I Like my Boobs
I wrote I Like my Boobs after a recent breast cancer scare. My mother died from this disease. I want to stress the importance of a yearly mammogram. #Mammogram #breast cancer #family history #boobs
I like my boobs. It took me my entire teen years to make a start at growing them. I didn’t achieve anywhere near having enough until after I got pregnant and breastfed my babies. They aren’t perky anymore, but they don’t hang down to my knees either. Rooster claims they are two of his favorite toys I like my boobs.
That’s why I got upset when this year’s mammogram showed my left breast might have an issue.
My mother died from breast cancer, so every year I faithfully take myself over to the imaging center and have my boobs crunched in a plastic vice. I know your chances go up of developing the disease if you have a family history of breast cancer.
The phone call
This year I received a phone call the day after the test. There was an abnormality in my left breast. I needed to have a 3D mammogram done. I’d never heard of a 3D mammogram before. I was told the 3D machine is the new cutting edge technology. I made the appointment and resigned myself to the three-week wait for my turn on the latest boob-squashing machine.
I’m a whiny baby when it comes to waiting on test results or to undergo a medical procedure. I don’t like the anxiety of feeling like I’m standing at the gallows with a hangman’s noose around my neck waiting for the executioner to open a trap door and send me plunging to my death. I know I’m being dramatic, but I can’t help myself. This isn’t my first cancer scare, and I felt like my luck was running out like sifting sand in an hourglass.
Several years ago
Several years ago a spot showed up in my right breast. I had an ultrasound followed by a biopsy. The results showed the questionable lump was benign. During a normal eye exam, the optometrist noticed a large, weird mole in the back of my eyeball. When I say large, I mean it looks like it is the size of a nickel. She sent me to a specialist who took one look at the giant mole before he referred me to an oncologist. The guy specializes in cancer of the eye.
There are only two in the state. Luckily, this one has a practice fifty miles from where I live. The dark spot remains in the suspicious category, but it is believed to be a benign mole. I make a yearly pilgrimage to be told there has been no change in the mole’s condition. While I waited for the appointment, I was convinced I wouldn’t be as lucky this time. Finding out you have the Big-C is all too common in our modern world.
At the Women’s Center
I arrived at the Women’s Center fifteen minutes before my scheduled appointment. A woman was already seated filling out paperwork when I walked into the reception area. The lady working the front desk was very sweet as she placed form after form on the counter for me to sign. I suffered a case of sticker shock when I discovered how much my out of pocket cost would be for the boob squashing procedure after insurance. I learned a modern fact of life.
Cutting edge medical technology comes at a high price. A person can pay a lot for health insurance and still not afford the treatment these days. I was handed a clipboard with a white sheet of paper attached. I sat down and obediently circled the answers to the questions they asked like when the date of my last menstrual cycle occurred. They didn’t have a box that read so long ago I can’t remember.
When did I start menopause and why is it called that?
I couldn’t remember the exact date of the onset of menopause. All I know is the annoying monthly friend stopped paying visits. I flinched when they asked about family members who had breast cancer. The pen in my hand trembled when I circled my mother.
After I finished circling the appropriate responses and filled in all the blanks, I was led to the place where the 3D mammogram would take place. I was given a pink cloth hospital gown and told to take off everything from the waist up.
This part of the procedure was routine. I stripped off my shirt and bra before I locked my belongings in a locker and twisted the key dangling from the handle. I slid the pink plastic strap the key was attached to around my wrist and sat down to wait. My name was called within five minutes.
I was led to the room where the new 3D mammogram machine was waiting for me. It looked like every mammogram machine I’ve ever had my boobs squashed by in the past. The only difference was on this machine there was a skinny plastic lever used in the second part of the test to compress the boob flat and focus on the area with the suspect abnormality.
After my boobs were scrunched
After I had my boob scrunched by the machine five or six times, I went back to the seating area to wait for the doctor to read the results. This gave my mind all sorts of time to wander in directions where it shouldn’t go. I expected the door leading from the 3D room to open and the technician to tell me they’d found a tumor the size of a boulder in my left breast.
My mind conjured up all sorts of scenarios. I thought about all the women I know who are battling breast cancer. Joyce came to mind. She recently had a mastectomy with breast cancer that was found at stage one. Another friend had a mastectomy and breast reconstruction because she had the genetic BRCA marker for the disease. Several years later, she discovered she had breast cancer.
I can’t afford the treatment anyway
The thought I’d never be able to afford the treatment if they did find something dawned on me. The discovery of the disease would send Rooster and me into bankruptcy. I couldn’t allow that to happen.
We’d worked so hard over the years to put a little money aside. I also started to consider my daily five-mile walk to hold off diabetes an enormous waste of time. What was the point if I now had to deal with cancer? These scary thoughts ran through my mind as I sat in the chair waiting.
What the technician said next
The technician came out and said the doctor wanted another picture. She explained the request for another picture didn’t mean I had a problem. The doctor only wanted to get a better look. I went back into the room and stood in front of the machine for another round of boob squashing in the plastic vice. They had to get my left breast flat as a pancake this time. (It wasn’t like it wasn’t smashed to a paper-thin consistency before.)
So I did the boob scrunching a second time
The next step in the process was for me to take a seat and wait a second time. This time I didn’t dwell on the negative. My eye focused on the two pictures hanging on the wall. The first picture was of a woman in a long flowing green gown, the second painting was of a woman dressed in a white gown. The women looked strong and courageous as they were placed against what appeared to be stormy backgrounds.
They stood strong against the wind blowing at their clothing and attacking their bodies. The paintings gave me hope. I could stand strong against any wind and storm life threw at me. I didn’t have to wait long. The technician came into the waiting area with a bright smile on her face. The doctor was confident there wasn’t any cancer growing in my breast. I left the office carrying a sense of euphoria in my heart knowing I’d escaped impending disaster. Everything was going to be all right.
The moral of the story
The moral of this story, ladies, is you need to go get your boob scrunched once a year. The disease you don’t know is hiding in your body is what will kill you. It’s honestly not that painful. I get a kick out of complaining about it though. Today the official report from the Women’s Center where I had the 3D mammogram done came in the mail.
It informed me that I have fatty boobs (low breast tissue density) and no sign of cancer. It’s official. I’m going to get to keep my boobs. They might be fat, but they are beautiful.
Who is Molly Shea?
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.
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