Now That I’ve Got Your Top Off…

My chatty mammographer last week asked me if I was naturally thin or had to work at it.  I’m not sure she was looking at my whole body when she said that since her comment was followed by something about having to work hard to get any tissue away from my chest bones.  Hmm.  But the immediate thought that jumped into my head was, “If only she knew!”

If only she knew that my weight went up and down like a yo-yo on crack.

If only she knew that last year at this time I weighed less.

If only she knew that my first instinct upon disrobing was to suck in my belly.

If only she knew that my second instinct was “what’s the point since she’s got her hands all over my breasts and probably isn’t looking at my belly… and what kind of person has a job with her hands manipulating boobs all day.”

If only she knew how tempting it always is for me to apologize in some way for my itty bitty titties.

If only she knew just how many people might get a kick out of her carrying on a conversation about weight and diet during my appointment.

If only she knew how very abnormal I am about my eating and that she was really talking to the wrong person about dieting success.

If only she knew how much I had thought about and written about this very topic in the past year.

If only she knew that I could not decide if I was flattered by her comment or horrified that she’d even be thinking anything along those lines.  No more deluding myself that medical personal are not paying any attention.

If only she knew that my dreams that night would include me stepping on the scale and seeing a huge number that I have never ever come close to seeing in real life.

If only she knew that a casual passing comment may not be casual and passing at all in the mind of the person she’s talking with.

If only she knew that I would rush home and write a blog post to share with the world about this experience.

Gotten any strange comments yourself lately?



Filed under body and/or body image, dieting, emotions/emotional issues, influence of others, weight issues

47 responses to “Now That I’ve Got Your Top Off…

  1. Miz

    I love this.
    are you at all tempted to print and send it to her?
    anonymously? 🙂

  2. OMG, that cartoon!!!! Us poor women!!!! You are so friggin funny!

    Me – someone guessed my age at 58 – not my best moment & depressed me all weekend! That is why I always say my pic does not reflect all the age & hormone crap on my face & I would head to the plastic surgeon if I had the money!;-)

    • Karen

      My face… drooping all over. One day at the gym, looking in the mirror, I realized I have marionette lines:(

  3. That’s a funny cartoon! That’s was totally a compliment. And getting your mammo is just another way to take care of yourself!!

  4. Nope but last weekend someone told me how great I looked despite the fact I’m up 8 lbs from my lowest weight! *sigh* I thanked them but I’m still feeling like a blob. I can’t wait to get this darn move behind me so I can fully concentrate on me again- my life is chaos and clutter!

  5. Jan

    Hilarious and sobering post.

    Medical folks have little clue what impact their comments have on women’s body image or sometimes even self-esteem. Compliments are often back-handed jabs and really should never have been made in the first place. At least you made an amazing post out of it!

  6. See – I’ve thought you looked very “normal”, in the lean sense, in virtually every picture I’ve seen of you. But I also know how we all really know ourselves in the eating realm better than anyone else can. Reminds me of going to OA in the past and “judging” women who were lean as not needing to be there – even though they’d lost MANY pounds. And you have really sounded like you’ve made some real progress with your eating issues in the last months. I can’t wait for someone to ask me that same question…again. I got it all the time when I was in my 20s!

    Love your always clever and unique presentation 🙂

    • Karen

      I think you are right – that I LOOK normal. But you and I both know that what I am on the inside clearly does not match up the outside. And it would be nice to get back into my clothes again when I lose the last few pounds.

      Yes, I have made progress recently, I think. But a part of me wonders if I am really making lasting progress or just progress short-term that is reflected on the scale. I guess I may need to write some posts about what goes on in my head with regards to eating. Sigh.

  7. Very interesting. It’s always so fascinating to look at other people and think, They probably have a lot of the same issues as me…even if they are a lot thinner / taller / heavier / younger / older.

  8. “Can I see your driver’s license?” -woman at a vending station at Anaheim Stadium Saturday night.

    Me: Are you kidding me?

    Her: Nope.

