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First off, the TMI necessity. (Not really TMI, but it involves bewbage.) Yesterday morning I had my very first mammogram. With all the breast health talk I've given over the years (newbs: I'm a 3-Day walker and proponent for self-exams, healthy living, etc. And the FIRST PERSON that jumps down my throat for saying self-exams save lives is going to get my foot up their nethers. *smile* Not to mention that my posts about self-checking resulted in a reader finding tumors and having a radical mastectomy to save her life within days of self-checking. IT WORKS, it really does. <3)

So with all that talk, I've not walked the walk. Except for how I have. Literally, just not figuratively. :) I'm finally old enough to get my bewb smashed and have pictures taken. Yay? I was very brave and smiley and not freaked out. On the outside. For those of you that have yet to have one, I'll say this: it freaking hurts. BUT. It only hurts for SECONDS and then it's over. I was not fortunate to have an MRI-mammogram available to me, but if that's something YOU can do, I highly recommend it.

The Procedure:

A very kindly technician tells you she's going to be "handling" you. They place your breast on a tray and try and spread it out. Then, a plastic rectangle is lowered onto it, making a bewb sammich. Just when you think it can't be smashed any more, they smash it more. OUCH. My technician was very sweet and ran back to the equipment to take the x-ray, then ran back to release me. So you have a horizontal smashing of each side, then you have a diagonal smashing of each side. It literally took four inhales and exhales for each picture, so that's not too shabby, say the person that has had natural childbirth, a fractured patella, and passed kidney stones. If you go in knowing it's not going to feel good, but that it's over very quickly, I think that does wonders for your psyche.

It was cute how all the people at the facility were making "yay, you!" faces at me, saying how proud they were that I was so young and being pro-active with my health. (I look younger than I am, I suppose.) I'll have some preliminary results tomorrow at my OB/GYN appointment, but I'm not expecting anything negative. I really am good about self-checking, and you should be, too. it's a preliminary warning detector, and if you have any history of cancer in your family, you'd be a fool not to make it a habit. (I have no cancer in my family history. I mean, I have NONE. I'm lucky, I know.)

In conclusion: it's not the most pleasant experience, and I've been told that the "meatier" your breasts are, the more it hurts, so you gals with smallish chests should be happy to know that you've got one over the "big" girls. :)

And hey, if you don't want to self-check every month (try and do it the same time every month - you know that your chest changes on your period, right?) get help from someone else. Hee.



And now for the (post) Earth Day picspam! I spent yesterday lazing about in the sunshine, no peripherals on, and digging in the dirt. So for me: perfect. MASSIVE picspam under the cut.

I put in some fun annuals this year that keep everyone (meaning me and small children) amused. They're Gazanias and they roll themselves up at night. Here's what they look like in the sunlight:



And as the sun sets, the petals roll up inwards, then the whole flower closes up tight. Here's a picture of it rolling up:



Cool, huh? They come in all sorts of bright colors (and some faint pastels.) They'll need hand watering for the first two weeks until they're settled, then let them get what rainfall you have. Awesome. My veggies are starting to really take off, now that we're out of cold weather. My first tomato is juuuuust about ready to be pulled (there are a good ten weebabies inside the plant, too.)




My sugar snap peas are away and running. (The white blossoms at the very top are about to become pods and I will om nom them)




I tried something new this year: potatoes! The idea is this: you grow them on top of your soil for ease in picking. Make a cage (or buy one) and surround the plant. As the stems get longer, pile up compost, mulch, shredded leaves, what have you. Keep doing that until the plant is done growing and begins to brown. Then all you have to do is lift the cage, let the mulch/leaves spill away, and there are your potatoes - no digging. :) You'll notice the chicken wire surround I made - set into the garden soil at the bottom. There's still another foot or two of cage extending up at the top. This is nestled in by my house and garage - it's not noticeable from the street.



Some strawberries getting ready to ripen. I have these tucked in all along a retaining wall. This is their second year, which is their better year. If you've recently planted strawberries, just know that NEXT year they'll go crazy nuts in a good way. (And invest in some netting if you have bunny issues. Just lay it over the plants. They'll still get sun/rain, just the buns' teefs can't get their tasty goodness.)




This is a beautiful plant when it blooms. It's just now rocketing out of the ground, but I love the contrast in new growth. This is a penstemon - hummers and butterflies LOVE this. Also, it's drought tolerant. Stick it in poor soil by your driveway, rocks, etc. and it'll thrive.





I think this might be the best flower picture I've ever taken. This is a new (to me) lily I planted a few weeks ago. That color!!! Lilies = easiest bulb there is. Stick them in the ground (the trick is to plant them twice as deep as they are wide. If they're an inch wide, they go down two inches, see?) Then they naturalize and spread. <3




I found an eggplant calla lily the other day. This picture really doesn't do it justice. It's so dark it's practically black. <3!! These also are perennial and will naturalize and spread. (This is in a shady spot, btw. Morning sun, afternoon shade.)




Why hello. It appears that you are gardening. (I'm not kidding, she'll come from a mile away if I start digging around outside. And then follow me from place to place.)




Every time I put these in I have to say lines from "300" - this plant is called Persian Shield. :D "I! AM! PURPLE!!!!!!" This will get three feet across and new growth looks metallic. It's amazing in the shade bed.




Some annuals (the Kong Coleus is the multi-color leafed plant) to liven up the perennials. (The variegated plant is Solomon's Seal, planted as a memorial for southernbangel's god daughter, the thin, strap-like leaves in the top back are an old fashioned day lily, the curled cigar-shaped plant in the lower right is flowering ginger - the best smelling plant on earth.)




A volunteer Columbine. (I didn't plant these, they just showed up. I'm not complaining. *g*)




My mock oranges are budding out. This is the second best-smelling plant there is. These are 8 feet tall up against the north side of my house. The leaves will fill out and you'll see no bricks in between in about two weeks.




THERE IS NO DANA ONLY ZUUL. (I moved to the side of the house, you see, so she's guarding me.) Here's what I imagine she's saying: "During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you! "





My weeping Japanese maple is starting to recover from the Great Roofing Disaster of 2008. Mostly because of my guard cat. (You can see how I'm expanding the garden in the distance - I built those stone steps last fall and will eventually get rid of all the grass/yaupon trees in the distance and re-plant with prettier things.)




Back to the sun! This is the first blossom off a memorial rose I planted for swmbo's co-worker. I LOVE this vibrant, happy plant. <3




I took this a little too late in the day for you to see the hordes, but normally this lavender is SWARMING with bees. I might be single handedly supporting the suburban bee effort in my neck of the woods. (Mostly because I'm the only person within about three blocks that has any kind of garden. *frowny face at people*)




I'm not joking, these blooms appeared within an HOUR of me taking pictures. This is a zuchinni. One plant is all you need to feed a nation. They, uh, they do well. (You can't see all the space I've made available to the left, which is south, but it's there. It'll fill in a big blank spot with delicious foods. Mmmm.)




Again, Darthanne decided I needed watching. But first, a nap. (Note the yellow flower on the left. That's a "Sundrop" which is in the primrose family. A bigger picture is coming up, I just wanted to give you a bit of scale first. *G*)





Here's the whole plant. It's spread is a good four feet and change. Incidentally, the $60 candle friend that some of you may remember? She hated how "untidy" this plant was, ripped it out of her flower bed (and really, she planted it in a space that was 6 inches wide against my advice. Pfft.) and gave it to me after it had sat in a plastic bag for three days. I plunked it in the ground, watered it for a few days, then left it alone. And now it is GLORIOUS. <3 I have these sprinkled all over the garden I love them so.




Here's my original stone walkway planted with thyme (the small green plant with purple flowers) a few bluebonnets (they're just about done for the season - they're making their fuzzy seed pods now, which I'll collect, dry, and store) and big gulf muhly grasses in the distance.




And the other side of the walkway with more thyme (I started with small four inch pots two years ago. If you're patient, gardening can be cheap, that's all I'm saying.) and a pretty silver-green sedum. The sedum's name is long gone, unfortunately. I love this plant because it's fuzzy, unlike traditional sedums, which are glossy (like a jade plant.)




And this is a type of artemesia that doesn't get unruly (artemesias are also known as wormwood.) This is a ground cover, not a shrub, and it's so soft and fluffy and mounding and- Dammit, cat, I'm not going to mess up your garden! :D




I do have another cat, Hope. She's far less... industrious than Darthanne. I found her sleeping behind the sofa in a sunny patch. (On some of my laundry she knocked down purposely to sleep on, harumph.) But who can stay mad at that face?!?





And Sally Derg, attempting to look noble and calm. Her tail is a blur because it was thumping like mad.




I've not been lying when I say my dergie has black knerkles.




A lovely day. I think I might spend today outside napping again. The high is going to be near 90. <3 (But let's face it: I'm going to go to the nursery and look for cleomes and another rose. I HAVE A SICKNESS.)

