Monday, June 08, 2009

My body is a wonderland

“Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.” ~ Bill Cosby

I alluded awhile ago to a health situation I am currently facing, and I've thought long and hard about how much I want to share here with you. Those of you in the Inner Inner Circle know what's up. The rest of you probably know that something is going on but don't know details. So here you go.

After a string of absolutely fine, run-of-the-mill mammograms, I had one come back with some suspicious spots. I've gone in for additional diagnostic mammograms, and what we know now is that something is going on, but we don't really know what.

Today, at 1:00 pm Central time, I'm having a breast biopsy. And I'm facing it with as much courage and humor as I can muster.

Breast cancer killed my maternal grandmother. The spring after cancer killed my father, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She beat it. Take that, you smug bastard disease!

It's even odds right now that what is showing on my mammogram will turn out to be nothing - a benign group of little cells. Or, it could be malignant. We don't know until the biopsy, so that's what we're doing.

I on purpose didn't put this out there for general consumption. The ones who need to know - my mom, my sister, my best friend, my dear posse - all know the gory details. For the rest of you, I've not made mention. I don't want your pity, I don't want your fear. I don't want to talk about it, because if you bring it up, I have to think about it. And then I just get scared.

Besides that, I am pretty sure that HIPPA laws prevent me from even acknowledging that I have breasts, much less that there might be anything wrong with them. Please sign the attached form to indicate your acknowledgment before proceeding. Blah blah blah.

Anyway, as I said, chances are even that this turns out to be absolutely nothing. My rational mind has held on to that for dear life over the past three weeks. My irrational, oh-my-god-who-is-going-to-take-care-of-my-family-while-I-am-puking-my-guts-out-from-the-chemo mind already has a Lady Steele In Waiting for MrG and a new Work Posse member all lined up.

I will know more on Wednesday. Until then, I will breathe in and breathe out. You can feel free to join me if you'd like. There's really not a whole lot else we can do. Pray if you want. Light a candle. Hug a tree. Whisper a spell. Whatever floats your boat. I kind of feel like the universe is no doubt unfolding as it should and there's not much I can do about it, but if you find comfort in one thing or another, and you think it will help, please knock yourself out.

I'm sure you're saying to yourself right now, Lady Steele, you promised me humor. Nothing about this is funny thus far. And you're right, dear reader, so here we go.

I am going in for what's called a stereotactic biopsy. My mother the former RN would tell you it's really cool technology, and she would use a bunch of fancy words and the correct medical terminology to describe the affected body parts. I'm in sales, not medicine, dear friends, so let me dumb this down for you.

I will be crawling on a table in a few hours that has a big hole in the center of it. I will proceed to hang the offending body part down through the hole. The nice doctor will raise me up on the table, kind of a like a 1987 Ford Taurus at the Jiffy Lube, so she can get a good angle on the offending body part. She will then use a fancy mammogram machine to "locate the area of concern" which as far as I can tell involves two plexiglass plates smooshing me in my altogether into one nice flat plane, which is funny when you take my size into account, but more about that later. I really can't tell you any more about the process, because when the doctor was describing the procedure to me, I pretty much blanked out after the smooshing part. I'm sure there are needles involved and some type of tissue removal, but I can't say what at this point. I do know I don't get Valium, which makes me a bit grumpy.

Anyway, when we're done, they will lower me from the hydraulic lift, apply a "pressure bandage" to my "surgical site" and send me home. But wait! There's more.

As one final parting shot, the salt in my wound so to speak, the insult to my injury, my post-op instructions tell me that I am not to wear an underwire bra until my "surgical site" has healed.

Say what?

I'm a 41-year old, rubenesque kind of gal. I'm more in the "Needs Weight Watchers as a Lifestyle" category, rather than the "Quick, Get the Gastric Band Surgery" category. However, I do have, as they said back in the good old days, nice ample bosoms. And I am going to be required to flop out of the Womens Imaging Center, and through the next several days, WITHOUT. THE. BENEFIT. OF. UNDERWIRE.

I am not really a girly girl, but I do admit I lean towards pretty lingerie. My favorite bras are from Nordstrom, and I'm embarrassed to say that I spent more on my last bra than I did on my last tank of gas. They don't call me "Lady" Steele for nothing.

But I digress.

I'm being forced, by the threat of this smug bastard disease, to purchase a bra without underwire. And I will NOT for all the tea in China, spend good money on a garment I am going to wear a few times and then hate forever. My goal is to wear it only as long as I have to, then burn it in effigy on my back porch while I drink scotch and watch the grass grow. (And with that sentence, my dearly departed scotch-loving conservative father is officially rolling over in his grave).

Going braless is clearly NOT an option, at least when I'm alone or with other people. I have to have a plain old vanilla bra, so I treated myself this weekend to a nice standard non-underwire support undergarment. Yep, bought it at the Walmart. For $4.00. Because I'm a Lady, and I'm worth it.

And there we have it. The threat of maybe having cancer is terrifying to me. The thought of Jiffy-Lube-Mechanic-Does-Biopsy is a little funny, if you scrunch your face up and forget the part about the needle. But the vision I have in my head of me, in all my $4 underwireless bra glory, jiggling and wiggling all over the office for the few days is downright, knee-slapping, guffaw-inducing funny as hell.

Don't be afraid for me. Instead, think of me and giggle inside as I slide off the Jiffy Lube rack and work those babies into a $4 bra.

Ever forward, friends. You'll hear from me when I know more on Wednesday. Or sooner if I put someone's eyes out with one of these things. Cheers.

Humor is just another defense against the universe. ~ Mel Brooks


Anonymous said...
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Big Al said...

Buy a sports bra. they are comfortable, and cheap. Soma also has some bras with no underwire that are quite comfortable.

As for the Nordstrom Bra....many women don't realize how much a good bra can do for you. It's a good wouldn't want to build a house without a good foundation. So, pffft to all those that snear at your Nordstrom bra.