The Big SQUEEZE: Flat-Chested Woman v The Mammogram
by Hannah Keeley
It was that time of year. The time I always dread, and for good reason.
It was time to get a mammogram.
Some women dread getting a mammogram because it’s basically like cramming your boobs into a tortilla press, not a pleasant experience. For me, it’s not so much because of my boobs, but because of the fact that I don’t have any.
Okay, let me clarify. I have boobs. It’s one of those phenomenons like people have “kindness” or “integrity.” You know it’s got to be there, somewhere. It’s just not very apparent. In fact, it verges on nonexistent.
When it comes to my boobs…
I’m no stranger to humiliation. Going through adolescence was downright traumatic, especially when you figured in the drama that went on in the girls’ changing room. Yes, I was that girl–the one who changed clothes in the toilet stall while all the other girls were bouncing their bodacious bods around the room.
They had real bras. I had a white stretchy number with two pink tennis rackets on the front. It was called, the “Gro Bra,” Only problem was, I didn’t gro into it. I waited patiently for years. At twelve, there was hope. At thirteen, I kept my fingers crossed and kept looking at my image in the mirror while standing sideways, hoping there would be some type of curve. Just a simple little fat deposit, and I would be happy. Fourteen, nothing but nipple. Fifteen, I figured I was a late bloomer.
By the time I graduated high school, I had given up hope. I was still going strong in the Gro Bra, only by now the tennis rackets had worn off. My Gro Bra was like the gravy boat in my mom’s china cabinet. It never served any real purpose, but it’s nice to know it’s there. Staring at you. Every. Single. Day.
Now, seven kids later, I fondly remember those years when I was breastfeeding my children as the period of time when I was actually able to wear a real bra. I distinctly recall one day when I was running down the stairs and I…jiggled! It was an incredible moment for me. It still brings tears of joy to my eyes.
But, alas, the fleeting moments of breastfeeding bliss are gone; and now the only jiggle happens below the bra line. No, my milkshakes do NOT bring the boys to the yard. If the boys are coming to the yard, it usually means there’s weeding or raking that needs to be done!
I was recalling all this on my way to the hospital, and as I turned into the parking lot, I began freaking out because I couldn’t remember what bra I was wearing. It wasn’t the Gro Bra. Those years were long gone. Now, I was relegated to buying my bras in the little girls underwear section. Does anyone understand how demeaning it is for a 45-year-old woman to wear a bra with Dora the Explorer on it? There was that one time when I found a grown-up bra that actually fit me! When I went to check out, That moment of pride was crushed when the tag flipped over, revealing the name “Precious Littles.” So, after forty years I had graduated from the “Gro Bra” to “Precious Littles”–quite the accomplishment!
I walked up to the office and was told by a nice woman with a clipboard to take off everything from the waist up, put on a smock, and take a seat. It was just me and my precious littles, waiting anxiously for the tortilla press.
Then came that nauseating moment when the clipbaord lady called my name. I couldn’t swallow. I couldn’t breathe. Visions of pink tennis rackets were doing the “milkshake dance” through my head.
She motioned for me to step up the the tortilla press, I mean, the mammogram machine, and instructed me to place my breast on the platform.
I just looked at her. “I don’t have a breast,” I said, very matter-of-factly..
“Oh, come on, you’ve got to have something,” she replied.
Clipboard lady began to man-handle my body like nothing I had previously experienced. She started from my midriff and began pulling as much fat as she could find on my body in an upward direction, toward the mammogram platform. It was like kneading pale, white bread dough into place. Anchoring the fat with one hand, she then used her other hand to pull down all the fat she could find on my body, starting from from my jowls and moving downward. With sheer will and force, Clipboard Lady was actually able to create a breast where none had existed before.
It was a Christmas miracle. And it wasn’t even Christmas at the time. She held the manufactured breast in place until the tortilla press came down and squished it into a small, flat semi-circle. There it was–proof that I actually had a breast! She repeated the incredible feat on the other side. In only minutes, I had actually grown boobs. Sure, they were constructed from fat accumulated from my jowls and waistline, but they were there just the same.
Then, as quickly as the miracle happened, it was gone.
The tortilla press opened up, and all the fat quickly dispersed to its appropriate places. I was boob-less once again.
And that was it. My mammogram was over. I tossed the smock in the hamper and put back on my clothes. My body was a bit sore at the fierce man-handling, but me and my precious littles pulled together what small amount of dignity we had left over, and headed out to the parking lot. I put my shoulders back and held my head up high, knowing that if it ever came down to it, I had proof that I actually had boobs. It was only for only a few seconds, yes, but they were seconds that will live in my mind forever.
Or at least for a year until my next mammogram appointment.
I know I usually pull all my posts together with scripture, so here it is:
“We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts” (Song of Solomon 8:8).
If there’s hope for that sister, there’s hope for me! Now, go make your mammogram appointment–boobs or not! You are precious and you are so needed! Don’t neglect that vital thing called self-care! Are you ready to take action? Leave a comment below and share what you are doing to take good care of yourself, including making an appointment to get your mammogram. Make that commitment, share it, and follow through.
Hannah Keeley was once in overwhelmed mom living in a cluttered house, deep in debt, out of shape, and barely hanging on. But one day, after finding herself sobbing uncontrollably into a pile of clean laundry, she realized God has bigger and better plans for her (just like He does for each one of His children). Beginning that day, she began making changes in her life that took her from overwhelmed to overjoyed. Today, she’s helping moms do the same. Hannah, her husband, Blair, and their seven children live in Richmond, Virginia, and are having the time of their lives!
Check out Hannah’s Website Here!