Saturday, October 12, 2013

Let's talk about boobs

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, everyone wear pink month, buy a shit ton of Yoplait and save those gross lids month and remember to check your boobs month.

Can I be honest?  I never checked mine, not in October, or for any month for that matter.  Well, that's not ENTIRELY true.  I gave myself a very poorly done self-exam once after I found out my best friend's mom was diagnosed, then when a co-worker was diagnosed years later I checked again.

My husband was more than happy to "exam" them anytime I wanted, but quite frankly I figured if I didn't know anything was there then I was just fine.  That's not a safe place to be friends!

I even had a mammogram, when the giant Boobmobile showed up from Sacred Heart Medical to Coldwater Creek when I lived & worked in Sandpoint.  Of course, I got the all clear.

Breast cancer runs rampant in my family, as does the BRCA gene.  My sweet father, in the early 2000s, had himself tested, at a great personal expense, and thankfully did not have the gene.  So I figured I had a get out of jail free card.

If you're just getting introduced to Bliss & Chaos and haven't read anything from the summer of 2012, I'll save you a quick trip down memory lane: I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I'm re-living the experience today, just because I want to tell you to please check your breasts.  Not just in October, but regularly.

And I've said it before, but if you aren't comfortable (we're told our WHOLE lives not to touch ourselves and then suddenly we have to make peace with feeling ourselves up?!) just have a glass of wine (or three, whatever works), read a naughty book and let your husband/significant other go to town.

And yes, I'm living proof that even if you don't have a lot in the chestal region you still can get breast cancer.  I remember being called a "pirate's dream" (thank you Craig Woods, are you in jail these days by any chance?) for having a sunken chest in junior high (like who didn't?!) and as an adult I was no different and I still got the cancer!

And I'm also standing here today as proof that breast cancer is survivable, particularly when you catch it early, like I did, but I got LUCKY.  I wasn't doing a routine self-exam, nope, I was laying on the bed talking to my husband about anything and everything and I felt an itch, scratched and found the lump.

I knew immediately it wasn't going to be good news, and I was right.  I love to be right, but this one time would have been nice to be wrong.  

Ever since all this happened I've run out of fingers and toes to count the number of women I've met, or knew, who are, or about to become, strong survivors.  My own surgical oncologist was diagnosed this summer!

But instead of dropping like flies, we're surviving, thriving and as best as I can I'm trying to proselytize the message: CHECK YOUR BOOBIES!

I'm not shy about it either, I tell people all the time, not because I want the "oh I'm so sorry" response, please don't EVER feel sorry for me, seriously.

I mean, let's be honest, yes it was a BIG inconvenience, but it could have been worse if we hadn't caught it when we did.

AND, as long as we're being truthful: I HIT THE BOOB LOTTERY.  So my consolation prize is a nice, brand spanking new rack.  There are no losers in this scenario.  If I hadn't found the lump, totally different story.

But that's the message I'm trying to give you today.  Check your boobs, feel them up, know what they feel like so you know if something isn't right.

And honestly, if you have to knock back a couple of cocktails and let your husband do it, go for it, he might be a little more thorough than you would anyways, jussayin'.

Don't think for one second you don't have to worry about it either, I was 39 years old (young, that's what they kept saying which was super fun to hear), no BRCA gene in my body, the three times I checked I was clear and then it happened.  And it COULD happen to you.

It doesn't matter if you have family history, no family history, gene, no gene, young, old, healthy or not.  Breast Cancer is like that mean little kid in junior high (I'm looking at you Craig Woods) who randomly picks on girls just because he feels like it.

So do me and your family a big ol' favor and just be sure, not just in October, but every month of the year.  And, in the end, if you catch it early enough, you too can have a nice new front porch and the blessing of a long life ahead.

No comments: