-Ode to the Boob, from my parents group newsletter, October 2007:
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. In honor of that this article is one to hide from the dads, if they read the newsletter, for this is an -ode to boobs. That's not an editorial error, it's -ode. Ode with out the hyphen is: lyric poem usually marked by exaltation of feeling and style, varying length of line, and complexity of stanza forms. Where as -ode means way or path. Since I am not a writer, this is not lyrical, it may rhythm in places, but there is no complexity of stanza forms. It is more a path, a journey then a poem.
When I was a youngin I wanted nothing more then to be able to stuff my bra with more then items from my sock drawer. My friends were all blessed with ample breast and me, well I was a little cherry at best. While on the gymnastics team everyone said, “oh your so lucky! The bar, beats my breast, oh how nice it is for you to not have this mess!”
Oh how I just wished and wished that I too would soon be blessed with bigger breasts.
Just wait until you have kids my mom said, then you will have breasts.
Yes! they will come, I just have to wait. In the mean time my sisters breasts got big, my friends breasts got big and mine, they preferred not to be seen.
Lucky me! I meant a man who preferred a derrière, the proverbial A to my lacking T. Oh lucky me! We got married and everything was as it should be.
Then one morning in the shower, oh me oh my, what can that be? Is that a lump no bigger then a pea? How can that be? I am young, I a newlywed this is not how my life was supposed to be! So I headed straight for my OB.
How could this happen, how could this be? How could my tiny breasts betray me? Still so small, they had a whole lot more to give, they had a lot more to grow (at least I had been told)!
They were not big enough to get smooshed and squashed in a mammogram, so they got prodded, poked, jabbed and smooshed with an ultra sound. I sat on the edge of the table waiting the results. Minutes seemed like an eternity as I looked at my small boobs and thought why did I hate thee?
The answer...benign! I sobbed, why are you crying my OB declared? Because my boobs are fine!
I no longer envied or wished for bigger breasts. I was happy to have healthy boobs and that was all that mattered. See my grandma died from breast cancer, my mother in law survived breast cancer, I knew what could have been.
Then I got pregnant. They were right! I got boobs! So much so that my people, whispered about the possibility of a boob job! Oh yes! I finally have a chest! No more sessions on the butterfly reciting I must, I must, I must improve my bust! My bust had improved all on its own!
One year and 10 months of nursing later, what's this...why none of my bra's fit! No one mentioned this! No one told me that like Cinderella and her ball gown my beautiful new boobs would shrivel and fade!
There was no mourning, no wishing they were still here. Since that fateful day when I had my ultrasound, a friends mother has battled breast cancer and a dear friend, age 29 was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Twenty-Nine, 29! I was the same age when she was diagnosed. The fear and the worry of that day when I found my lump came back to me, that could have been me. I was just so happy to have healthy breasts, who cared if the were shriveled and sagging.
Now I have turned 30, and have had another baby who is still nursing and let's just say, these boobs need help staying where they belong. Apparently they think these boobs were made for dragging and they are working there way down as low as they can go. Unfortunately they still have no volume, but not unfortunate for why you think. Unfortunate because it will make my mammogram harder to read and more painful for me. I will be having my first one sometime next year when my daughter is done nursing (as long as I am not pregnant). Early intervention due to my family history.
In all seriousness, In the United States, breast cancer is the most common non-skin cancer and the second leading cause of cancer related death in women. The National Institute of Health estimates that in 2007, 178,480 women will be newly diagnosed with breast cancer, 40,460 of them will die. Breast cancers stills baffles scientists. The believe that is caused by a combination of both known and unknown factors including genetics (such as family history of breast cancer), lifestyle choices (such as health diet and alcohol use) and reproductive factors (such as age of menarche and menopause). Even with all that knowledge most women who get breast cancer have no known risks factor except being a women and getting older. Hardly any women can say breast cancer hasn't touched them, They've had a scare, they've had a friend or a relative diagnosed, or they themselves have been diagnosed. Breast cancer is one of the most significant health threats to women and there is no known cause, cure or vaccine.
Although the breast cancer diagnosis rate has increased, the overall breast cancer death rate has been steadily dropping since the early 1990's. the 5-year survival rate for all women diagnosed with breast cancer is 90 percent. Chances of survival are even better is diagnosed early. When breast cancer is confined to the breast, the 5 year survival rate is 98 percent!
So this October as you look at your own boobs don't think what they could (or couldn't be) and be grateful that you have them at all, because many women do not. Let my story and those of countless other women inspire you to take care of your boobs by taking care of yourself. As moms our needs sometimes fall to the bottom of the to do list. Celebrate October not with tricks or treats but with self exams, mammograms (if over 40), and support for groups like the American Cancer Society and the Susan G Komen Foundation.
We can help find a cure so our daughters can have healthy boobs, no matter the size.
For more information on breast cancer, breast cancer prevention of breast self exams please visit the following sites: