It’s been awhile since I have taken on a cause on the page, so I guess it’s time again. Plus, my two favorite things to write about are boobs and poop, so it’s all topical.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
If you have breasts’ check ’em.
Men, if your wives/girlfriends have breasts’. Volunteer to check ’em.
I actually have a story about this topic, but it’s a little counterproductive to tell it. What the hell, I’m telling it anyway.
About four years ago, I was in a bathroom stall at work and noticed I was a little niply. I stuck my hand down my shirt to adjust the girls and noticed something not quite right.
I have only felt complete terror a few times in my life and this was one of them. My blood literally turned to ice water. A bowling ball dropped in the pit of my stomach. I marched out to what was unfortunately a public phone and called my doctor’s office.
‘I found something.’
‘You found something?’ said the receptionist on the other end of the phone.
‘In your breast?’
‘Yes.’ I said, thankfully that I wouldn’t have to announce I found a lump in my breast amongst a throng of coworkers.
‘Are you at work and you can’t talk?’ she intuited.
She made an appointment for that afternoon. I excused myself from work later that day and drove off to the doctor, cursing myself for not doing regular breast examinations. I had never looked forward to having the doctor examine my boobs before, but I was darned near peeing my pants to have someone else take a look at that thing.
I got to the doctor’s office and stripped to the waist. The nurse gave me a Kleenex to put over myself. I lie on the examining table, trying not to envision myself without hair, without breasts.
Finally my fabulous doctor came in and put me through a barrage of tests. I hadn’t shaved my pits so I was a little embarrassed to be a member of the Unshorn Sisters of the Apocalypse. The most uncomfortable thing she made me do was sit up and face her, naked to the waist, and raise my arms to the sky and then lower them. I felt fat, naked and hairy’ all of which are not a good way to feel.
She had me get dressed and then came back to talk with me (one of the reasons my doctor is so awesome’ she doesn’t have huge discussions with you while you’re naked). She confided that she has felt cancerous lumps and mine didn’t feel like cancer to her, but she wanted to have a mammogram done just to make sure. If that came back inconclusive, they’d stick a needle in my boob and take a sample of the thing. After hearing that, the mammogram sounded pretty damn good!
She made an appointment for me for the following morning. Boy, if you might have cancer, they open their schedules for you! I can’t get in to see my dermatologist more than four months from the time of appointment, but they’re just ansty to put my boob in a vice.
The entire time I drove over, I was imagining a demonstration they had done on a morning show. They put a balloon in a mammogram machine and showed how they squashed it one way then they turned the machine and squashed it another way. The weird thing was that they turned the machine with the balloon still in the machine, giving the impression that they leave you stuck in the machine when they turn it for the side picture! I decided on the drive over that if they did that, I was going to punch them. No judge in the world would convict me of assault’. It would be complete self-defense.
They brought me down to the basement of the clinic’. I suppose so the screaming of women with twisted boobs wouldn’t scare the other patients. They brought me into a room and gave me a voluminous robe and told me to strip to the waist again and put the robe on so it opens in front. I have to tell you, I loved this robe. It was huge and wrapped around me like a hug. If they make robes like this, why do they always give you these little sucky things at the doctor’s office?
I sat in my humongous robe and waited. The mammogram machine looked like a huge scary piece of machinery’. It reminded me of those things mechanics use to life engines out of cars. Scattered throughout the room were disembodied breasts’teaching aids for breasts exams, I expect, but it was a bit unnerving seeing breasts of every size scattered around a machine which twists women’s breasts. They looked like the ones that accidentally came off in the process. On the wall, three examples of mammogram x-rays. The first one said ‘Light Pressure’ and showed a breast with no cancer. The middle one said ‘Moderate Pressure’ and showed that same breast with no cancer. The last one, where most people would expect ‘Too Much Pressure’ instead said ‘Accurate Pressure’ and showed that same breast but now riddled with scary spots.
Finally, the technician came in. She was a slightly built lady, mousy in appearance but little did I know, harbored the heart of a dominatrix.
We chatted for a minute and then without warning, her icy little hands scooted under my robe and were fondling my boob. Yikes! She opened my robe and began searching my chest. I tried to help ‘The lump is over here’ but I guess it was a little game she liked to play with herself’ Hide and Lump Seek.