Comments

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entrenous88
Apr. 23rd, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
ZOMG GARDEN! Beauteous pictures, and the kittehs and doggeh are also a thing of beauty and a joy forever!

*lurks in yer gardens, waiting to nom on strawberries and peas and tomaters*
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 02:38 pm (UTC)
HEEE, I knoew you would like the kitnit/perpy pics.

The strawberries have been SO delicious. Next year I hope they spread even more so I can make jam. Currently I work in the garden, pull a few off and eat them. My tummy is happy, but my pantry is :(

:D
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julia_here
Apr. 23rd, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
I was scrolling down the garden pics, with all the degree-day plants months ahead of mine, and was suddenly strick by that Philadelphus, hard-ass Light Hour bloomer that it is, in the same stage of growth as my Philadelphus lewisii Florpleno... The apple trees went from tight bud on Monday to popcorn stage bloom yesterday (and the earliest tree in bloom), and my cherry tree bloomed all at once, on Tuesday. It's like SPRING: KABLAM!

Julia, hoping to steal quiet and privacy to finally put to gether a rose pruning post today
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC)
We had the popcorn stage a month and change ago, then we had a freeze and I was desperately running out each night with old sheets to cover my tomatoes and gardenias.

March def. came in like a lion for us, seems like it waited until April for you!
huzzlewhat
Apr. 23rd, 2009 02:42 pm (UTC)
What a gorgeous garden. Apartment decks don't lend themselves to this, sadly — the best I can do is a couple of potted tomato plants and some rows of herbs. (Fresh rosemary... mmmmm....)

And congratulations on your first mammogram. Otherwise known as the "garage door treatment."
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 02:49 pm (UTC)
You can have strawberry pots out there? Mmmmm, rosemary. I love my rosemary bushes so much. <3

Ahahaha, that's totally what it's like, too. :D
brunettepet
Apr. 23rd, 2009 02:48 pm (UTC)
Your garden is so lush and wonderful. I can see why Darthanne must guard you against all interlopers! I'm curious about the potatoes. Keep us posted at harvest time. If they are the most delicious things you've ever eaten in your life I might try them next year.

You made the mammogram sound very not scary *looks at schedule*
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC)
She feels it is her life's work, protecting me! I will take pictures of the harvest, too. They're ridiculously easy, potatoes.

It wasn't as bad as I expected, truth be told.
fabrisse
Apr. 23rd, 2009 02:51 pm (UTC)
Pretty garden.

Mammograms are definitely a necessary evil. Here's one secret to keeping them from hurting ... never cough while boob is smushed.

I'd had to wait months for my first mammogram -- first appointments took longer at this hospital -- so I didn't want to cancel it. I kept coughing which meant it wasn't just four shots because they had to keep retaking the smeary ones AND it hurt.

I've always said having my first mammogram wasn't a big deal, but going back for the second one took courage. *G*
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 02:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I never would have even THOUGHT of coughing! I was just breathing low and slow, yo. :D
beadattitude
Apr. 23rd, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
OMG, I want to roll around in your yard (but you know, not on the plants) and Argh, I need to go out and tend to mine. (My asthma is kicking up to heck and I'm not sposta. Craaap.)

So, funny mammo story: I was already kind of giggly about the way my tech was handling my bewbages like bread dough, I mean seriously, and when she said, "Okay, we're gonna put your left one in..." my brain supplied the hokey pokey, and I giggled so much that I jerked my boob right off the plate and wheezed why and then she was doubling over laughing and, well. I was memorable.
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 02:59 pm (UTC)
Hahahah, thank you for not smushing the flowers. I would hate to have Darthanne work you over, she can be vicious for such a teensy thing.
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aimeelicious
Apr. 23rd, 2009 02:55 pm (UTC)
This post with all its pictures (and breast health encouragement) was such a boon to me this morning. Thank you! <3
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 03:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, yay, I'm so happy, babe! *smooch*
tricksterquinn
Apr. 23rd, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC)
I am totally not having of enough brain these days to comment in more than brief, but HOMG STONEY I LOVE YOUR GARDEN PICSPAMSES! So pretty. Also, so startling to realize how different our climates are.
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
Hahahaha, yeah, Texas/the south's climate is VERY different from y'all up north. Here in my neck of the woods we have almost a 10 month growing period. <3
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caoil
Apr. 23rd, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC)
There was frost on my car windows this morning, which made me sad for the peas and beans I've already put outside. Damn you, Arctic fronts!

