After a lump scare in my late-20′s, I learned that all lumps are not the C-word and it’s totally okay to get to 2nd base with yourself!
Let me tell you a tale, a tale of two titties (oh, how that word makes me cringe, but it’s so much better for the pun)…
After finding a pea sized lump and getting a needle biopsy, I was told that like the several million other young women with fibrous breast tissue, I would be required to get a yearly mammogram and ultrasound.
I’d heard horrible tales of the mammogram and it’s crushing pain. I feared the impending torture and dreaded that, what little my child bearing and breastfeeding had left unscathed, would be permanently altered.
By the time my appointment had rolled around, the fear of having something less benign than a fibroid cyst had started to set in, as well. If I can produce one kind of growth with no knowledge of it, why can’t I produce another kind?
While contemplating in the waiting room, I saw a woman, not a day under 100. OK, if she can do this, so can I, I thought, resigned to get through this.
My tech was a brash woman who was incredibly verbose, and clearly missing the filter most of us are born with. Maybe there’s some kind of de-inhibiting process that occurs when looking at tatas all day. I’ll have my husband test my theory at the next bachelor party he attends.
“Okay, let’s see what you got in the bra,” was the tech’s icebreaker.
“The last time someone used that line on me he didn’t even get to first base, let alone second,” I replied, a bit unnerved by her frankness.
“Don’t worry, I’m not lookin’ to make-out,” she quickly retorted, in a “we could do this all day” kinda way.
When I reluctantly disrobed, she cooed, “Aww. They’re so cute and perky.” Then she giggled to herself, and mumbled something about getting my A’s to stay up on the shelf of the machine.
Though it’s been years since someone actually laughed at the size of my chest, it felt oddly familiar and I patiently waited for the requisite pointing to ensue.
Luckily, I’m not easily embarrassed. Being a card carrying member of the IBTC (Itty Bitty Titty Comitteee) prepared me for nothing, if not this.
Not that the IBTC was a club I longed to join. I desperately tried to make my”itty bitties” bigger. If shear will power wasn’t enough, surely pairing that with
chest pumps would do the trick. I must have done a million squeezes while chanting:
We must, we must, we must increase our bust.
The bigger the better, the tighter the sweater.
The boys are counting on us. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
What’s a bra without a
Who would have thought such a brilliant plan would fall so, ahem, flat — especially when the 7th grade girls pinky swore it was totally fool proof.
Yeah well, I’m still an A, so who’s the fool now, 7th grade girls?
After enjoying a good chuckle at my “cute and perkies,” my tech stuck on a set of beautiful nipple markers, which are stickers with silver balls that resemble starter earrings.
“Sorry, we’re all out of fringe,” she informed me, still getting a kick out of herself.
As it turned out, she was right to laugh at the size of my boobs. The first time on the shelf they slipped right out. The intense squeezing actually slung-shot them back towards my body.
“What? Did you butter those puppies?“ She asked, with a snort.
I ignored her, rubbing my chest to stop the vibration the ricochet had caused.
The second time she was more thorough, and she managed to get a couple ribs onboard, as anchors, I assume.
“Um, excuse me, is it okay that you have bones in there too?”
“Don’t worry. They won’t break.”
Squeeze, squeeze, squeezing harder. Shelf lifting. I raised myself onto my tippy-toes to avoid my bosoms being ripped clean off.
More squeezing. CRUNCH.
“That sounded like bone, no?”
“Just one more squeeze.”
“Seriously? I think milk might come out!”
“Oh, when was the last time you breastfed?”
“Umm, 6 years ago.”
After flattening my boobs into pancakes, I felt like a cartoon victim of a falling anvil. I patiently waited for them to snap back, or for an animated squirrel to come along, stick in a tube in them and pump them up.
But alas, no squirrels or skunks or other well meaning rodents came to my rescue, so I rolled them up and shoved them back into my bra.
As I passed the waiting room, I noticed the same elderly woman shakily stick her nipple markers in a plastic baggy and into her purse — where they most likely sunk into an abyss of sucking candies, saltines, and Sweet N’ Low packets.
I imagined one kinky grandpa with a bottle of Viagra, eagerly awaiting her return, and got a chuckle of my own. If your boobs hang down to your knees and grandpa’s sight isn’t what it used to be, he might need some assistance finding your nipples.
That’s one thing the members of the IBTC don’t have to worry about … gravity.
The findings revealed another cyst that after a follow-up ultrasound, came back negative. I told my body, it is not allowed to create so much as a zit without my permission from here on out. I will still be at next year’s appointment in case my body disobeys my explicit instructions. Look, I want the option of stealing nipple markers in about 70 years.
Whether you can find your nipples or not, do your self exams!
PS – National Breast Cancer Awareness month is coming to a close, so please take a sec to remind all the women in your life to do a self exam and get a mammogram or I will come out there and feel you up!!! Oh, I’ll do it!
Jenny From the Blog
I live for the day someone refers to my boobs as “cute and perky”. Alas, I do believe only anorexia would get me there and I just don’t think I have the stamina.
Please, anorexia is way too time consuming, just go get yourself a good stomach virus and let nature take it’s course.
The day of my first Mammogram, we ate pancakes for dinner with a Reeces cup. My kiddies loved it! Thanks for the laughs!
I did the same dance as a 7th grader to the same result. Well, until I decided to gain weight, at which point they grew tremendously, then I lost weight, lost the boobs, kept the stretch marks.
Thanks for talking about mandatory fibrous mammograms. I was unaware, am now 30, and should probably start checking in to the option.
Sarah, I’m glad I could be useful and clearly more so than the bust pumps. Go buy yourself a set of chicken cutlets and stick them in your bra to push those puppies up! Love me some cutlets!
Desiree- good luck and take the same cutlet advice I gave Sarah, that’s what all the celebs who don’t have boob jobs do and if it’s good enough for some Hollywood tart gosh darnit it’s good enough for me. Yes, that is my montra!
This couldn’t have come at a better time as I have my first mammogram scheduled this Friday. The sad part for me is that my perky B cups are deflated after breastfeeding three babies. I remember the days they stood their ground, now they’re looking at it.
Another winner Jenny. Oh, did Charlie Sheen ruin that word!
That grandma in the waiting room sounds like the grandma I had.
Saved every darn thing she could get her hands on!
Great job. Humorous look at a very serious subject. Of course, we all know that humor can lighten the mood and help us get through some of the tougher moments in life. I’m sure you’ve done that for the ladies who read your column.
Being a man, I don’t feel at all squeemish about mamograms. A testicular touch or a colonoscopy prod is an entirely different question. But, that’s another story.
You Rock! You always inspire me and this is no exception.
This sounds crazy but I was sooo scared to get a mammogram. They seem so painful and I don’t have anyone in my family that has had any issues. I loved your article and it made me feel like it’s not such a big deal. So I am actually making my first appointment.
Thanks for all the kind words. Babe I’m honored to have inspired you to have your chest flattened!!!
But it beats not having one to squish.
This was an awesome post! Well thanks for the reminder…I always frown at my boobs. Guess it gets bad when I admire my cats nipples for being so small and perky. I am almost scared to youtube how to do a proper breast exam…or is it boobtube? Horrible joke, i know…
Well I will be a new follower of your blog..check out mine when you have a sec.
My mom is a breast cancer survivor and I’ve been having regular mammies since I turned 30 because of the increased risks.
So far, so good…and except for one scare that turned out to be a benign cyst my breast-icles are behaving themselves quite nicely.
Though not the least bit painless, those exams are vital to women’s health.
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Thanks Rebecca, I will. Sad commentary when cat nipples look good… only sadder if your significant other agrees!
Grammy- I promise
Awesome- too true, though my last mammo was relatively painless… does it count to call it painless if you’re hopped up on crack? I’m not asking for any reason… just wondering is all.
“…does it count to call it painless if you’re hopped up on crack?”
I wouldn’t know. It never occurred to me to try it any other way.
Erm..I mean, I’ve heard that’s how it’s done. Yeah, that’s what I meant to say.
I didn’t know you were also a member of the IBTC! Welcome! I happen to be cofounder of this organization. I’m sending you your membership jacket as we speak.
I’m due for my yearly mammogram as well. I don’t see why it’s a big deal really. I spent most of my college years topless for no reason at all, so I have no issue with flashing the ta-tas to complete strangers. And after nursing 3 boys? There’s really no sensation left to speak of. Sad. Now the Colon Rectal Doc? That’s a different story. HE has to buy me dinner first.
Oh, my God … PLEASE come visit my new blog at http://www.olddognewtits.com. It’s all about boobs, boob jobs and whatever other craziness occurs in my life these days. Loved this entry. I just went through the same experience about two weeks ago myself. A scare. And it’s all on the blog. Now, I’m taking a vote amongst my readers about my five boob job consultations. We’re picking two doctors for round two. Come join the party!
And don’t judge the old lady. As soon as I left my mammo/ultrasound appointment, I stuck that purple nipple marker on the outside of my wallet. It’s a reminder. About everything really. 🙂
I will visit it today… Love the name. Also, you are making me regret not keeping my nipple marker. Damn it. Well, hindsight truly is 20/20!
I was that chick in school who developed early. Like 4th grade. But don’t hate me too much. I had a breast bud so I had one big boob and one small boob. Super awesome.
