After a lump scare in my mid-20s, I learned that all lumps are not the C-word, and it’s totally OK to get to second base with yourself, but getting to second with a woman donning a lab coat and a sick sense of humor is even better!
So, it turned out to be a cyst? A cyst; why didn’t I think of that? Where is there even room for a cyst in these double A’s?
Like the several million other young women with fibrous breast tissue, I would be required to get a yearly mammogram and ultrasound.
I had heard horrible tales of this test, and it’s crushing pain from older generations, like the passing of folklore. I feared the impending torture and dreaded what little my child bearing and breast-feeding had left unscathed would be permanently altered.
By the time my appointment had rolled around, the fear of having something less benign started to set in. If I can produce one kind of growth with no knowledge of it, why can’t I produce another kind? The closer I came to the appointment, the more the anxiety weighed me down — pressing me to skip it, to stay home and play sick.
Somehow, my legs and car were on autopilot, and I arrived at the office with time to spare. In the waiting room, I saw a woman not a day younger than 100. If she can do this, so can I. But then again, she’s old. She’s lived her life; she has less to fear. She’s seen her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, maybe even great-great... As my mind started to spiral into faulty reasoning, they called my name. Phew.
My tech was a brash woman who was incredibly verbose and clearly missing the filter most of us are born with. Maybe there is some kind of de-inhibiting process that occurs when looking at tatas all day. I’ll have my husband test my theory at the next bachelor party he attends.
“OK, let’s see what you got in the bra,” was the tech’s icebreaker.
“The last time someone used that line on me, he didn’t even get to first base, let alone second.”
“Don’t worry, I’m not lookin’ to make out.”
Clearly she skipped Socialization 101, also known as kindergarten, but I can banter with the best of them, and I concentrated more on my retorts than the fear of what was coming.
When I reluctantly disrobed, she cooed, “They’re so cute and perky.” Then she giggled to herself and mumbled something about getting my A’s to stay up on the shelf of the machine.
Though it’s been years since someone actually laughed at the size of my chest, it felt oddly familiar, and I patiently waited for the requisite pointing to ensue.
Luckily, I’m not easily embarrassed. Being a card-carrying member of the IBTC (Itty Bitty Titty Comitteee) prepared me for nothing, if not this.
Not that the IBTC was a club I longed to join. I desperately tried to make them bigger. If shear will power wasn’t enough, surely pairing it with chest pumps would do the trick. I must have done a million chest squeezes while chanting:
We must, we must, we must increase our bust. The bigger the better, the tighter the sweater. The boys are counting on us.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. What’s a bra without a bust?
Who would have thought such a brilliant plan would fall so, ahem, flat, especially when the seventh-grade girls pinky-swore it was totally fool-proof. Yeah well, I’m still an A, so who’s the fool now, seventh-grade girls?
After enjoying a good chuckle at my “cute and perkies,” my tech stuck on a set of beautiful nipple markers, which are stickers with silver balls that resemble starter earrings.
“Sorry, we’re all out of fringe,” she informed me, still getting a kick out of herself.
“Don’t worry, I have some at home,” I responded, doing the same.
As it turned out, she was right to laugh. The first time on the shelf they slipped right out. The intense squeezing actually slung-shot them back toward my body.
“What? Did you butter those puppies?” she asked with a snort.
I ignored her and rubbed my chest to stop the vibration the ricochet caused.
The second time she was more thorough and managed to get a couple ribs onboard, as anchors, I assume.
“Um, excuse me, is it OK that you have bones in there, too?” “Don’t worry. They won’t break.”
Squeeze, squeeze, squeezing harder. Shelf lifting. I raised myself onto my tippy toes to avoid my bosoms being ripped clean off. More squeezing. CRUNCH.
“What was that? Bone?”
“All right, just one more squeeze.”
“Fine, but I think milk might come out.”
“Oh, are you breast-feeding?”
After flattening my boobs into pancakes, I felt like a cartoon victim of a falling anvil. I patiently waited for them to snap back, or for an animated squirrel to come along, stick in a tube and pump them up. There was no one, no squirrels or skunks or other well-meaning rodents came to my rescue, so I shoved them back into my sports bra. This is what all the hype is about? What my friends are dreading? The relief of being done was quickly cancelled out by the anxiety of knowing I had to and wait for my results.
As I passed the waiting room, I noticed the same elderly woman shakily stick her nipple markers in a plastic baggy and into her purse, where they most likely sunk into an abyss of sucking candies, saltines and Sweet-N’ Low packets.
I imagined one kinky grandpa with a bottle of Viagra eagerly awaiting her return and got a chuckle of my own. I refrained from pointing, as her intentions were legit. If your boobs hang down to your knees and grandpa’s sight isn’t what it used to be, you might need some assistance finding your nipples. That’s one thing the members of the IBTC don’t have to worry about — gravity.
The findings revealed another cyst that after a follow-up ultrasound came back negative. I told my body it is not allowed to create so much as a zit without my permission from here on out. I will still be at next year’s appointment in case my body disobeys my explicit instructions. I want the option of stealing nipple markers in about 70 years.
Whether you can find your nipples or not, do your self-exams. It’s worth the trip to second base.
Go to southfloridaparenting.com and share this mammogram and breast exam reminder to all the women in your life, or I will come out there and feel you up... I mean it!