She felt the lump and then placed a sticker on it. She explained ‘This is just a sticker with a tiny little BB on it. It will help us to see on the x-ray where the lump is.’ Um, hello, if you need freaking visual aids to tell where the damn lump is, why the hell do you bother with this Boob Squishing Machine????
She led me to the Mammography machine. ‘Does this hurt?’ I asked. ‘It is some slight discomfort.’ She said. Liar. I should have never believed her. She had me put my hands on these two bars on the machine and then arranged my breast on an extremely cold piece of glass. She then adjusted the machine to fit my height and then needed to readjust my breasts just so. I cannot really express how strange it was to have this strange woman moving and grooving my girl onto this plate like it were a very fine tenderloin steak.
Then she started the crusher. I watched through the top plate as my breast went from a lovely round orb to a flat inch-thick serving platter. It got larger and flatter than I’d ever have thought possible. In addition, the woman had adjusted the plate to my height a little off, so I was actually standing on my tiptoes, hanging by my squashed breast. I watched the number on the machine. She actually adjusted the machine via this thing that looked like a steering wheel on a racing arcade game. She said, ‘Tell me when it hurts and I’ll stop’. ‘It hurts!’ I said, figuring she’d let up on the pressure, but she seemed satisfied with that and walked out of the room, shouting over her shoulder ‘Don’t move, don’t breathe’. A fine thing to tell someone who’s hanging from her breast!
After what seemed like an eternity, I heard the machine click and she returned to take the side view. I let out my breath, figuring that she couldn’t possible squash my breast as hard sideways. I was wrong.
I relaxed slightly. Ok, both views done! Suddenly, she started messing with my unbesmirched breast! No, no! That girl’s clean! She didn’t have a lump! She’s a happy healthy breast! ‘We need to take a picture of a normal breast for comparison.’ Again with the squashing. Again with the dinner plate. Again with the hanging while not breathing.
Finally, we were finished. I pulled in my dinner plate sized deflated orbs, rolled them up and pinned them to my chest with a clothespin. Later she returned with a small object in her hand. I watched as she unscrewed the top glass plate from the machine and replaced it with this weird object.
‘We use this cone when we need a clearer reading.’ I stepped up to the plate with little trepidation and allowed her to place my breast on the Squisher again. This little thing looks like nothing compared to the big plate, I thought.
She lowered the clamping thing and I started cringing ‘It hurts it hurts it hurts it hurts ITHURTSITHURTSITHURTS!!!!’ She squinched up her face. ‘Yes, the cone does hurt a little worse than the plate.’ With that, she reminded me to not breathe or move and left to go make her lunch and drink a nice cappuccino.
She returned and released me from the machine and then said that she needed to take the side view. I told her ‘No way, Lady!’ She said, ‘Fine, get cancer, see what I care?’ and then wiped the foam from the cappuccino off her lips. I made her promise she wouldn’t crank that thing down so hard and she nodded. I reluctantly unrolled my breast and allowed her to place it in the machine again. Once I was hanging there, she lowered it until my voice reached squeaking pitch and said ‘ItHURTS!!!!’ She nodded and then gave the damn steering wheel thing a final spin harder and then fled from the room to finish her cross-stitch sampler while I hung there swearing and trying not to breathe or move.
Finally she released me. I called her a ‘Big Fat Liar’ and threatened to throw a disembodied breast at her. She told me that she was finished with the boob squishing and I told her that she was damn right that she was finished because if she tried to put me in that machine again I’d punch her lights out. She then explained that the process really only seems to hurt people with lots of boobage or very little boobage. She felt my boob again. No lump. I felt for the lump. No lump. It was gone. I think she had actually popped it.
I got dressed and fled the clinic. My boobs hurt. The one that was ‘coned’ REALLY hurt. I drove back to work and rubbed my breast. I’m certain that I gave a lot of commuters an eyeful. That’s when I realized that I still had that goddamned BB sticker on my boob. I reached down my shirt with one hand and peeled the sticker off and threw it out the window.
The next day, my coned breast had a bruise on it the size of a fist (or the size of that damn cone!). But it was a cancer-free bruise! Yay!!!
Let me tell you, though, if men had to put their goods into the squisher machine, they’d come up with another way of doing that procedure pretty damn quick.
So there it is. My monthly public service announcement. Tomorrow is my 200th entry and I’m trying to do something cool. If you have a favorite past entry or entries, please tell the Message Boards.