Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Topic Close to My Heart

Today I’m going to talk about boobs, among other things. My male readers will be disappointed to know that this post won’t be as titillating as you’re hoping, but reading it might encourage you to help out someone you know. 

I know many mothers, and women in general, who don’t take the time to look after themselves. They get so busy juggling work and family, and running around trying to do everything for everyone, that they forget about their own needs. Sometimes it’s as simple as not making time to have coffee with a friend or getting a hair cut, but other times we ignore minor health issues because we don’t “have time” to go to the doctor. Admittedly I can’t put myself in that basket yet. I’ve been a complete hypochondriac since my son was born, mostly out of fear that something terrible will happen to me and I won’t get to see him grow up. I think it stems from a need to worry about something, and worrying about myself is far less terrifying than worrying about my boys.

One of the things that drove me to the doctor’s office in a state of panic this year was a lump in one of my breasts. I was still breastfeeding at the time, so I knew it was probably related to that, but in the back of my mind was a niggling doubt that it might be more serious. After driving myself crazy looking up my symptoms on that most professional of medical databases - Google (I know, REALLY bad idea!), I saw my GP and she referred me to a specialist. I had an ultrasound and they actually found two more lumps, which did nothing to allay my fears, and the doctor drained them on the spot. He assured me it was “probably nothing” and sent me home to wait for the results. It was the longest three days of my life! In the end, the doctor was right, they turned out to be benign cysts, but I need to have another ultrasound in 12 months time, just in case.

Breasts seem to be one of those body parts that most women are never happy with. They’re either too small, or too big, lopsided or droopy. We envy others who have what we want, and half the time they’d prefer what we have! I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with my boobs. I’ve been flat-chested all my life; the boys at school teased me and said I resembled an ironing board! It didn’t help that my Mum laughed out loud when I told her I thought I needed to start wearing a bra… As an adult I’ve learned a few tricks to avoid looking like a 12 year old and I’ve accepted that bikinis are not for me. When I was pregnant “the girls” looked impressive but failed to live up to expectations when it came to breastfeeding. Then the thought that something might be wrong with them made me realise just how attached to them I am (figuratively speaking).

This experience frightened the living daylights out of me and has made me much more vigilant in checking for lumps on a regular basis. I don’t have a family history of breast cancer and I’m in a low-risk category, but I don’t want to take any chances. And neither should you. There are a number of great events in support of the Breast Cancer Foundation this month (including the sale at Bralicious, which I went to a few days ago) and I’m urging all of you, whether you’re a teeny-tiny A cup or a magnificently buxom DD, to check for lumps, have mammograms, do whatever you need to do to keep yourselves fit and healthy. And husbands, if you’re still reading, don’t let your wives use the excuse of not having enough time. Take care ladies and have a great weekend x

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