Mammograms and Pap Tests: The Highs Of Being A Middle-Aged Woman

I’m going for a Mammogram next week. I thought I’d treat myself.

Mammograms and Pap TestsDon’t misunderstand me, I know they’re important. Why else would I choose to go?

It’s just another one of those truly fun activities we women are subjected to in middle-age. Mammograms sit slightly above the pap test and just below the menopausal flush on the scale of public female humiliations.

I’ve never been particularly comfortable about flopping out my boobs to any Tom, Dick or Harry. When I was younger I worried that they were too inadequate to display publicly; now I am older, they are just too embarrassingly low-slung.

It defies belief now, but in my younger days I actually went through a phase of blatantly unleashing my (then) buoyant breasts on the beaches in France. They have since become awkwardly shy of publicity – age and responsibility have weighed them down.

These days I just want to hide and protect them from the world, rather like aged parents, lest they are looked on in pity.

Even though the feminist in me says that I should be proud of this part of my body that has nourished my children (no matter how they look aesthetically), the narcissist in me still envies pert breasts and would like to buy shares in Wonderbra.

It takes getting used to, this whole aging thing. There are constant reminders when you become ‘a certain age’, no matter how many products and fancy clothes you buy to disguise the ageing process.

That’s not to disparage these tests, of course – Mammograms and pap smears are vitally important in terms of early detection of women’s cancers – but it might actually be possible that mammograms are even more awkward than pap smears.

Why do we women have to endure these mortifyingly invasive procedures at a time when we no longer want to open our legs or get our tits out?

Couldn’t there be a simple blood or urine test, say?

Frankly, I would prefer to stick needles in my eyes than have to lift one lifeless breast after the other onto that cold plate and watch it get ironed to the density of a pancake.

But then again, what’s the choice?

Pap smears are just as bad now that my lady bits are no longer the shape God originally gave me – the results of being resculpted by childbirth.

The mere mention of the word ‘speculum’ brings me out in a rash. And it’s never warm, no matter what they promise.

But at least I have a meditative formula for coping with pap smears now – I lie back, think of England and simply pretend it’s not happening. Actually, after twenty years of marriage that formula could come in quite handy at other times too now….

One gyny threw me off guard once though, by making me face the wall while he took me from behind….which was awkward, to say the least.

How could you ever become blasé about a complete stranger, (albeit professional), saying to you, ‘now part your legs, please’, when you’re not aroused?

And you have to trim the garden in preparation.

I once went to a gynaecologist who had pretty pictures on the wall to take his patients minds off having a large cold metal instrument thrust up their vajayjays without any foreplay.

I reckon Theon had it easy in Game of Thrones in terms of medieval torture.

But retribution could be at hand, due to the increasing prevalence of testicular cancer. Maybe us women could help our fellow man out and design some form of early detection  apparatus for them too – for purely medical reasons obviously – so we can catch the disease earlier and save more lives.

I’m thinking something along the lines of a nut cracker style device……

16 thoughts on “Mammograms and Pap Tests: The Highs Of Being A Middle-Aged Woman

  1. This is a great post Louisa, made me laugh! Especially the image of ‘breasts like pancakes’ – so true, and painful by the way!! Mammograms & pap smears are a very intrusive, but necessary part of our lives unfortunately.


  2. I had a gyno who had nylon butterflies hanging above the table.

    That having you lay on your stomach is just weird. I would not have been game.


  3. I,, unfortunately, have a lump that is rediscovered by my physician when ever I have a physical. I swear that woman loves to hide that finger from the light. The last time she did this it took so long I thought for sure she was going to light a cigarette!
    The specialist was worse. She slid this cable up the business end of my penis. Talk about switching jobs. Her nurse said there would be some discomfort. DISCOMFORT MY ASS.


    1. Actually, I’d forgotten men have to endure the cable or swab up the penis – maybe that should be mandatory once a year just so they feel like they’re sharing the pain in some way.


      1. Haha. I’m not shy about revealing my identity, but I guess I just don’t mention myself too often in the third person. 🙂 Do you have a Facebook account? If you would like to add me as a friend (and this offer is extended to anyone else reading this comment), this is my FB link.


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  5. The fact that guys don’t regularly get poked and prodded in sensitive places might actually make it worse if and when something in those parts does go wrong.

    Starting with a doctor rolling my balls around and then having them ultrasounded and then re-examined I found all the attention on my testicles all very disquieting. For most of my life they were just things that sort of took care of themselves. Then, within a matter of weeks, they were the center of attention. And then, unfortunately, gone. Even then, though, there was unwanted attention, the pinnacle being a nurse checking my (empty) scrotum for bruising.

    At least now I don’t have to worry about your nutcracker… 😉


    1. I hadn’t thought about that, which is why there is such a need to promote awareness for testicular cancer, doctors checks and self-checks so that men get used to talking about intimate stuff.


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