Happily the apple, lilac, and cherry trees are at least budding or blooming, so I can pick up my mason bees soon & they'll have something to do. You are wayyyy ahead of us in growth/blooming though!
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 03:37 pm (UTC)
!!! Oh, frosts. They've claimed two of my tomato plants and a basil this year, too. I did get a little cheeky and put them out there too soon, though. (But I can't help it!)

I'm so jealous of the lilac trees. We just can't grow them with success down here - too hot, too soon.
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mobile_alh
Apr. 23rd, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous garden pics. You inspire me to go plant ...something. And re: Mammograms, being semi-flatchested is also a problem in that it's tough to get enough flesh onto the plate for smooshing. Still, the technology has been imrpoving by leaps and bounds since I got my first one and now I can happily hold my breath for the short duration of the picture-taking.
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)
Oooh, I love your butterfly icon!

Oy, I can imagine that flat-chestedness would make for a most uncomfortable feeling. That's when you shoudl demand an MRI scan, says I.
menomegirl
Apr. 23rd, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC)
OMG I want your garden! It's gorgeous!! I really love that calla lily!

Awww kitty! And wagging puppy dog tail!
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)
My fur kids are ridiculously easy to love.

Isn't that calla lily awesome? I found it at HOME DEPOT. I KNOW!
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solipsiae
Apr. 23rd, 2009 04:11 pm (UTC)
I love this post! I hope Macy and Sally derg can meet someday, too. I'd like to think they'd get along <3
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 04:14 pm (UTC)
Sally is very friendly. I should bring her down to Dallas and we hook up with Beth and Otis at the dog park at the lake. And have a leetle picnic or something!
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marlo
Apr. 23rd, 2009 04:16 pm (UTC)
Garden, boobs, and aminals! What more could you possibly need? I love this post!! And I love your shadow-kitty who looks like Zuul :D

Is there a certain age where you should start getting mammograms, or can you get them at any age?
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 04:23 pm (UTC)
Hahahaha, the Zuul line was TOTALLY for you and your black kitnit. :D

I was told 35 is the average age of a first mammogram. It used to be 40, but they've pushed it sooner. If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, your doctor will approve one at any age.
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soundingsea
Apr. 23rd, 2009 04:56 pm (UTC)
1) OUCH.

2) Pretty plants!

3) KITTIES
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
1) BLERGH. (But not as bad as I had expected.)

2) Thank you!

3) <3 <3 <3
mumsisdaughter
Apr. 23rd, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
Good advice on the mammograms. You are right about the brief hurtage AND the size/pain ratio. No bragging here but my right one is a fair bit bigger than my left but even that 'ooowwww' goes as soon as it's released.

Gorgeous garden! and animules!
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
Exactly! I did feel a little achy after all was said and done, but it quickly went away.

Thank you!
abusing_sarcasm
Apr. 23rd, 2009 05:07 pm (UTC)
I want to be a teeny fairy so I can live in your garden! :D

*pets your injured bewbies*
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC)
I will make a moss-covered vunderland in my garden just for you!
fiveandfour
Apr. 23rd, 2009 05:07 pm (UTC)
I had my first boob smash experience a few months back. It was kinda' awkward and kinda' painful, but it was all over pretty quickly and handled throughout with the utmost in sensitivity and professionalism. But what I still can't quite grasp is why it has to be done that way. I mean, you see these scan images of brains where the Rays of Enlightenment go through skulls and can show what's in there (and way, way deeeep in there. In color and everything.), but there's nothing that can do that for a boob? Come on now!

Anyway...congratulations on the taking charge of your health. That always feels so good, and I always feel so grateful I live in a time, place and circumstance that allows me to do so.
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
There are MRI versions, my technician told me that insurance companies are just slow to move to new technologies. Which, of course. Viagra is covered by most insurances, but the Pill isn't. Grr.
gabzilla
Apr. 23rd, 2009 05:42 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous pics! I must say that I'm in love with that rose - it immediately made me think of one of my favorite paintings: Flaming June (woman in orange dress snoozing in the sun by the sea, ya know the one I'm talking about? I think it has to be my definition of bliss.) Love love love your garden.
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC)
That's TOTALLY it!!

That makes me happy, too!
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marenfic
Apr. 23rd, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC)
Sally Derg!!!!! How I miss your Sally Derg.

You can't possibly have a bunny problem with your strawberries with Darthanne around. She is single-handedly responsible for decimating baby bunnies in the Stoney homestead. :) The strawberries we just planted are very happy. I think we'll have to move a few because I'm pretty sure we planted them too close together, but they'll be fine for now.

You are an inspiration. The memorial plant for Lee is gorgeous! So is the memorial rose, for that matter.

