I have always hated saying the word tits. I love it when other women say it. It’s funny when they grab ’em and say “my tits hurt” when they’re PMSing or “damn these tits” when trying to smash them into a tight dress or the real bold, ballsy broads that say “they’re tits, not toys” to mis-guided lovers. I’ve never been one to say the word though.
I have always thought of mine as boobs. Somewhere between blob and oooooh. We’ve had a love/hate relationship from the start. I got them early and hated that. I had to get a training bra when I was in elementary school (4th or 5th grade). I remember feeling a sense of panic when I thought a male teacher was approaching with an outstretched arm, terrified that they would feel my bra strap if they pat my shoulder. I was a ballerina and had to wear skin tight leotards that showed off the new bumps during the height of my “awkward years.” They were occasionally grabbed by an errant (albeit blessedly gay) hand when a lift went bad. However, when they were a perky C-cup during my freshman and sophomore year of high school, I was pretty stoked and realized I could get on board with these things after all. Then came my summer studying in France. Croissants, Crepes, and a scandalous affair with Cheese…thanks to those C’s, mine became DD’s. My cheerleading uniform got a little tighter, but my future husband seemed to like that. Still does. My roommates in college said they knew that their boobs were big when they could put a pencil under them without that pencil falling to the ground. Hot. I upped the ante and did the same, but with my laptop. Not hot. But the finest moment for me and my boobs: breastfeeding my two baby girls. The thought, pre-delivery, had skeeved me and post-delivery, was painful at times; now it’s a thing of pride. I was able to provide nourishment to my little loves and establish a bond and closeness that only that physical connection can do, so immediately. If I’m lucky enough to have a third child, s/he will be bonded to me in other ways, because I won’t be able to breastfeed him/her.
Later this year, at the age of 30, I will have a double mastectomy. In November, my father found out that he is positive for the breast cancer genetic mutation, BRCA1. I found out I was positive in December. My sister found out she was positive in January. After much research, many doctors appointments, and absolutely NO second thoughts, I decided to have a double mastectomy. My sister made the same choice after also finding out she already had a stage 0 cancer in one breast. Yesterday she had her surgery and, thank God, there was no other carcinoma to be found. Did I say “Thank God”? I meant it!! Praise Jesus, Hallelujah, Amen! She is a strong woman of faith with not a hint of malice in her, thank God she is ok. Oh and now she’s got a great new rack.
I can’t speak for her as to what her thought process was, but for me, it was a no brainer. I have an awesome family, amazing husband and two adorable little girls; I want to be around to participate in their lives as long as I possibly can. I want to rejoice in all their joys and achievements. I want to be the shoulder they lean on in all their sorrows and disappointments. I want to lead by example. I want them to know that they are in control of their lives and that when faced with an obstacle, they have the freedom to make decisions and to take action to get what they want, too. I hope that I will show them that I am lucky to have found out the risks associated with this news and that by being brave and smart, I’ve mitigated them as best I can. We all have choices to make in this life. By being informed, we have the luxury to do something and not sit around and let something happen to us.
This is why I’m blogging this journey. One part catharsis, one part public service announcement with a sense of humor. I aim to let people know that anyone can get tested for the BRCA mutations and if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, you don’t have to be afraid to get tested. I hope that I can impart knowledge to whoever reads this. I truly believe, in all aspects of life, knowledge is power. In this instance, we have the power to take our health in our own hands. This opportunity isn’t always available for such a monumental health risk. I am lucky that I can do something about it. This is my titillating tale.