Walk the Walk

June 30, 2016 at 12:56 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Here’s a dose of inspiration for you. I came across this story today and it nearly made me cry. The woman in the story just completed a two-month walk from Mississippi to Washington, DC in order to speak to lawmakers about our broken healthcare system – topless. She’s the survivor of a double mastectomy and wore her scars openly to show exactly what she’s had to go through. She lost her breasts, her home, her cars and her job during her battle with cancer and she’s trying to raise awareness about what kind of toll battling an illness can really take on someone’s mental, emotional, physical and fiscal health.

We’re all aware of brands trying to raise awareness about breast cancer or how to “Save the Tatas” but this story goes to show that women can live just fine without their tatas. Hell, my mom’s had just one for most of my life and is still one of the strongest and most beautiful women I know. This article goes to show that we don’t need to support the tatas or raise awareness about breast cancer so much as to support the women (and men!) going through the treatment and recovery and also raise awareness about the ramifications that having this disease can have. Clearly everyone knows about breast cancer but not everyone understands all of the dire consequences that come with it. And hopefully after this courageous woman meets with Congress, they’ll at least get the picture. Because her picture is absolutely worth a thousand words.

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September 30, 2011 at 10:21 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

As you may or may not recall from an earlier post this week, I got to experience my first mammogram Wednesday night.  Given that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, I wanted to play the part of your friendly neighborhood advocate and tell you about my experience.  Self-exams are good and should be a regular part of any woman’s life (and men – they get breast cancer too you know!) but mammograms are something that most women will eventually utilize as well.  I realize I’m a tad younger than the average for this but given my family history and the fact that it’s always better to be safe than sorry, my doctor and I agreed it was time.

Feel free to feel yourself up!

Or rather, she decided and I did what she told me to.  Now, I remember being a wee lass and stumbling across a piece of paper with a sad and pained looking cartoon woman.  She was reciting a poem about the smashing of breasts and how just plain awful it was (this was before email forwards so the trend was to make copies and pass ’em around).  Anyway this was something my mom had in her room and it taught me a lesson in snooping because I’ve been terrified of mammograms ever since.

That said, I’m here to tell you that it was not that bad.  Seriously.  I don’t have boobs of steel or anything but the entire process was quicker and easier than I’d ever imagined (and yes I’m sure the advancements in radiology over the last 20 years had something to do with this).  It was a little awkward to have the nurse hold my girls and move them around for the x-rays but any woman who can handle a PAP smear can handle this.  She did have me hold my breath while the photos were being taken and since I was a bit nervous I was concerned I might pass out with my boob shoved in the machine but luckily that didn’t happen.  Speaking of the machine, I suppose I should describe it at least a little.  It’s basically a piece of metal that compresses your breasts in a few different ways.  You place one on a metal plate type thingy then another part of the machine comes down to press.  Sort of like that equipment that flattens cars on an assembly line before they’re junked.  Hmm…that might not be the most appropriate imagery to use here but I think it applies.  It was uncomfortable, mostly because my boobs were stuck in what felt like a very bad date with a horny Transformer, but I wouldn’t say it was painful.  Of course, the nurse informed me that the pain varies woman to woman as some are just more sensitive than others.

Maybe my boobs really are made of steel?  Yeah that’s pretty doubtful because honestly I’m kind of a baby when it comes to pain tolerance.  So you can take my word for it when I say that it was really nothing to get your panties in a twist over.  After all, your breasts will be twisted enough!

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Check Out Your Boobs!

October 7, 2010 at 10:51 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

For those of you who don’t know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Instead of posting my bra color or where I put my purse on Facebook (yes, these posts are actually supposed to try to increase awareness), I figured I’d blog about it instead.  To be perfectly honest, I think that most people are pretty aware of breast cancer and it’s my opinion that sending money to fund research  and mammograms to sites like this or this is a bit of a better investment than buying 50 pink buttons or bracelets.  Whatever floats your boat though, as long as most of the proceeds are going towards something other than more bracelets.

Now, just because people are aware of breast cancer doesn’t mean they know it all.  People of any age can get breast cancer – and notice I say people, because yes men can get it too.  Personally, I know one man right now who is battling breast cancer and my mom and grandmother are both survivors; chances are it’s affected your life as well.  Most people know the importance of doing a self exam once a month and that’s how a lot of early detection is done.  Mammograms are scary but a necessary evil and from what I understand, not nearly as traumatic as they once were.

As I said, breast cancer is no secret and most everyone is familiar with it in one form or another.  In the interest of being informative, though, I’m going to copy and paste something I read about a lesser-known, difficult to diagnose and very dangerous form, called Inflammatory Breast Cancer.  Here are some of the nuts and bolts:

Unlike other breast cancers, this one kills the majority of people who get it, about 40% in five years, about 80% in ten years. We are often excluded from clinical trials because our mortality rates skew the results. Diagnosis alone is staged at IIIB.

Symptoms of Inflammatory Breast Cancer include

  • Sudden swelling of the breast. I mean an increase of a cup size overnight. In my case, my left boob swelled from a D cup to a grapefruit-sized swelling in 11 days. Who the hell ever heard of cancer growing that fast? That is the exactly how fast this rare, and most aggressive breast cancer moves.
  • The skin of the breast becomes reddened, like an infection.
  • There may be a low-grade fever or a seeming infection that doesn’t respond to antibiotics. HINT: if an infection doesn’t respond after two courses of antibiotics, get an incisional biopsy.
  • The skin on the breast may become incredibly itchy.
  • Nipple may be inverted or stretched asymmetrically.
  • The skin takes on the appearance of an orange, with ripples and dimpled skin.

If your girlfriend, wife, mother or you experience any of these symptoms without resolution in two weeks, insist on an incisional biopsy. The disease is so aggressive, HOURS, not day or weeks, but HOURS can make the different between living and dying.

You can now consider yourself a little more knowledgeable in the whole breast cancer field.  You’re welcome.

And seriously, guys or girls…don’t forget to check out your boobs.  Feeling yourself up can save your life so get busy groping!

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