    Me: looking astonishingly at my husband and nervous laughing…. sweetie, I’m 59, for God’s sake.

    Her: I need to see your license.

    Me: looking at Mr. Sunny-Honey, you buy my Coors light, and get a diet Pepsi for yourself.

    Geesh. She wasn’t be cute/funny/nice, she …I dunno. I certainly look well over 40, for God’s sake. I guess I should be flattered. I was. I was also annoyed I almost didn’t get my lite beer, since I hadn’t had one in about 6 months. LOL

  9. A few years ago, when I was at my heaviest weight, my sister and I were on vacation together. Someone asked me if she was my younger or older sister. No one ever had to ask before — I’m seven years younger. My sister sort of gasped and looked at me. I made a joke of it and replied, “Well, she’s always been in MY life.” But it really hurt. Now, 35 pounds lighter, I definitely look like the “kid” sister again.

  10. I would relish that comment for weeks!

  11. Funny that you had this experience. It reminds me of what I thought when you posted your photo from your blogger meetup… I thought, “Look at these two tiny ladies. No one would ever know they blog about weight struggles.”

    • Karen

      Ah, therein lies the rub. I clearly struggle with it mightily. And those photos are showing me soooo close to my goal weight.

  12. I had a similar moment a few years ago, when I was at my lightest. I was trying on clothes at Marshalls and a woman said something like, “how nice it must be to be able to wear normal sized clothes so easily.” I turned to her and said, “if you only knew…” We then went on to have “the conversation”….you know it…

    “I’ve lost about 50 pounds”

    “OH!! How did you do it” (with hopeful look in eyes)

    “Eating better and exercising more…oh and therapy too”

    “Oh” (with disappointed look in eyes)

    • Karen

      Funny thing is I can’t now remember what I said to that women in the course of the conversation other than I really had to work at it. I sooo don’t like to get into discussions about “diets” but I think I said I exercise a lot.

  13. Not envious that you had to get a mammogram! I’ve got a fairly large chest so I’m not looking forward to my first one. One thing that is good about a small chest is less sag! Trust me! I’m 30 and already noticing I could benefit from a breast lift. Karen, you crack me up and remind me a lot of myself. I overthink comments like those too and have a whole internal dialogue going like this. Take it as a compliment, my dear. You do look fabulous.

    • Karen

      When I was younger I used to say that my breasts were small but at least they were perky. Then I breastfed two babies. No more perk. Amazing how even little ones can sag, although they don’t have as far to go:)

  14. All things considered, it’s not a bad problem to have, is it? 🙂 I love comments like that–never get tired of receiving them!

  15. That cartoon is funny and mildly horrifying.
    As I was reading this, I was thinking it’s interesting that someone assumes it’s okay to talk about your body because she figures you’re “thin” and therefore have no issue.
    I doubt she’d bring it up with a heavy woman. That would seem rude or unkind.
    If she only knew is right. You are pretty much the same as me inside your head from what I can tell. Weight or no weight.
    And you just reminded me I need to go have a mammogram. So, thanks?

  16. Aw I love this! What a great thing to hear at the doctor’s office. It shows what a long way you have come! Very inspirational!

  17. MO

    That cartoon is too cute!! Two years ago my appointment was dry and well, I felt I had to spice this last one up. Having close to a Dolly Parton chest, I made the comment of “be careful, there is not much to work with there”. My tech laughed and laughed for the rest of my visit. If only she knew…good spin on that visit.

    Staying MOtivated MO

    • Karen

      Cute. My worst “small breast” moment might have been when my stepdad was looking at the films from a mammogram about a decade ago and commented something casually like “there’s not much on there.” (He was looking because I had to see a surgeon about a lump and he got me in fast to see someone he knew personally and being a doctor himself, looked at the films too.)

  18. Fun post. I had my mammo recently, too, but my tech didn’t say anything like that to me . . . . 🙂
    My most recent similar comment was from my 3 yr old granddaughter who commented in amazement “I didn’t know you had a tatoo.” I don’t. She was looking at the blue veins on my foot (of which I’d never before been self-conscious). 😀

  19. Yeah… I was talking about shirt sizes at work with someone, and she said “she’s small, like you.” I was like, oh, have you seen my boobs and tummy lately? Because I don’t think you’d say that if you did!

