“Men have breast tissue, too,” said my doctor, a woman. And I got this little cyst or lump or something. So there I am today in Radiology, the only man in the waiting room. I don’t know if the thing is benign or not, but the muzak they’re playing is positively toxic. Hell, for me, would be an eternity of canned music. One tinny, one cloned musical cyst after another. Suspiciously benign music. Lumpy music made up of… I hate being here…
Women over 40 get these things, mammograms, every year, says the technician. Only one man in 500 gets breast cancer? Is that what she said? Or only one man in 500 gets to get a mammogram? Better my male breast tissue than my nuts. X-ray technican holds and squeezes my “whatever” into position so she can shoot the first of four x-rays. She sticks little “nipple dots” (“nipple markers”) on the places where the little cyst(s) might be hanging out. I put my arm up, first the left arm, then (later) the right and lean into this contraption, we shift around, struggling, plump technician and I… together we try to produce enough of something to be squeezed into immobility and x-rayed. What the fuck! And I don’t mind her squeezing me. It’s an odd way to spend your morning. We do a little dance. She leads, I follow… it’s all about getting my breast tissue into position. It’s a struggle… we finally get it done.
Then the wait for… we need to find out if she needs to do it again, if the first set of x-rays don’t work out. So I wait. Lying down. Sitting up. Dressing. Preparing to leave. Then simply waiting. Room has a pink orchid, possibly real. But stiff and unlife like. It wears a label:www.shopflower.com. And there’s a can of Suave, “fights sweat… 24-hour protection.”
And a copy of the Ladies Home Journal. What am I gonna do? My mother used to read this thing and I did too… years ago the Journal actually published some decent fiction. This issue offers “125 Beauty Boosters.” It’s for women. “Can This Marriage Be Saved? The Case of the Boring Husband.” And, to round things out, “Sizzling Summer Cookouts!” plus, just what we all need, “Fatal Drug Side Effects (What Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You.)”
Still waiting. One pink wall and three cream-colored walls and x-ray room itself is the size of a prison cell. Pink gowns…
X-ray machine has a name, the manufacturer? ” Lorad – M-IV” it says on the glass (?) shield to protect technician as she shot those images. Yeah, how am I going to know where I am if I don’t write these things down? catalog… it’s a way of paying attention. A kind of writer’s x-ray?
I read somewhere that men, aeons ago, were equipped to suckle their young. That’s why we still got nipples.
Read Sutter Cancer Center newsletter / brochure – “Healing Journeys” –
“Cancer or any life-altering illness can be viewed as both a curse and a blessing.
If viewed simply as a disease of the body, it is experienced only as a curse.
When we view illness in the context of the whole person (body, mind, emotions and spirit), we see its transformative potential as an awakening for the soul and spirit. Only then can we see it as a blessing and utilize its gifts.”