Breast Cancer Awareness

by kpmautner

Consider this a public service message for anyone with breasts:

If you haven’t developed a self-examination routine already, do so NOW. Once a month, every month. If you don’t know how, ask a nurse or a doctor. But do so NOW!!!! And mammograms every year for those of us of a certain age.

This is a cake I made for a breast-cancer awareness fund-raiser!

breast cancer awareness cake

I have lost friends to breast cancer. I have several friends who have blessedly survived breast cancer. It’s not fun, and the treatment is long, painful and expensive. Self-examination and regular mammography can catch this killer before it takes hold. Mammograms are not fun either (feels a little like lying in the driveway and letting someone run over my boobs with a pick-up truck) but early detection can save your life.

I got lucky. About 15 years ago, I woke up one morning with a golf-ball sized lump on my breast. It was painful to the point that a tee-shirt was almost too much. So I trotted off to the doctor, who promptly sent me to the Indiana University Medical School. (It wasn’t one of those “you ought to get that looked at sooner or later” – it was “just a second, I’ll make the appointment and I’ll have someone drive you there NOW”) So there I am, lying on the gurney and the doctor comes to take a look. He says, “Hmmmmmm. Let’s do a mammogram”. At this point, I’m in enough pain to tell him that if he so much as touches me with the mammogram tools, I’ll put his nuts in a garlic press. He backs off (thank you Goucher for teaching me to stand up for my rights!)

So he switches to an ultrasound, which still hurts like all get-out. They decide to do a biopsy. So far so good. In trots the doctor with a collection of 3 med students. He asks if I mind if they watch. I agree to watch, yes; touch, forget it. The doctor shoots me up with lots of painkillers (yeah baby!) and uses a needle a veterinarian would recognize. They drain what seemed like quarts of really nasty-looking gunk, the cyst collapses and there is no more pain. Just a bandaid.

As I said, I got lucky. It was just a cyst, a collection of disgusting fluid. I have friends who were not so lucky. Don’t join that number. Self-examination and regular check-ups can and do save lives.