Hey! If I want to give my laurelpetalums a haircut, when would I do that? I know, I know, but they have grown so amazingly well that they've covered three azaleas (which we will be moving as soon as they finish blooming) and they are growing out into our driveway. I feel that soon, they will eat one of my dogs. So I need to trim them back a little.

Also, is it a bad thing if my peony only gave me one bud last year, and looks like it may only give me one again? Or is that normal?
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 06:12 pm (UTC)
SALLY. She's completely asleep in the doorway, running after kitnits in her dreams doing that "WOOFwoof...." barking. Hahahahaha.

Oh, those strawberries will move themselves, so don't worry about moving them if you don't want to. (They send out long stems that put down roots and make new plants further out.)

That plant for Lee's god-daughter makes the prettiest blue flower.

It sounds like your peony is just getting established. The general rule of thumb for big perennials and shrubs/trees is that it takes 18 months to really move in, then they take off. I've certainly found that to be true. Maybe just give it a little food every month, make sure it's not drying out, and keep mulch around its ankles.

you can cut your lorapetalums any time - I'm going to cut my later this afternoon to give them a good shearing/shaping, in fact. They'll put out more pink frilly flowers afterwards, too. :D They do get big, though, huh? I remember how big that one at the base of the driveway/house was. IT MIGHT EAT YOU, BE CAUTIOUS.
kseenaa
Apr. 23rd, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
Your garden is glorious... :-)
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
ipnotika
Apr. 23rd, 2009 06:30 pm (UTC)
Your garden is amazing, and I look forward to picspam days. :) I'm also a cat person, and heartily entertained by/am in love with Darthanne. /squee!
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 06:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! And she's so goofy. She's not affectionate with me at ANY TIME, until I step out into the garden. Weirdo. <3
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tabaqui
Apr. 23rd, 2009 08:01 pm (UTC)
Oooooooooooooooh. So so so pretty. Damn. So, if i go to the nursery and say 'i'd like penstemon', they'll show me that? Or i have to say something else, more specific.

Once again, i am consumed by envy and wishing i were rich so i could hire you to do something interesting in my yard.

...

Like *planting stuff*, people, sheesh. :)

Kittehs! So cute. And Sally looked *very* noble, yes.

I really should do the boob-smish thing. I just...haven't. I also am weird about the self-exam, because i honestly can't remember if my breasts feel the same way that they did a year ago, or even a month ago. I have *no clue*. They're a little fiberous-y or something, i guess, but they always have been and i just can't tell if they've changed. Sad, sad sad.

*goes looking for normal brain functions*

It's freakin' in the eighties here today. OMG.
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)
If they know what they have in stock, they'll know what Penstemon is.

As for bewbs, if you're a regular coffee/caffeine drinker, that makes your boobs lumpy. The best thing is to just pick a day (first day of your period, five days after, whatever) and soap them up in the shower and get familiar with them. It took me a few times before I felt like I really knew what was going on with them. *G* But yeah - the best way to check is with a mammogram. It'll hurt briefly, then all betters.

It got to 94 here yesterday!! WHOA.
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chosen0112
Apr. 23rd, 2009 08:54 pm (UTC)
We are in Autumn here, so it's just starting to get pleasantly chilly. Nothing is in flower and a lot of the trees are just starting to realize winter is coming. Your pics are just gorgeous. Spring is such a perfect time of year, the smells and sights and sounds can make me smile without even realizing why.
The Calla Lily is supurb! The leaves are gorgeous and OMG the flower - stunning! The Japanese Maple is pretty awesome too. The range of textures and colours you have there is fantastic. What a gorgeous garden.
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC)
I didn't realize you were down under! Thanks so much - I try to keep it interesting. "Corporate landscapes" (as I call them) are boring to me. Gimmie lots of different stuff!
swmbo
Apr. 23rd, 2009 09:19 pm (UTC)
All those pictures are so amazing and beautiful. Also, gimme kitty!
stoney321
Apr. 23rd, 2009 09:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks, toots! And hahaha, which one? The lazy one or the ferocious protector of all she surveys?
ann1962
Apr. 23rd, 2009 09:21 pm (UTC)
The first two flowers looked like breasts! Those are lovely photos! Gorgeous!

I use these \\// = = when I post about my mammograms, one will be coming up in the next couple weeks. My technician told me about one older woman who had lost most of the mass in her breasts with age, and they couldn't keep the breast tissue in between the plates, they fell out. The width was less than the technician's finger, so they couldn't even hold it in. They finally got a picture though. She persevered.

Hope you enjoyed your nap!
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