One for the ladies

Seriously, guys might want to skip this. It’s about some of the less-than-fun aspects of having breasts.

This past couple of months have been a little more difficult that usual. I’ve been slammed at work, I’m now the only assistant for 50 people, two assistant vice presidents, and a vice president. The upside is, for the first time in a couple of years, I’m feeling like a member if the team again.

My brother died, leaving me as the last member of my nuclear family. The upside is he’s no longer in pain and dealing with a plethora of medical issues.

Last but not least, I went for my yearly mammogram. No biggie until I got a call two days after Scott’s passing, saying there was an issue they want to investigate further. No upside, I was caught between freaking the fuck out and “you know that’s the same cyst you’ve been dealing with since you were 25.”

I go in and find it’s not in the same breast as the cyst and now I’m getting a little antsy. A couple more shots and a magnification mammogram, then I go in for an ultrasound. The doctor walks in and shows me on the screen what has caught her attention. It’s a tiny cluster of three little calcifications and what looks like fine spider webs.

She does the ultrasound and then turns the screen so I can see it. Lo and behold, she can’t find the little suckers. She able to show them to me in the sonogram (the images taken during an ultrasound) and told me she wanted to do a biopsy.

Here’s where the upside kicked in. I thought about friends I’ve lost from breast cancer and those who are surviving quite nicely post-treatment. I donate platelets in memory and in honor of them all. I mourn those I’ve lost and celebrate those who survive. I looked at that tiny spot and immediately found my Zen that I’d lost over the past weeks. I looked at that little spot and called it what it is: Bullshit!

Photo by cottonbro on

I was asked when I wanted to schedule the biopsy. My response of “how about now?” was met with “how about next week?”

There’s an info pack you get when you schedule. Top on the list: Get a sports bra to wear after the procedure. Hello, Amazon. I order two from different manufacturers. One was great! I can adjust the support from a little movement to jiggle-free. The other …

Ladies, I don’t know how may of you wore “training bras.” I did, but I thought they were silly. What the hell was I training my boobs to do? Roll over? Dance in a kick line? Run a marathon?

I was in my mid – late 20s when Leslie, a well-endowed friend of mine, and I went shopping at Bloomingdale’s together one day. We stopped in the lingerie section and I was looking at some pretties. She gave me a look and said, “Honey, the training bras are over there.” The clerk’s eyes got very large, and he said, “Oh SNAP!” to which I replied, “I would, but if I break it, I buy it!” All three of us laughed so hard I thought we were all going to be thrown out of the store.

The boob fairy didn’t visit me until I was about 35. The she hit me with her little star stick and she hit me hard. This wasn’t a gradual growing into them. I suddenly had to learn to deal with some large cuppage constantly getting in my way.

So, the second sports bra was nowhere near the same size of the first and didn’t even supply the implied support of a training bra. It would have been worse than no bra at all due to additional material flopping about. I could have put an eye out with all that bouncing! My cats would have been in danger! Needless to say, that’s a return and a one-star rating heading that manufacturer’s way.

The pre-op paperwork for a mammogram and stereotactic biopsies tell you “for your comfort, you might want to stop or lower caffeine for a couple of days prior to the procedure. No. For your safety, you want me fully caffeinated.

The biopsy was a stereotactic biopsy, which means it’s guided by a mammogram to zero in on the mass and a core sample is taken. There was one nurse working with the doctor and another whose job is to keep the patient calm. She was hovering a bit too much for my taste, but there are people who need that comfort and care, so there was no way I was going to discourage her for fear she’d back off for the wrong person in the future.

A small tag was inserted in case they need to zero in on that spot again. The entire thing took about a hour and a half. Then it’s ice, ice baby and the sports bra. And we wait.

There was minor bleeding that took a little effort to slow, steri-strips, Tegaderm over the steri-strips, and a couple more mammogram images. There was aftercare paperwork, which my cat was desperate to lay on. and trying to figure when the results could be back. According to one set of papers, it’s three to five days. According to another set, it’s five to seven days.

Either way, If the results say we watch and do this again in six months, so be it. If the results suggest otherwise, I’m taking a page from my friend Elizabeth’s book: It’s war; bring it, and I’m going to kick some ass!

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