO PLACE. I would need to be able to sit and grip and touch and maybe sob as the demon exited my body, so I wiggled and shifted in my seat with each new snap & swirl I felt. I was sweating jelly bullets.

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I made ALL THE PROMISES to Jesus.

I don’t remember the last 15 minutes of that train ride. I think I left my body. My husband was getting the play by play via text so he was prepped. All I remember after I hit the danger zone was pulling into the station and very gingerly doing a waddle down the stairs where I saw him revving the engine of our Jeep like we’d just robbed a diarrhea bank and he was waiting for me to make our getaway. He knew what was at stake here and basically pulled away as I opened the car door and fell in. I was at CODE BROWN DEF CON. There was no time for safety. There was only speed. We were like Shitsky & Hutch.

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Please don’t crap bomb my car, babe!

We got home, I ran inside and, you guys…I made it. I made it in time. I will spare you the particulars but you should know that I expelled things from my body that day that had probably been there since junior high, maybe even elementary school. I was sweaty and light-headed and I felt like I would pass out, but I didn’t. I made it. I believe that’s the closest I’ve ever been to meeting God. I leaned against the cold bathroom wall and I talked to Him. “OMG THANK YOU GOD. THANK YOU GOD IF YOU’RE REAL. THANK YOU FOR NOT LETTING ME BLOW OUT MY JEANS ON THE LONG ISLAND RAILROAD. THANK YOU FOR NOT LETTING ME DIARRHEA GREG’S JEEP. THANK YOU FOR THE EXQUISITE SPHINCTER AND BUTTCHEEK STRENGTH WHICH I PROBABLY GET FROM MY DAD’S SIDE. AMEN.”

I still love me some sweets, but since that day, I keep my eye out for warning labels. I tell any of my friends who are getting colonoscopies that they should eat these jelly beans instead of drinking that awful stuff the doctors make you drink to cleanse your colon. These taste a lot better and I can guarantee they’ll leave your colon sparkling clean.

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