I have fibrous tissue too, though they haven’t signed me up for a mammogram membership yet. Instead my exams just take 3 times as long.
The only time I was uncomfortable de-robing was in Norway and Iceland. Everyone derobes before taking a shower to get in the pool or Blue Lagoon or whatever you’re doing. But scandinavians are like the most perfect specimens ever. It’s distracting. Plus I somehow feel like I’m letting them down. “Oh, there’s a curvy 5’2″ brunette over there. Why aren’t her legs 5 feet long like ours? What is wrong with her?? Should we have an intervention?”
So I just feel like I’m ruining their day. Sad.
Well Susan, one less place I have to visit. Buff tall blonds derobing and then judging you? Sounds like the hazing that goes on for Victoria’s Secret models, like right before they decide if you get to wear the wings or not.
Did you quit writing your blog?
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THis is a fabulous story, and loved the complimentary graphics…. Im sending it out to all the women in my life….
Much appreciated Em
As an oral cancer survivor and someone who writes about cancer a lot, I really enjoy your humor, Jenny. I wrote a blog post encouraging African-American women to get tested for breast cancer because they are often less likely to go. Some girlfriends rent a limo and go out for drinks after getting tested the same day. At least it takes the edge off those sore ta-tas!
Lisa that’s a great idea. A limo makes everything fancy… even a mammogram. Thanks for the kind words and keep those great ideas coming!
Good read, Jenny! Thank you! Did you know that #ThinkPink started where I live? Redding, CA. Our Sundial Bridge will be lit up pink tomorrow night (20 Oct 11) in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. See you there. @ReloMary
PLEASE, Let me help with quality of life issues…. LOVE your site…. Just want to share and help all!
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You had me at the tech’s icebreaker – and it only got better. Thanks for the Monday morning laugh. Oh wait, it’s Tuesday…
NO prob… it was one of those instances that made me think “thank goodness I write about actual occurrences, because I couldn’t make this shit up.”
Thank you for being not just a mommy, comedy blogger but a healthy voice for all women!
I get my boobie check up this week. Frankly, I kind of dread it but do it anyway because having my boobs flattened for a few minutes is a lot smarter if it can potentially protect me from an escalation of a disease process.
So I say “SAVE THE TA TAs” ladies. Feel yourself up and get a mammogram!
Word! (to your stepmother)
Wow something else to look forward to! Yay! The ONLY good side to breast feeding was thr bigger boobs. When I quit, not only did my boobs shrink they sagged. I was a 32AA with a sagging problem. Also, I suspected that my nipples never returned to their original size. My fears were confirmed a couple of years ago. I forfeited my membership on the ITBC and purchased a fine set (saline. I will not gross you out with the statistics of mold behind the silicone kind!!!) (it’s recommended that those sisters get an MRI every 3 years to be safe). After my consult, the dr confirmed that my nipples were “out of proprtion with the rest of my breast” read: they eere crazy BIG Anyway after an experience more painful than childbirth I am still an impossible to find size :32D. Go figure.
Oh, I loved those boobs. I actually wrote a goodbye letter to them that’s somewhere on the site. PS Julia – you don’t kid around 32D??? Huh? I guess if you’re gonna do something you might as well do it right.
…. and if you dont want to feel them , then I will.
Wow. Creeper in the very first comment. New record!
After all George, You would feeling them for a good cause, right?, lol 🙂
If I have learned anything from celebrity couples it’s that our nickname is key. Our marriage might last, but however his name mashes with mine will live for eternity.
I couldn’t agree more. If they had realized 30 years ago they were DiRhea, they certainly wouldn’t have wasted all that useless time together, duh! I’m Markenny or Jennark, shit, those suck. Do you have a good lawyer?
Sounds painful and about as humiliating as getting fitted for a bra! Both are worth it, though!
Glad everything was benign… And I am also a card carrying member of IBTC… but I don’t think anyone would call them “perky” anymore.
I say being a member is chic, though my daughter says my boobs are like cat boobs … so um, not the best comparison. I try to explain that she’s missing the point… I want it to look more like I’m doing crack or heroine. Whatever, kids today, am I right?
This entire process sounds so painful and horrifying– I went to a storytelling festival earlier this year and a woman told a very similar story with sound effects and hand gestures. *scary* Also: I can’t believe she is able to say those sorts of things to you?! I guess it makes sense that a sadist would have that job though.
Glad everything came back alright!
Great post. Mammograms are as uncomfortable as they are necessary. I tell myself this every time I go for mine. With breast cancer on both sides of my family, I just can’t risk it.
We don’t get stickers in NZ. This is hilarious Jenny. Funnily enough, I’ve just posted about having lumps (which actually disappeared in the time it took to get the appointment). You could turn your story into a play with all that crazy chat from your radiographer!