Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My Breasts

In the dressing room of the breast imaging center today, I looked carefully at what had become of my once legendary breasts. Back when they were young, when they were mere blooms of there current saggy status, they brought me more attention than any other girl at Charles Wright Academy. It was there, that they made their debut on the first day of seventh grade. I wore a navy blue tank top, no idea yet what a bra was, and a pair of jeans I had probably outgrown in fourth grade. I wasn’t known for my style, but from that day forward I was known for ‘my girls’. The boys of CWA kept me abreast of their ever changing size, shape and propensity to perkiness. Periodically they would post growth reports on random blackboards, lockers or bathroom mirrors.

Jane's tatas are bigger than watermelons

Janey Parton = Poster butt and melon boobs

The locker for Jane’s Boobies

The boys liked to rub their hand down my back to verify that I wasn't wearing a bra and then cheer to one another in victory at their discovery. But I had no idea about bras. I only began to wear one because Kyra Mahoney did, and she was the most popular girl in school

Bertha and Louise were so cute back then. They were my little pointy oilwells. When I finally began to wear a bra, it really wasn’t necessary. But it was probably good training for the upcoming lifetime of breast restraint.

Throughout high school, the little volcanoes erupted into majestic mountains the like of Kilamanjaro. By Senior year, the talk on campus was that I had gone somewhere to get them done. Unable to keep up with the growth, my breasts quadrupled over bras that didn't fit, and squeezed under sweaters no longer meant for certain shaped women. Whenever I tried to wear what was fashionable, it just ended up making me look like a straight up slut. V-neck Lacoste sweaters never looked so dirty.

Yes, the awkward years were confusing. Why so many boys eyes widened with delight while staring below my line of vision was as confusing as why so many men suddenly seemed interested in taking me out on Friday night.

"Once you let a boy touch them, they will be coming for miles around." I still recall my father telling my sister Kirsten in the car one day while we waited for mother to emerge from Safeway.

And he was right.

By the time I was twenty, I had learned the power of The Breast and was well on my way to using it to my advantage. They were mightier than your average chest. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bounce. Capable of reducing men to boys with a few twists of the hip. Once there power was mastered they were wicked weapons. Yes, the girls served me well in my twenties. They brought me through five years as a Budweiser girl and made a decade of cocktail waitressing tremendously lucrative.

But then, something happened. Staring at them today in the mirror, it is clear they have seen their glory days. Nipples decidedly larger than in their youth, girth gone like the air slowly draining from a balloon, and length. Well, should breasts really ever be discussed by their length?

I still recall mom showing Kay the pencil test in the bedroom mirror one night. "Cosmo says, stick a pencil under your breast and if in one hop it doesn't fall..." Well back then you didn't want it to fall. Now six hops and I'm wondering if I'm going to need see a doctor to go in and extricate the pencil from the cavernous underside of my magnanimous mammary glands.

They seem to have the sag. I'm not quite sure when it happened. But they no longer stick up under my chin like the old days. Yes, they fall against my skin and into my armpits when I lie on my back.

When they call my name in the lobby, I decide it's time to stop analyzing the sag and get ready to say goodbye to all the adventures they have afforded me. I look one last time and decide that if they discover something wrong with my tests today - it will be a brilliant excuse to get a lift.

As I pass through the lobby in my wrap gown, I think about how cute they will look when I have them reconstructed into cute little ski jump B's with dime size nipples.

Inside the pink room with the vanilla scented air spray, I let the nice woman with the ice cold fingers put stickers with metal pin tips over my nipples and over the lump. I stand up and raise my right hand in the air while she adjusts a glass shelve so that my right breast comes to rest on it. She brings another glass plate down on top that flatten me out like a pancake. Once she has me situated, she steps behind a wall and takes a picture. Thanks to advancements in digital technology, I can see the inside of my right breast immediately. It looks like little round air pockets.

She does the other breast and then she goes in for the lump. We do a few special angles of the lump area. I have to hold my arms over my head and this time she spreads me out over the glass with a smaller piece of top glass. We look at the picture together and she points to something totally undistinguishable to the untrained eye.

"Right there. I can see something."

I breathe in and hold it.

"Probably just dense tissue. But that must be your lump. Let's see what the doctor says."

I try to breathe out. I sit in the waiting room and wait for the lady who does the ultrasound.

She calls my name, and before I can take another breath, they have me lying on my side with my arm up over my head, cold jelly smeared across my breast and a roller going over my skin in small movements.

"Just a second." The technician says. And she leaves me there in the dark and cold room. I sit in silence. A silent gap that widens with every minute it takes her to return.

But she doesn’t. Instead, another woman has entered and taken her place at the machine. I can see she is a doctor by her white lab coat, but I can tell by her confident bedside manner.

"I'm Dr. Chow, I'm going to just do a few more swipes here. Yes. Just as I thought."

And I swallow hard, suddenly deciding that breast cancer is not worth the reconstructive surgery. A montage of precious moments provided by my breasts passes through my revelry like love story snippets woven together in a movie.

First bra, first boy, first tight sweater- First suck, first nibble, first turtleneck- First boyfriend, first silhouette, first balcony bra, first strapless gown - First time I saw a photo of my shape, first weight loss when everything but their size shrunk, first bikini, first tank top, first-and-last halfsie top.

First sag, first push-up bra, first realization that no matter the outfit I wore I could never really hide them - First wish they were smaller, first Wacoal old lady bra, first time I wore a one piece with support to the beach - First time I looked in the mirror and wanted them to look different - First consideration of a reduction.

All these moments blended together over the murmur of the machine and the pause in Dr. Chow’s sentence.

"Yes, I want you to see this. Can you turn? You see this?" And she points at a mound of light yellow flesh on the screen.

"This is just dense breast tissue. It's nothing. Nothing to worry about now. Studies show that breast cancer risk is higher in women with dense breast tissue. But for today, you are fine."

'Nothing?" I say, leaping up from the table. I feel a little giddy and a little light.


"That's great.'

“Well of course, you want to keep on top of these things, you will want to come in every year and make it a routine. Likely, yada yada. Yada yada yada, yada. Yada. Appointment. Yada, yada. Front desk. Yada yada. Next time."

But I can't hear her anymore. I'm too busy tightly hugging my beautiful, wonderful, delightful breasts. Like old friends, they may have lost the charms of their newness, but they bring the comfort of an old pair of worn in jeans, softened from several cycles in the dryer. They are my cultured and experienced breasts and I'm just so pleased that for now, we have a lifetime left together.

My breasts and I dress quickly, in case the Doctor changes her mind and calls me back into the room with the discovery of something new. We stand 'em up tall and sashay together out into the lobby. I’m careful to avoid the glances of all the women in the waiting room. Those women and their breasts still don’t know how much more time they will have together and I don’t want to interrupt the possibility of their last words.

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posted by Pop Culture Casualty @ 2/28/2007 02:15:00 AM |


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