Mammopanic! (with a side of shopping)

There’s nothing like a normal mammogram to make you want to go shopping.  Especially when it’s one of those dreaded mammogram “call-backs.”  Not that I’m an expert or anything, since this was only my second mammogram ever, even though I’m 45.

I know, I know.  But I had my first one early — before age 40, so I thought I deserved extra credit points and permission to delay the second.  Plus I was waiting for the whole 40-versus-50, should-we-or-shouldn’t-we, Great Mammogram Debate to play out.  (I’m also still waiting for colonoscopies to be replaced by those nifty handheld scanning devices from Star Trek, but that’s another story).

But anyway, I finally did it.  And of course they wanted to track down the old films from my previous mammogram, almost 9 years earlier.  And of course, breast tissue changes in that time (in case we hadn’t noticed).  So they needed a second mammogram, to look more closely at those changes.  This is — of course — perfectly normal and no cause for panic!

Yeah, right.  It didn’t help that, at every stage of this process, my regular doctor’s office called just to make sure that I followed through on all the testing recommendations.  (Clearly, I’ve been flagged as reluctant mammogrammer and, therefore, a flight risk). So there have been multiple calls to my house, multiple messages left, from multiple practitioners, asking me to call back about my mammogram.

I don’t know about you, but the phrase “call back about your mammogram” fills me with panic.

Which is why I found myself frantically calling the mammogram center from my car at 3:56 pm on a Friday afternoon, terrified that I’d miss them and have to wait all weekend to find out why they called me and if they had any results.  I did this even as the rational part of my brain realized that my chances of dying from breast cancer are much lower than my chances of dying in a car accident while stupidly using the phone.

But now it’s done.  I’ve been let off the hook for another year.  And now that I know what to expect, maybe I won’t panic next time. (Note to self: call-backs can be harmless).

So on the way home, I stopped at one of my favorite consignment boutiques.  Even though I say it’s one of my favorites, I must admit that shopping here is not usually as much fun as I think it will be.

Part of the problem is that the store is really, really small.  They have a pretty good selection, but items are bursting forth from every nook and cranny  — overflowing from hangers, perched on top of the racks, hanging from hooks on the ceiling.  The displays are appealing, but I always feel like I have ADD when I’m there.  I try to move methodically through the sections, but something always glitters at the edge of my peripheral vision — calling me over — so that I get distracted and have to keep retracing my steps.

The store is also often crowded, making it that much harder to maneuver through the merchandise (to say nothing of the limited fitting rooms).  So even as I feel torn in a million different directions, certain that I’m missing something great around the corner, my progress is often impeded by those pesky other shoppers.

I always try on several items when I’m there, but I always feel like I’ve somehow missed several other possibilities.

All of these things happened today.  The store was crowded even though it was a Monday, during work hours (hey, I’ve done my homework; I know when to shop).  In addition to the usual random assortment of mid-day shoppers, there was  a young woman shopping for a dress with her parents.  Soon she tried one that was absolutely stunning, which caused a crowd to gather.  (“Oh, my goodness, that’s gorgeous!”  “It was made for her!”  “Look at that fit!”)

The only one who wasn’t convinced was, naturally, the young woman herself, much to her mother’s consternation.  (“What are you waiting for?  What do you think you’ll find that’s better than this?”)

Meanwhile, I was busy trying to shoehorn myself past the entourage and into the fitting room, carefully toting an armful of what can only be called completely dysfunctional tops.

Every last one of them presented some stupid, annoying obstacle.  Two of them had floppy little ties around the neck that didn’t lie right.  Another had a built-in sash that — for the life of me — I could not figure out how to tie.  (It was so long!  And so low on the blouse! Was it supposed to wrap around?  Were there holes for it to fit through?).

The last top I tried had one of those built-in camis underneath.  You know the kind I’m talking about, right?  The kind that gets all tangled up, or turned inside out, so that you can barely figure out how to get the darn thing on?  Yes, that’s the one!  And if you foolishly persist — untangling it, differentiating the armholes from the neckhole, and wriggling into it — then you have to use Houdini-esque maneuvers to fight your way out of it.

And you know — as a wriggled my way out of that last top, I had the strangest sensation that I’d been here before.  I think I’ve tried on many dysfunctional tops in many consignment stores.  Do you think that women give up these clothes precisely because they are such a pain in the ass?  I’ll bet they do.

In any event, on this particular day, having just emerged from the mammography center, I was not thrilled to segue from boob-squishing to torso-contorting.

So I decided to move on.

I did grab this vest for $9,

but I broke all the rules because I don’t love love it.  I like vests.  I need pieces to layer and add interest to outfits.  This has colors that will blend well with what I have.  And the vest fits me well.  But I didn’t LOVE it.  Plus, it’s by Talbot’s, which has always given me pause.  I’ve just never seen myself as a Talbot’s kind of gal.  We shall see.

On the way out, for good measure, I tried on a really cute shoe that was perched on top of a rack.  It was a stacked-heel sandal, the kind that I want to wear with jeans.  It felt comfortable.  Holy cow!  So I took a step.  And guess what?

It squeaked.

Time to give it up and head home.


