Clothes have been on my mind a lot lately. It may be because I have an daughter, who while only 18 months has become quiet opinionated on what she wears. It might be because I am, for the first time in 3 years, neither pregnant, nursing, or trying to be pregnant. Anyways, I have been on a quest to find 2 things: a pair of jeans that look good (no mom jeans!) and are under $100 and a comfortable well fitting bra. Guess which one is proving to be the most difficult?
I don't think any part of a women's body changes so much as her breasts. No matter how much your weight fluctuates many of us will see our boobs inflate and deflate like a balloons due to puberty, pregnancy, nursing or just weight gain and loss. My own breast growth has been a roller coaster ride, one that I recently relived when I cleaned out my bra drawer. My drawer was overflowing yet I had only 1, maybe 2 bras I would wear because none of them fit. I had everything from 34B through a 38C. Even worse, I was recently fitted by a bra lady and my true size is 38A! My boobs have gone from overflowing to barely there!
Wikipedia defines bra's as “an article of clothing that covers, supports, and elevates the breasts”. As I get older the elevate, and now enhance as well, if the most important! Who needs Dr. 90210 when you have Victoria! I spent an afternoon (surprisingly 38A is not a widely carried sized) in a Victoria's Secret dressing room and boy have bras improved. Biofit, water filled, seamless lift, there were so many to choose from! How far we have come since Mary Phelps Jacob patented the first bra in 1914.
So how'd I do? Well I must say the Victora's secret Biofit was recommended by a friend who is much more endowed then I am. Despite not coming in my exact size, it is one of the most comfortable bras I have had in a while. That's part of my point, it's been awhile since I spent an afternoon and some money on myself. On something that is supposed to be a foundation garment. Mom's are usually the foundation of the family yet taking time to nurture, grow, heck just maintain that foundation is usually scarce, particularly if you have young children. However if mom's don't take care of themselves and their foundation it can be detrimental to their health and ultimately their families.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. I am writing about boobs to remind you to take care of an look at yours. Breast cancer has affected my life started at a very young age. When I was 7 my paternal grandmother died of metastatic breast cancer. She had found a lump many years early and did nothing about it, she was too busy taking care of her husband and family (her and my families words, not mine). My husbands mother is a survivor, going on almost 15 years. A friend was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at age 29. She is a 3 year survivor and celebrated by walking in the breast cancer 3 day this past year. Those are just the stories of the people who are closest to me, I have more friends then I can count who have sister, mothers, aunt who have survived it or fought it. The National Cancer Institute estimates that approximately 2.4 million women with a history of breast cancer are alive today. With a number like that, I am sure you know one.
Here is another fact and the reason for writing this piece every October: 96% of women who find breast cancer early will be cancer free in 5 years. That's huge. We have the power in ourselves, literally in our hands, to change the number of lives that breast cancer steals. It's estimated that over 40,000 women will die this year (2008) from breast cancer and 182,460 women will develop it. To make it more relate able, 1 in 8 (12.6%) will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Look around your playgroup, your core group of friends, one of them, maybe you, could face this battle.
You have the power to he one of the 96% all you need to do is take time for you. Breast self exams are one of the most effective ways women can monitor their breast health and find early cancers. It only takes 5 minutes, once a month in the shower. We all get showers every now and then, and after you get the technique down you can probably do it in 3 minutes! I know it's hard, you don't know what your looking for, how will you know what is normal. I understand better then you would think. I suffer from fibrocystic breasts. That means my breast are naturally lumpy and bumpy. Shortly after getting married I was sure I had breast cancer, I found a lump, it happened to be in the same area that my OB/GYN spent a lot of time examining and harrumph-ing about (I since moved to a MD who was more verbal) at a recent visit. I thought for sure I was going to be diagnosed with cancer. I wasn't, I was diagnosed (after several more exams and an MRI) with fibrocystic breasts. I have since learned what is normal for me, and that is what's important. When you know what is normal you will more easily be able to find what is not normal.
Most importantly you need to have an OB/GYN that you can talk to, that you see regularly and who makes you breast health a priority. Until we can find a cure or better ways to prevent breast cancer we need to be diligent on finding it early. We need to remember by taking care of ourselves we are taking care of our family in the most important way, by insuring that we will be here, and be healthy for a long time.
Breast Cancer Facts and Figures 2007-2008, Published by The American Cancer Society