Tag Archives: #MyLeftBoob

It’s All About the Boob and Being a Boob – Part II

Yesterday I told you about my new friend, Wendy and her cancer diagnosis. Today, I am going to talk about how we react to bad news.

While at work last week, I received a Facebook private message from Wendy. “Bad news…I have breast cancer…”

After I let the message sit there for a couple of minutes, gathering my wits about me, I replied with this: “I’m so sorry” and “you will be okay” and “let me know if there is anything I can do.” Not very original and kinda stupid. Probably not the best words to say to someone who is suffering a traumatic event. And that was AFTER I gathered my wits.

Then a couple of days later she PM’ed me with this, among other things, “…take samples from my lymph nodes to make sure it has not spread…”

“I’ll keep you in my prayers, hoping it didn’t spread,” was my response. Really? How stupid. Keeping someone in their prayers is totally acceptable and comforting. But hoping it didn’t spread? That goes without saying. It just wasn’t necessary.

Whatever. I’m awkward in these kinds of situations. Some people have the gift. I do not. When God was handing out Common Sense, I thought he said “Be All Dense,” and I didn’t get in line.

But, I have to ask. Is there really a “right” thing to say? I think we are so concerned about what to say, how to react, that we wind up saying the wrong thing anyway. Basically, you can’t win.

A long time ago, a friend of a family member had a miscarriage. She was very far along in her pregnancy. When I heard the news, my heart broke for her. I was already a mother at the time and I couldn’t even begin to fathom it. But I knew when I saw her, I would be awkward. And I was.

“Oooh yeah, umm, sorry about the baby.” Followed by a literal cringe on my face. A cringe, as if I was trying to hold in a fart. I walked away feeling like the biggest asshole. I froze. I didn’t know how to react. I didn’t want to NOT acknowledge it. I was afraid she would think I was cold.

Instead, I made myself look more like an ice princess, like I didn’t care, when in actuality I did. Very much so. Although it has been many years, I feel like every time I see this woman, that is what she remembers.

And when I go to a wake? Fuhgettaboutit. I’m a bumbling idiot. I’ve decided to just say the generic speech that goes like this, “I’m sorry for your loss.” Done. Over. No room for error. Then go sit in a chair at the back of the room and be there. Because that’s really all anyone ever wants. For you to just be there.

When The Kid was hit by a car, there were many people who expressed their concern. They were all wonderful, with a little awkwardness thrown in here and there, but I knew they meant well.

One woman actually said something like this, “geez, that would have been awful if she died because you don’t have any other children.” This is not verbatim, but close.

That one made me laugh out loud in disbelief. Then I remembered that people are just weird and awkward in these situations. I can’t even blame her. I’m sure, like the fart-face I made at the lady who lost her baby, she didn’t mean for it to sound so callous. I’m sure she was coming from a good place. Besides, if I really judged her, it would be like me living in a glass house and throwing stones. Or being a pot and calling a kettle black. Get it? I don’t have the right.

So, what have I decided to do in these situations? Pray to the good Lord above that I don’t throw up crap. That’s all I can do. And if I do sound like a bumbling asshole? I apology in advance for what my mouth does. I swear I have no control. My heart and tongue just aren’t always on the same page.

In the meantime, my friend Wendy is going to get this big, ugly mo-fo of a “C” word out of her and she’s going to fight it. How do I know? Because although I’ve not known her for a long time, I get that she is tough as nails. She can hold her own. If I was walking in a dark alley with her and we were mugged, I get the feeling she’d kick some serious ass and save the day while I lay in a puddle, shriveling up and pooping myself. Yeah. I would definitely poop myself.

So, to continue the theme from yesterday…here is my #MyLeftBoob pic for @WendiPopRock. Let’s get it trending for her y’all.

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And next time you say something stupid when someone gives you bad news, brush it off and go buy a card. Because card companies actually PAY people to be appropriate and smart. Then go sit by your friend’s side. She will appreciate it.

 

It’s All About the Boob and Being a Boob – Part I

I met Wendy @WendiPopRock a few months ago who interviewed me for a local on-line newspaper. Actually, I hadn’t met her in person. We “talked” over Facebook and private messaged each other a million times and we became friends. Friendship courtesy of the Interwebs. Not really an uncommon occurrence these days.

It turns out we have a few things in common: we are both irish, our daughters happen to dance for the same Irish dance school, we love to write and we love wine. I have since met her for real. Once.  But that doesn’t matter because I feel like I’ve known her for forever.

Wendy hadn’t been feeling well for a few weeks. She talked about how she just wasn’t herself. She even cancelled out on a wine get together I had. I knew she must not have been feeling well if she cancelled out. You just don’t cancel a date with wine if you don’t have to. Well, I don’t. And even though Wendy is a new friend, I get the feeling she doesn’t either.

She mentioned that she was going to go get some testing done. My wine get together was on a Friday night. On Monday she went on her appointment. Wednesday morning I received a Facebook private message from her. “Bad news…I have breast cancer…”

My heart sank. I gasped. My boss-friend asked me what was wrong. “My friend Wendy has breast cancer,” I heard myself say. Good Lord.

Guess how she found out? She was dying her hair and dropped a blob of dye on her left boob. When she was wiping it up, there it was. The lump.

20 years ago, someone I worked with had a boyfriend who had accidentally elbowed her in the breast. It hurt and when she rubbed the area, there was a lump.

Another friend of mine was having a routine mammogram a few years ago. The test results showed she had breast cancer. She was lucky. They caught it in the very early stages. Her lumps were too small to even detect with just an exam.

See where am I going with this? These three ladies were lucky. Either something happened to make them see a doctor or they had their routine mammogram.

They talk about early detection by giving yourself a self-examination. It doesn’t take long. Do it in the shower, in bed, while making dinner. I don’t like doing it. I have extremely cystic breasts and the feel of all that lumpy tissue under my fingers really gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Last year as I was lying in bed, I happened to feel my boob. I felt a fairly large lump. I kept saying to myself, “oh, it’s probably nothing. I’m PMS’ing so my ducts are swollen. It’ll go away.” After a month, it didn’t go away. So, I made an appointment with my gyno.

He did an exam and agreed that I had a lump. He said it was probably just a cyst, so he attempted to aspirate it. But he couldn’t get any fluid. After some nervous waiting, a mammo and an ultrasound, I was cleared. Luckily. But waiting a month isn’t smart. I should have gone immediately. Even though this story had a happy ending, the next time may not be so happy.

I’m still not good with the self-exams, but I will do them on occasion, which I am fully aware is not enough. I have my annual mammogram and because of my cystic condition, it is always followed up with a thorough ultrasound.

But if Wendy had waited for her annual mammogram, it may have been too late. If she didn’t drop that God sent glob of hair dye on that exact spot, who knows.

If my friend Pat’s boyfriend from 20 years earlier didn’t elbow her, the outcome may have been completely different.

If my other friend Tee didn’t go for her annual mammo, I shudder to think of the outcome.

I know I’m either too late or too early, depending on how you look at it, for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but I’m here to say, feel yourself up, ladies. Just do it. It’s important. It will save your life.

There is another way we can bring awareness to breast cancer. Go on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or all three and post a pic of you and your left breast (fully clothed please) and let’s see if we can get it trending.

Type in #MyLeftBoob. I’m doing it. Won’t you? For my friend Wendy. And all the other breast cancer victims, past and present.

Now reacting to the news of Wendy’s cancer? You’ll have to wait until tomorrow. Yes, it includes Jack and Ass.

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It’s there, my left boob. Just hanging out under my PJs. #MyLeftBoob