Lana Hanson

Mammograms: What Would Dolly Parton Do?

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If names always signified what they actually were, getting a mammogram would mean that upon your 40th birthday, you’d get not a telegram, but the sensational Nathan Lane would appear on the “Wipe Your Paws” welcome mat outside the front door, wearing only a shimmery paper gown and belting out a peppy tune. What a toe-tapping treat. Turns out this rite of passage fills us with dread like hearing Psycho shower scene music. As if, by 40 your boobs haven’t been handled rough enough?! Maybe this was the REAL reason Janet Leigh screamed her little wet head off. She finally realized doing the “Breast Self Exam” was not the end-all-be-all.

Maybe it’s for the best that mammograms become a required, yearly blow to one’s dignity. By middle age, most women have been-there-done-that at no less than 10x over. In short, we just simply don’t have the time, patience, energy or pride to give a rat’s ass. When the appointment date arrives, these leather-tough broads slap a tit on the X-ray slide like a child gleefully inserts a plump pastry into an Easy Bake Oven.

But even these warriors had a first time. Don’t you dare chicken out! Think of yourself as a soldier going to war against the dastardly army of breast cancer and your lieutenant is none other than that tiny tart from Tennessee – Dolly Parton. Put on your big girl panties and don your WWDPD plastic wrist band and buck up! Time’s a wastin’! Your tits are defenseless without ya!

However, don’t barge into battle blindly: just leaving the house with no deodorant, perfume or lotion on – per the mammogram commandments – is a bold move. By the time you undress in the doctor’s office, you could very well reek like a Subway meatball foot-long. Your extremities get squeezed to the extreme and will look like something straight from Looney Tunes. On the flip side, the female technician touches your breast so tenderly and coos such foreplay sweet talk like “Move a little to the left” or “Hold your breath”- that you seriously consider asking her out for coffee after.

Then lickety-split you’re done and dressed. Quite suddenly you feel important and wise and well…powerful. The results of your test will be whatever they will be, as these things always are, when left up to God or the fates. But at least you have begun the battle. Imagine Dolly’s huge boobs coming in for a victory hug. Deep in that smothered, Southern-fried  embrace, you grin. You done good soldier, you done good.


Lana Hanson has no college degree, no awards, no “touring poet” accolades. She’s blessed to run a brush through multiplying grey head-hairs, to feel crows’ feet deepening grooves around her eyes. She’s finally started to admire herself. She aims to raise women and children up from poverty, oppression, doubt, and silence because she has faced all of these.
Lana was published at and also at where she was the Spotlight Poet for two months. She is also a regular blogger at
Born in Flint, MI, Lana Hanson now lives in Las Vegas, NV, with her two sardonic sons, 13 and 17, three perpetually vomiting cats, one farting dog and a 72-year-old boy-toy in our Crazy Quilt House.

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