Well hell, it’s Friday and that means one thing (okay it means lots of things but today, only one) – it’s Boobday!
Boobs have been on my mind a lot lately.
We have a new joke in my family. I’m the youngest woman in the family, but I have the saggiest boobs.
Huh? How did that happen?
Sooooo, when I went to spend a week with my mom who was having surgery, it wasn’t because she was sick or hurt. (Thank gawd.) But she did have a double mastectomy with reconstruction.
This was just seven months after my aunt (her baby sister) had a double mastectomy with reconstruction following a breast cancer diagnosis and six months after my great-aunt (my mother’s aunt – and grandmother’s sister) was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy (but no reconstruction).
Basically, I’m the only woman left in my family with two natural boobs.
And the reality is that fact might change.
My family – from my great-great-grandmother and her sisters all the way down to my aunt – have been plagued with cancer diagnoses. The women in my family usually get ovarian, uteran, and/or breast cancer. You know, the girl cancers (yes, men can get breast cancer, too).
Now, it’s not always those cancers. My grandmother ultimately died of stage four cancer that spread to her lungs, brain, and breasts, but the doctors said it began in her lungs. My grandfather died of pancreatic cancer. Other family members had breast and ovarian cancer and managed to survive before dying of other things.
But cancer is a definite thing in my family.
The conversation about genetic testing began back in 2015 when I switched to a new gynecologist. As I recounted my medical history for him, he asked if anyone had gone through the genetic testing available for breast and ovarian cancers – BRCA 1 or BRCA 2. Nope, we hadn’t. Hadn’t really thought about it, actually. Cancer is just a thing. We hate it but we accept it as a potential reality.
His recommendation was for my mother to get the test done. If she was negative, I didn’t need the test. If she was positive, I should consider it – and insurance might pay for it. Once we had results, then I could decide “what to do” about it.
We never got that far before my aunt was diagnosed – right as John Brownstone’s sister was entering the final stages of her own battle with cancer. This prompted my mother to get the testing sooner than expected. She was negative on BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 but positive on another section of the test with a high chance of an eventual breast cancer diagnosis.
Her own doctor, who’s mother and wife have both had breast cancer, recommended surgery. I recommended surgery. My aunt recommended surgery. My mom didn’t really hesitate.
There’s no way to guarantee we’ll never get cancer, but damn, why shouldn’t we do what we can to help prevent it, right?
So here we are. I’m the last woman standing with her “natural” boobs. And my turn for genetic testing could come in the next few months.
Boobs are kind of all I think about right now.
What will the test say?
Will I follow in the my aunt and mother’s footsteps?
How will my sexuality change without what John Brownstone calls the “direct line to my clit?”
Am I losing sleep over it? Not at all. Am I obsessed with my boobs or stressed out? Not yet. This is all still hypothetical. It isn’t real. At least not yet.
But it doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about my boobs…a lot.