undressing


I have just received my appointment for my annual mammogram and it’s 2 days after my final 6 monthly check up with Mr H – tomorrow,29th, it’ll be three years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  

I am not keen on undressing, never have been – don’t think my mum has seen me nekkid since I was a girl. I find the whole thing very embarrassing and get in a bit of a flap, even though the nurses and Mr H have seen millions of breasts  before,including mine. I pathetically clutch my t shirt to my front and expose as little as possible. It’s the vulnerability of being undressed and the fact that I’m being looked at – I look at myself very critically and imagine others must do. I very rarely look at my chest in the mirror anyway – I don’t mind the scars -they are neat and tidy though there’s a bit of a chunk missing on the left side. I don’t mind the 3 teeny tattoos either,they are blue -as if you’d been jabbed with a biro.   The mammogram is another kerfuffle of undressing – no robes or anything. When I had radiotherapy one had to undress behind a screen and a tiny piece of blue paper torn from the roll that covers the treatment table  was left for you to cover one’s modesty. I used to try to balance it on my right side at least so I was partially covered,but it always slid off.  Anyway, I’m not complaining – just wondering why I’m so uptight 😉

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6 thoughts on “undressing

  1. It’s odd isn’t it? I was fine giving birth but used to get shy at pre and post birth checks with dr despite fact there was nothing he hadn’t seen or stitched .

  2. I feel more self conscious about it now than when I was younger. For me it’s mainly about context. Like, for instance, I’d love to have been in one of those photographs – I can’t remember the name of the artist but he takes those pics of thousands of nekked folks in front of famous landmarks like City Hall and the Sydney Opera House. Because a) I think it’d be a hoot b) I’m all for nudity on an epic scale and c) ‘s’Art, innit? In that kind of situation, where everyone around you as far as the eye can see has their kit off, you’d probably feel a bit odd if you were dressed. (At least I would). Plus there are people of all shapes, sizes and ages in those pictures, so I wouldn’t feel like I was under scrutiny. However, as you well know, I’d never get my kit off at The Sanctuary because I know damned well I’d be the only fat chick in there and I’d definitely feel under scrutiny. And that particular brand of scrutiny stinks.

    But going to the doc, having a mammogram, or having folk poke about in one’s nethers, etc, that’s awkward for a completely different reason. For a start you literally walk off the street, where you and everyone else are living a fully clothed normal life among fully clothed people – then suddenly, you’re indoors and a total stranger tells you to get undressed. The whole thing has the surreal feel of a dream. Plus, you’re the only one naked in the room. Even more surreal. I can’t imagine anyone feels exactly at ease. And don’t get me started on the stirrups. I’m forever haunted my a story my GP told me about an old country doctor he used to work with. Apparently he used to tell his nervous lady patients, “Just think of me as a baker, looking at his buns”.

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