Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Boob Talk

You guys out there might want to click the Next Blog button or something til another post here bumps this one down a bit.

It's no longer Breast Cancer Awareness Month, or whatever the official name is. That's October. But every November, usually the Wednesday after Election Day because I take the whole week off from work, I get my mammogram/sonogram combo test. And to my relief, my boobs got another year off for good behavior.

Oh sure, there are still my monthly self-exams because lumps can show up at any time and lumps can mean cancer. My father's mother died of breast cancer back in the '40s when she was in her 40s. And there are plenty of other types of cancer in my family to make it a real concern for me. I've previously blogged about my experience with fibroadenomas. And of course, that was before categories here and I can't find the posts, at least, not quickly.

So anyway, I went and had my breasts squeezed and flattened and yes, I won't lie, it hurt, but not so much and not for long and it sure hurts a helluva lot less than dealing with breast cancer, surgery, and chemo would be, and the longer you wait, the worse the treatment is likely to be if something is finally discovered. I have a friend, now past her breast reconstruction phase, who learned this the hard way.

Today's technician was young and friendly and I made sure to compliment her when I got to see the doctor, same as I'd complained about the nasty technician a couple of years ago. A good technician who is pleasant and sensitive and tries to put you at ease, because, let's face it, this isn't a fun time, can go a long way in making this tolerable.

I really can't urge women 40 and over to get this done annually. One day a year, an hour or so of your time, can save your life, or at least, your breasts. Or, as some folks have put it, Save 2nd Base. Sure, donating money, doing the Breast Cancer fundraising walk, help, but that's helping others. Sometimes, you have to help yourself, too, and this is so basic, so simple, it's a no-brainer. Really. Get those boobs scanned, squeezed, and then slathered in gel for the sonogram portion of the festivities. And the sonogram is a must because it catches much that the mammogram alone doesn't.

I took a pic of most of one of my breasts -- the right one -- with the little sticker tag thingie on the nipple (for identification purposes on the mammogram), while I was in the little dressing room they have (I go to a fairly large radiology center here in NYC, which is really nice, with amenities like deodorant, which you can't wear before the tests, nor powder, because as the doctor explained, both can simulate calcification). And I really intended to post it. But I chickened out. I'm just too damned self-conscious, even though my face isn't in the shot. People I work with read this blog. My husband sometimes reads it. My sister knows about it, as does my 16-year-old nephew. And I just can't post that pic, even if there's nothing remotely sexy or salacious about it. I feel a bit bad about that, because it would've been a real attention getter and I wanted to draw attention to this very important subject.

Not a fun post tonight. But an important one, for sure.

Feeling: . Damn. I need a *serious* mood icon.

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