After a lump scare in my late-20s, I learned that all lumps are not the C-word and it's totally okay to get to second base with yourself!
After finding a pea-sized lump and getting a needle biopsy, I was told that, like the several million other young women with fibrous breast tissue, I would be required to get a yearly mammogram and ultrasound.
I'd heard horrible tales of the mammogram and it's crushing pain. I feared the impending torture and dreaded that what little my child bearing and breastfeeding had left unscathed would be permanently altered.
By the time my appointment had rolled around, the fear of having something less benign than a fibroid cyst had started to set in, as well. If I can produce one kind of growth with no knowledge of it, why can't I produce another kind?
While contemplating in the waiting room, I saw a woman, not a day under 100. OK, if she can do this, so can I, I thought, resigned to get through this.
My tech was a brash lady who was incredibly verbose, and clearly missing the filter most of us are born with. Maybe there's 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.
"Okay, 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," I replied, a bit unnerved by her frankness.
"Don't worry, I'm not lookin' to make-out," she quickly retorted, in a "we could do this all day" kinda way.
When I reluctantly disrobed, she cooed, "Aww. 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 Committee) prepared me for nothing, if not this.
Not that the IBTC was a club I longed to join. I desperately tried to make my "itty bitties" bigger. If sheer will power wasn't enough, surely pairing that with chest pumps would do the trick. I must have done a million 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 7th grade girls pinky swore it was totally fool proof?
Yeah well, I'm still an A, so who's the fool now, 7th 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.
As it turned out, she was right to laugh at the size of my boobs. The first time on the shelf they slipped right out. The intense squeezing actually slung-shot them back towards my body.
"What? Did you butter those puppies?" She asked, with a snort.
I ignored her, rubbing my chest to stop the vibration the ricochet had caused.
The second time, she was more thorough, and she managed to get a couple ribs on-board, as anchors, I assume.
"Um, excuse me, is it okay 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.
"That sounded like bone, no?"
"Just one more squeeze."
"Seriously? I think milk might come out!"
"Oh, when was the last time you breastfed?"
"Umm, six years ago."
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 in them and pump them up.
But alas, no squirrels or skunks or other well meaning rodents came to my rescue, so I rolled them up and shoved them back into my bra.
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. If your boobs hang down to your knees and grandpa's sight isn't what it used to be, he 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. Look, I want the option of stealing nipple markers in about 70 years.
Whether you can find your nipples or not, do your self exams!
PS - National Breast Cancer Awareness month is coming to a close, so please take a second to share or like or tweet or pin this mammogram/breast exam reminder (or any reminder) to all the women in your life or I will come out there and feel you up! Oh, I'll do it!
Jenny From the Blog
40 Things Every Mom Should Have or Should Know By 40
Read More From Jenny From the Blog at The Suburban Jungle