WARNING: The following blog contains explicit talk on the subject of mammary glands.
I need to talk about boobs… nope that’s a horrid noun… what other word can I use??? Other suggestions I have googled are hooters (too strip joint), jugs (too derogative), cleavage (too posh), bosom (too matronly), knockers (too Carry On!), or good old-fashioned breasts perhaps? Even saying ‘breasts’ forces me to say the word a bit quietly as it sounds a bit rude, it wouldn’t sound rude if I was referring to chicken breasts but just ‘breasts’ on its own sounds a bit wrong.
My sudden urge to broach the subject is not a need to write the next 50 Shades of Grey but because I have spent my day, with my Mum, at my local breast clinic. Let me explain.
Last month, I found a lump under my arm. I decided to ignore it, convincing myself it was ‘nothing to worry about’. But then I became obsessed with its presence, finding myself having a little feel of it whenever I could, pretending I was scratching a non-existent mosquito bite in Sainsburys to check it was still there. I eventually realised this behaviour was just plain weird and finally booked a doctor’s appointment. Unfortunately, we have a lot of The Big C in my family history and breast cancer particularly (the word breast is not so rude in that sentence funnily enough). So, when I gave my doc a meet and greet with my armpit (lucky him!), he was fairly certain that my lump was fatty tissue (ew) but, after taking a closer look at my family history, decided to refer me for “further tests”.
My Mum, who is a breast cancer survivor, assured me my over-prodded lump felt normal to her and was nothing scary and happily agreed to accompany me for my day at the clinic. We arrived at 1030 today and was led into a waiting room of 15 women and 1 man and was informed that my day could last between 2-5 hours. We stocked up on chocolate and prepared ourselves for the long haul.
First up was my meeting with the consultant, we had a chat about all things mammary and she asked me to make myself comfortable for an examination. She then proceeded to knead my lung protectors as I lay there considering what an excellent loaf of bread she would make. She regarded my lump agreeing it was probably ‘fatty tissue’ to which I felt strangely offended on behalf of my lump. Her attention was then taken by my left boob which she explained ‘had a thickening to one side’, as if I knew what that meant, but assured me it was probably nothing but would send me upstairs for further tests.
Upstairs, we settled ourselves in another waiting room before I was called for my mammogram. For those not knowledgeable on this test, basically its a metal boob sandwich with your chest area becoming the filling. A nurse places your breast on a cold metal plate like she is about to fillet a fish, then instructs you to not move but to allow her to adjust your position for you. So considering I am stood, without top, facing a metal machine, the nurse then moves my arms and hips around in a weird sort of robotic dance leaving me awkwardly hugging a machine with my breast in an excruciating vice like grip.
Next up, just to make doubly sure my lump and new ‘thickening’ was of no concern, I was asked to wait for an ultrasound in our third waiting room/corridor of the day. I considered that as a Mother of three I have had my fair share of ultrasounds so felt fairly relaxed about this test. How wrong was I!
After what felt like a week in the waiting room, I was led into a darkened room by a nurse where a male doctor sat engrossed on his computer screen. She asked me to dismount top again, honestly should have worn a simpler bra, and ‘make myself comfortable’ on the bed with my paper towel dignity cover, nice! After a lot of grumbling coming from the male voice in the room, a little man in a bow tie came to my side of the curtain and sat on the edge of my bed forcing me to ‘budge up’! After I was instructed to remove my paper towel, along with every ounce of dignity, I was then smothered in lube as he proceeded to use the scanner in a windscreen wiper fashion to check out my rack. What made it massively awkward was that not only did he look a bit like Serge the meerkat out of the comparethemeerkat ads but actually sounded like him too! He checked out my lump which he literally scoffed at my suggestion that it was ‘a lump’ but instead said “it is merely muscle, or fat, or vein”. He then checked out ‘my thickening’ which he surmised to be cysts which apparently are ‘normal’. I’m not sure what is normal now! He then almost shouted that ‘your breasts are extremely dense!” and looked at me excitedly for a reaction, to which I wasn’t sure whether to say ‘thanks’ or not, is it a compliment or is he suggesting they are a bit stupid? My breasts are to be renamed dumb and dumber perhaps? He said it was not good or bad but just made the scan easier. I unnecessarily answered “Glad to help!”. Thankfully the ordeal was over fairly quickly and Serge was soon off to fiddle on his computer again.
We then returned to waiting room No.1 to see my earlier consultant. She took a look at my results from both scans and showed me the notes on the computer, which actually said ‘patient has extremely dense breasts’, thanks Serge! She was confident that I had no major concerns but that as I have three female relatives (Mum, Aunt and Cousin) with breast cancer that I should have the gene test, which is my next step. I also had ‘moderate risk’ stamped on my file so I can receive mammograms earlier than most women which I am very thankful for.
I am now cracking open the prosecco, raising a glass to dumb and dumber for their bravery today. I am forever thankful for my health, I have seen first hand the grip of cancer on loved ones and pray for my future health and wellbeing and salute the fight of those less fortunate than myself. We can only hope for future without this terrible disease but for now we have Serge to keep us smiling.
A true fighter friend of mine, who is kicking cancer up the butt but unfortunately by way of her own bank account, is Lauren’s Marvellous Medicine, if you would like to be inspired and to help her cause, please check out her weblink on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaurensMarvellousMedicine