Warning if you are male, scroll up to the top and hit the X. Get out while you can. This blog contains extreme female-oriented subjects that will be more than you ever cared to know.)
When I sat down to decide what I wanted to blog about, the first thing that came into my mind was that I should tell you that I got my stitches out. (Talk about embarrassing. The last thing you want to hear when a doctor is trying to take stitches out of your boob is, “Can you hold that thing to one side so I cut the stitches out?”) Then I realized that if I tell you about getting the stitches out, I’d have to explain how I got the stitches in. And as they say in the south, it ain’t purty. But I've warned you in my earlier blogs, I seldom spare you the details. Oh, no, the gory truth is always much more interesting and generally funnier than hell.
It all started when I went in for my annual mammogram a few weeks ago. You know, go in, have a stranger tape some BBs on your nipples and allow a said stranger to smash your boobs between two clear pieces of plastic. Well, that’s how this all started.
I’m there, naked from the waist up, the technician has just taped on my BBs. (These are to mark where everything ends on the x-ray.) I look down and see that the tape now comes in a pink flowery pattern. I start to ask if I can have a pair to take home to model for my husband, but the woman doesn’t seem the type to take a joke.
Of course, that has never stopped me before, and it didn’t then either. (By the way, she was very sorry, but they won’t let you take home an extra pair, but if you want, you can keep the pair that they have just placed on your nipples. She actually thought I was serious. Scary, huh?)
Anyway, said stranger starts arranging my boobs, one at a time, on a machine. I haven’t been felt up that thoroughly since…well since the elephant at the zoo. Anyway, she lowers the top piece of plastic and sandwiches my boob. (Have you ever looked down at your boob during a mammogram? If not, take my advice, don’t!) As she walks away to turn on the x-ray machine, my brain starts playing the “what if” game. What if the power goes off? Would I be stuck here in the dark? Brings a whole new meaning to booby-trap, doesn’t it?
Anyway, she takes the pictures and goes to check and see if they are clear. You wait, BBs still on--remember they’re not going to give you another pair--to see if they need to re-smoosh and re-shoot you. You stand there, pace, and pray, that when she comes back in the room that she doesn’t have a horrified look on her face that tells you that your world is about to be shaken.
Well . . . my world was shaken.
I’ve seen too many of my friends go though breast cancer, and thank God I haven’t lost one friend, so at that moment I don’t imagine myself dying. It’s the whole being bald thing, and not feeling good enough to write, and missing deadlines that shakes my world.
Of course, I start making lemonade out of lemons, aka, trying to look on the bright side of what was surely one of the darkest moments of my life. I tell myself that if it’s cancer, I can write an article about my writing humorous books, Laughing My Way through Cancer, and publish it at a lot of magazines. Oh, and if I am bald during my autographing, think how many sympathy buys I’ll get. And since I already wear hats, I won’t have to run out and get any.
Three days later, still working on that lemonade, I find myself, flat on my back, naked from the waist up in a surgeon’s office, and someone else is once again feeling me up. The doctor looks down at me and says, “What have eaten today?”
Now, let me tell you, there’s a lot of things you expect a man to say when he has his hand on your boob, but that’s not one of them. To make a long story short, instead of going home, I went straight to the hospital.
I’m not going to tell you that I wasn’t scared waiting in the pre-surgery room. I was scared shitless. But I was so thrilled to get it over with, to get the answer…cancer or not cancer, going bald or not going bald, that I felt this strange kind of calm.
Then this nurse comes in and hands me a pen. “Which boob?” she asked.
I tell her and she says I need to put a big X on it and then sign it. Now let me tell you, I’ve been practicing my autograph for book signings, but this took the cake.
When they wheeled me into the operating room, it hit me that I’d had several other operations, but I’d never actually remembered being in an operating room. Hey, it’s scary in there. Sort of like a movie about being adducted by aliens. Big lights overhead. Scary looking instruments set out beside you. And then people, all wearing masks, start connecting all these things to your body—on your legs, your finger, on your chest.
I looked up at the nurse and asked, “Will I remember this?” And yeah, even a little scared, I’m thinking “wow,” I can use this in a book some day.
She looked at me and said, “You do seem awfully alert.”
Right then my anesthesiologist leans over and says, “I didn’t give you any thing to relax.”
“Why not?” I ask.
He shrugged. “You seemed so calm.”
“Oh, that’s because they had me gagged and in that tight white jacket,” I tell him.
Unlike the X-ray tech, who didn’t like my BB joke, this guy laughed. And hey, anytime I meet anyone whom I think likes humor, I ask the all-important question. “Do you read? You know, I have a funny book coming out on November 27th.”
Then he tells me that he’s putting something into my IV to put me to sleep. I feel it go in my wrist, a little sting and a lot cold, it runs up my arm, and I swear I feel it enter my brain and spider into every blood vessel. It got almost to my forehead and I’m thinking I might see God, and he’ll give me some bit of wisdom, on losing weight in ten days, or maybe just my next plot for my new book. But nope, the lights go out and that’s all I remember.
When I woke up in recovery, I did what I think all women do after going through this surgery. I felt to see if I still had my boob. It was there, autographed and everything, hurt like someone had stabbed it with a knife—probably because someone had.
A few minutes later, I was told my results. I’m not going to go bald. The mass in my left breast was benign. Thank God.
But did you know that October is Breasts Cancer Awareness month? My mother had breast cancer, early detection saved her life. My two friends whom have dealt with breasts cancer, were also saved as a result of early detection.
Having a mammogram ain’t purty, neither is having surgery, or losing your hair. But it beats the hell out of dying. If you are 35 or older, and maybe younger if Breast Cancer runs in your family, do yourself, and your family, a favor--go in and get your own set of BBs
Crime Scene Christie
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Posted by Christie Craig at 7:27 AM