    • Karen

      Mine didn’t even get big when I was pregnant! But, they were about perfect when I was nursing:) Of course then they belonged to the baby.

  20. So glad I stopped by. I especially liked “If only she knew that a casual passing comment may not be casual and passing at all in the mind of the person she’s talking with.” even though it was sorta more serious than the rest. I have the opposite problem with boob size. They have to get a crane out to hoist them onto the mammo shelf and everyone wants to talk about them. I ease my discomfort with that by talking about how I could, if I wanted, store the contents of my purse under the sag of my boobs… including brush and wallet. I wish I could stop doing that.

    • Karen

      Wonder why it is that we feel a need to diffuse things either with humor or otherwise. Or to apologize in some way for part of our bodies.

      • I suspect it is because we want to be the one to say it before they do or we are nervous. I now do it like an automatic reaction – no prompting needed. I wonder what I will say when I look spiffy and thin? Maybe I will turn mute. : )

  21. I had the clerk ask me if I was a senior citizen. I said, “Yeah, I’m 72.” She said, “Oh my, you look great!” And then proceeded to give me the senior citizen discount.

    • Karen

      Oh that reminds me that once I was asked if I am eligible for any discounts, like the senior one. I’m 48!

  22. Isn’t it awesome where we find inspirtion for blogging material?? If anything, it certainly was worth that! 🙂

  23. I don’t mind getting a chatty mammogram technician, as it is a great distraction from having my boobs painfully squished into flat pancakes. Strangest comment I’ve heard recently was “you have such tiny, dainty feet” while helping a shoe client out with a TV commercial recently – my feet are an average size, so I think it was in contrast to the guy wearing size 13 shoes standing right beside me.

  24. She knows…she is a woman.

  25. Sounds like what i will encounter in a couple of months when I get my first mammo since my weight loss. I haven’t had insurance for two years and so I haven’t had a mammo. Now we have insurance beginning next month and I will have to get all of those annoying little health tasks done. But now it will be as a skinny gal. We are relocating to a new area of the country so I have to find all new doctors and will start out with them in a ‘normal’ size body as opposed to the super morbidly obese body I had here when I last had insurance. Should be an adventure I think.

  26. When I was riding in the Tour, a twenty something was lamenting that she was being outridden by a kid with a broken leg and an “old lady.” I knew who the kid wit the leg was, but the old lady. I hope she wasn’t referring to me! I am going to believe that it was the old lady (about 35!) who was just a head of us. Youth think that any one over 25 is OLD!!!!

  27. What would happen if you simply answered, “Yes, I do have to work at staying slim. I work at it a lot. And mostly, as you can see, I’m successful.”

    What would happen if you simply took it in that she, a medical person who sees many women naked to the waist, observes you as a “thin” person.

    Are you afraid if you just accepted yourself the way you are that you’d instantly gain 100 pounds? Do you like seeing yourself as a yo-yo dieter? Might it be time to change that designation, perhaps to “former yo-yo dieter”?

    Just some thoughts…. Hope they don’t offend, Karen.

  28. Forgot to mention… thanks for cartoon… good laugh was worth the coughing fit it produced!

  29. Roz

    Love the cartoon. I’ve NEVER had a chatty mammography tech. sigh. I guess thats a good thing. Have a great day Karen. (and reminder to me, make my “squish” appointment, it’s almost time)

  30. Karen, as a former fat girl, I can relate to this kind of conversation well. Am I naturally thin? Well, no, actually I’m naturally fat! Although I kind of love being “mistaken” for thin, I always feel like I’m in a disguise, even after nearly 11 years! I remember what it was like having an “us vs. them” mentality (“us” being us fat girls and “them” being those thin girls) so it is one of the odd things in my life that I’ve been mistaken for one of “them” all these years!

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