About Anne @ The Frump Factor

Reflections on beauty and style, for women who weren't born yesterday. Bring your sense of humor and "Fight the Frump" with me!
This entry was posted in Fashion, Humor, Over40, Shopping and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Mammopanic! (with a side of shopping)

  1. I think after the traumatizing experience of a mammogram…which I also am known to be a flight risk from….you should do the following:
    1. Go get a wonderful drink…Starbuck’s or Sonic…whereever
    2. Yes, go to a consignment shop, but make sure you walk away with fun earrings or bracelets or necklace…you just can’t go wrong with the satisfaction a great accessory gives…then a bad clothing experience won’t sting as much…

    Then go home and put your feet up and tell EVERYONE else in the house that you need quiet time to unwind.

    That should help…but I also do not rush back!!

    • I DO like how you think! I definitely should have looked at accessories. They had some nice ones, but I couldn’t focus! I’ll have to make a trip back and look only at those. If only this shop were on my way home from work…..

  2. I’m so happy to have found your blog. So funny! I’m staring down the barrel of my next mammogram–never thought of it as an excuse to go shopping, but now I know better. Thanks for setting me straight!

  3. GingerR says:

    That vest looks like you – I think you’ll find things to wear it with.

    I’ve had encounters with the mammogram people before and it’s my belief that when Friday afternoon rolls around and the doctors have all ducked out early that the office staff sets about clearing out the decks for next weeks’ onslaught.

    They have a sixth sense about what number to call to avoid actually talking to you. They don’t really want to talk to you because they aren’t the doctor and can’t answer your frantic questions; they want you to fret about it all weekend so you’ll call them back next week when they’ve got the dedicated receptionist at the desk and she, who knows less than nothing about you and your situation, can make an appointment.

    If you work they call your home. If you’re at home and they have a work number they call there. It’s a plot!

    • Interesting theory! The kicker is: they sent a letter to my house, requesting the repeat mammogram, which didn’t arrive until after I’d already had the test (I got in there as quickly as I could!) This letter had EXACTLY the soothing, 2- sentence disclaimer that I was looking for. So why couldn’t they have just read it to me over the phone? Grrrrr……

  4. Angie says:

    It’s one of these periods when life stands still and fear and worries take over and you realise how lucky you’ve been until now and what the important things in life are only to forget when you get the results and everything is fine!
    As for the shopping bad experience concider it a learning experience and never spend money again on things you don’t like even if it is little.
    Make a list and when you feel like splurging follow it.

  5. Anne, you make any experience so real to us readers! It’s like you are walking in our heads. So glad you made it through the breast-smooshing and cold hands of the mammo.
    There’s a little consignment shop just a half block from me that sounds just like yours. It makes me happy and dizzy at the same time. Where do all these clothes come from?? Somethimes I get overwhelmed and buy a pair of earrings for $5. : >

  6. Paula says:

    I’m glad that at least the mamm worked out good~sorry about the consignment shop! You made me laugh about the attached cami tops–SO TRUE! I always avoid them–you can never figure out how to get them on and off!
    Mamm’s are always so stressfull; I’ve never gotten used to them. Oh, well.

  7. denise:) says:

    I am amazed when people find fabulous things at consignment shop. For me, it’s setting me up for failure – for all the reasons you describe. I liken it to “The Place Where Pretty Clothes with a Problem” go to die!! Of course the squeaky shoes and torture shirts were there!! 😉

    Lots of people have the eye and can create amazing homes or wardrobes with the consignment shop treasures. I’m not one of them, but I do admire those have the strength and vision to do it.

    Mammograms- skip the coffee or soda and head straight for the local bar – they require much stronger libations!! Or ice cream… Glad everything’s okay.

  8. Gail says:

    Over here in the UK we’re not offered mammograms until we’re 50+ so still have that to come!

    What is it with you and squeaky shoes??

  9. jo says:

    Sometimes clothes aren’t just pieces of clothing—maybe everytime you wear this vest, you’ll think back to the day of your mamo and remember that it was a good day!! Glad to hear everything turned out OK.

  10. Sharon J says:

    I love the vest. I love the colours. And it goes so well with the shirt you’re wearing. I really hope you grow to love it.

    Here in the UK we don’t have mammograms until we’re 50. I had mine this year and was clear. I did have one back in my 20s because of a lump that wasn’t anything after all, but I’ve no even considered having once since. My breast tissue has most definitely changed since then. They now remind me which was south is.

    • Hee! Too true, too true. I actually wore the vest the other day, buttoned, and got a couple of nice compliments. (Note to self: buttoned-up vest = slimming!) I liked how it looked, too. So I think it may work!

  11. Ha ha! I cracked up on your description of trying on the top. I’ve done that and come out of the dressing room sweaty and disheveled like I’ve just wrestled an alligator. And if it’s a really tiny dressing room my elbows bang into the walls and it sounds like I actually AM wrestling an alligator!

  12. Terri says:

    Mammograms have been a pet peeve of mine ever since a clerical error resulted in an unneeded trip to a surgeon for a possible biopsy. The surgeon was FURIOUS when he discovered the error.

    You may not love-love-love the vest, but given the colors in it, I’ll bet that you’ll wear it lots.

    • I think you’re right about the vest and the colors, not to mention mammograms. I was just browsing a book, “Overdiagnosed…..” (by H. Gilbert Welch), with a fairly compelling account of why regular screening mammograms might not be as beneficial as we think. Plus I’ve been hearing from all these women in England who don’t get them until 50. I’m definitely starting to wonder, from a risk vs. benefit perspective. (Of course, I’m sure I wouldn’t feel this way if it were my cancer that was caught early!) Not an easy issue.

      So nice to hear from you, Terri! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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