A warning: This is not for the squeamish.
But then, that’s true of many things. Heck, it’s true of life. That, as we’ve seen now more than ever, is not for the faint of heart.
So, are you ready for some TMI? Which is not at all the same as being ready for some football. In fact, it may well be the exact opposite. Unless, of course, you’re referring to that eventful Super Bowl halftime show with Janet Jackson in which case my story has a lot in common with that event. OK, maybe just two things in particular.
I have – and some women will be able to relate – what medical professionals call “dense breast tissue.” This means it’s hard to get good results from a regular mammogram and so when a follow-up MRI revealed spots that required more in-depth investigation requiring a double biopsy, I did what I had to do — which was have needles jabbed into my chi chis.
I went, after I exercised, all sweaty and gross because A) who cares since no one would ever recognize me because of the mask and B) the medical peeps are so swaddled in PPE that they wouldn’t be able to smell me and C) I was instructed to wear a tight-fitting bra and I had already gone through the trouble of wrestling on a sports bra and I’m all about being expedient.
As I sprawled on the table, one arm raised up over my head, I felt a little bit bad. Maybe I should have showered.*
Everyone — from the check-in lady to the nurse to the doctor — was very concerned about whether or not I’d watched the informational video about the procedure. Uh, I read the materials, that’s good enough. I don’t need to actually see what’s going to happen. In fact, I told them, I’d prefer not to.
“Do you have any questions?” the doctor asked.
“Yes, why isn’t there an open bar?”
As I had been warned, the shot of numbing medication did indeed sting like a bee. Was that what it felt like to fight Muhammad Ali? Is that too old to be a good sports reference? I did sneak a quick peek, and it made me dizzy to see the needle plunge in a little and then sink deeper and disappear. I decided to gaze up at the lighted aquarium scene someone had thoughtfully decided to incorporate into the ceiling tiles to create a lame but welcome diversion.
The gizmo used to mine for tissue samples looked harmless enough — kind of a mix between a big pen and a caulking gun — but sounded like a hole punch that never quite makes it through all the paper. It was a disconcerting sound, but the doctor assured me this was the best device.
I did more deep Lamaze breathing than at all the three childbirths I’ve been a part of, combined.
An hour later, I had ice packed into my bra and strips of tape crisscrossing my chest. Lefty, which had two mystery spots needing tissue samples, bore the worst of it and was wicked sore. It felt like it had indeed gone a few rounds with a prizefighter, mano a mammary. The bruising was really something. Let me just say, I was happy I’d thought ahead and had someone else cover my daytime shift at the strip club**.
I asked if I could actually see the tissue samples, the little bits of me that were heading off to the lab. There were so many. I felt oddly maternal. “Bye, little guys,” I said in my head. “Don’t be full of cancer.”
Ultimately, it was an agonizing three days before getting the results. I finally felt like I could breathe again when the friendly voice on the other end of the call said, “Benign.”
After that good news, now I feel like I have to walk back some of my smack-talking about 2020 after all.
Actually, naaaaaaah, it’s still a pretty garbage year.
And now, a PSA: Don’t put anything off, whether it’s scheduling a needed medical procedure or pulling the trigger on that pair of shoes that’s on sale FOR 36 HOURS ONLY. Don’t think, ‘Oh, I’ll do it later.’ Do it now. You only live once. Take care of business. Your health is so important (as is your footwear, that goes without saying). You are so important.
*Lest you think I’m completely gross, I did swab my pits in the car with a body wipe that guaranteed shower-grade freshness without the hassle of actually stripping down and showering.
**So, I spent a fair amount of time dreaming up strip club names, but ultimately, they were solidly subpar. Still, if you’re interested: Chest-fil-A, Red Boobster, Dave & Boobster, Dairy Queen, House of Brews and Boobs.