Last time I saw my doctor, she said my breast was a bit lumpy and I should get a mammogram to check it out. Following up, yesterday found me at urgent care getting my breasts squashed. After all, though it's true my breasts are babies, I'm running from 50 and it looks like it's still going to catch me in a couple of years. I'm not really the adolescent my hormones say I am.
The mammogram itself was easy. Follow directions; strip down to my waist, snuggle up to the x-ray machine, move the way the technician told me, hold breath.
Deciphering my feelings about it were – are – not.
It's the first time I've made myself so vulnerable in front of a total stranger who didn't know anything about my background, and that alone felt scary. The technician was cool and professional, though, and if she clocked me, she didn't indicate it. Nevertheless, it was a huge relief to be done and to cover up.
I also felt grateful that I could be in that position, as uncomfortable as it was.
Most of all, there is something very personal about breasts, and having a stranger handle them felt extremely vulnerable. Part of it was the impersonality of the touch on so intimate a part of me. I shut down somewhat, yet by the time it was over, I was almost shaking. It took a brief walk around the block to regain my equilibrium.
I'd like to get to the bottom of that reaction, but perhaps it doesn't matter. I did it, it's over, and so I've joined in a common experience, and it has become a part of me, just as I have become a part of something bigger, too.
That is enough.