Preparing for Your First Mammogram

Many women are apprehensive about their first mammogram, but there is really no need to worry. By taking a few minutes each day for a week before the exam and doing the following practice exercises, you will be prepared for the test. Best of all, you can do these simple practice exercises right in your own home.

Open your refrigerator door and insert one breast between the door and the main compartment. Have one of your friends shut the door as much as possible and lean heavily on it for good measure. Hold that position for five seconds. Repeat in case the first time wasn’t effective enough. Repeat for second breast. This exercise is most effective if you have a refrigerator/freezer combination with the freezer compartment on top.

Go into your garage at 3 AM when the temperature of the cement floor is just perfect. Open the garage door. Take off all your clothes and lie comfortably on the floor with one breast on the ground directly underneath the open garage door. Ask a friend to repeatedly close the heavy garage door on your breast until your breast is sufficiently flattened and chilled. Turn around and repeat for the other breast. If your garage door is equipped with linear optical or pressure obstruction safety sensors, disable them prior to testing. Many garage door openers will override the safety mechanisms if you simply hold down the close button on the wall. If you are unable to get the garage door to apply enough uncomfortable pressure, ask your friend to slowly roll back and forth over your breast while they are sitting on a bicycle with wide smooth tires, such as a beach cruiser.

Photo © Lucy Rose

Purchase a pair of handscrew wood clamps, or if you are running low on funds, visit your local high school’s woodshop and ask the instructor to have the students create a set of wood-and-bolt H-clamps (as pictured), selecting the heaviest and bulkiest of the lot. Make sure they are well sanded to avoid splinters. Wet them in the sink, and then store them in your freezer overnight. Ask a neighbor to tighten the clamps as hard as they can while you hold your breasts in place. At this third stage, it is important that you choose a neighbor who is more of a casual acquiantance than a friend. If you are unable to locate a neighbor, ask the high school woodshop teacher.

Freeze two metal bookends overnight. Strip to the waist. Invite a stranger into the room. Press the bookends against one of your breasts. Smash the bookends together as hard as you can. Repeat on your second breast. Set an appointment with the stranger to meet next year to do it again.

You are now properly prepared for your first mammogram.

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