The Christmas holidays turned out to a bit of a nightmare for The Outmost’s Aoife Read, after the discovery of a lump on one of her beloved breasts.
I am a woman of ample bosom. As a child of nine I had the budding breasts of a 16 year-old in a stuffed Wonderbra, and now at 30, I have a set of wazzbags generally only found on the silicone saturated sets of larger budget American or Eastern European porn movies.
My boobs have been both friends and foes to me over the years. Weighing in at a whopping stone a piece, they have caused pretty bad back problems, but despite their weight, they do defy gravity slightly and for their size are rather perky. Their buoyancy and sheer mass have been the gateway to manys a steamy night and romantic entanglement, and they are currently an ongoing source of pleasure, entertainment, comfort, fascination and, (I suspect) obsession, for my current girlfriend.
Both the bane of my existence and a handy crutch to be used to use when trying to pull, my breasts have always been an intricate part of who I am. And, you learn things when you have a killer cleavage.
You learn that the people worth talking to and spending time on are not the people who talk to your tits rather than your face. You learn that lesbian women are bizarrely cheeky and over-familiar with big chested girls, grabbing and groping you under the premise of ‘we’re all girls here’. You learn that people can be desperately rude about other people’s bodies without even realising it. You learn that men have no idea of personal space and how not to invade someone else’s. You learn that a lot of people base their opinions of others solely on appearances, that they make snap judgements and box people into stereotypes. You learn how to utterly rock someone’s world when you bring more to the table than blonde hair, big boobs and perfect teeth, and you learn how to revel in that.
As a result of all of this, I love my boobs. I love how they look on me. I love how they feel on me. I enjoy the slightly envious looks I get from other women. I love how my girlfriend looks at them and her reaction to them. And most of all I love how they have given me a nuanced understanding of the world, and how people operate in it.
That’s why I’m sure you can imagine the unadulterated shock I felt when I found the lump.
I’m a worrier. I automatically jump to the worst case scenario in my head about absolutely everything. So when I found this large, painful lump the first thing that went through my head was: How ridiculous am I going to look with only one giant boob? Yes, that’s melodramatic, but it’s just how my brain works.
Getting any bad news over the Christmas period is awful. It seems so much worse, not only because of the holly jolly idiots surrounding you, but because the holiday season always take on that surreal quality, when the normal rules of physics seem to stop applying to time and everything is on a go-slow. A day feels like a week and two weeks feels like months and months. Or at least it felt like months and months to me, until I was able to get to a doctor a fortnight after finding the lump.
It was a bizarre two weeks. The lump started small and grew rapidly over three days, getting increasingly painful too. It eventually got so large that you could see it protruding from the base of my breast, but then three days later, it shrunk in size. The pain though did not subside, though.
I eventually got to the doctor this week. While most people’s minds would be put at ease when the doctor told them that while the lump could be a malignant tumour, that wasn’t likely and it was probably an abscess, all this was provide me with a whole new set of worries to pile on top of the ones already plaguing me. If it is an abscess, it’s a big one, and there is a risk of it bursting. But nothing is certain until I go for a mammogram.
Of course this whole conversation was carried out with me lying topless, boobs flopping to the side, arms above my head while the lady doctor roughly poked and prodded at me, smiling away as though a lumpy breast was an everyday occurrence. In a small way I am grateful for her nonchalance, though. While she smiled, the prospect of losing my beloved boob did lose some of its hold on my brain, for a moment or so.
But now I have to wait for my results, my brain constantly rushing towards hysterical fates, like contracting septicaemia from a burst abscess, or having to have a breast removed and the subsequent reconstructive surgery, and the decisions I would face then. Will I get a boob as big as my other one, or will I get the new, smaller one, and then have surgery to make the other one smaller too? With my brain in hyper drive, I feel a little lost, scared and overwhelmed. The Christmas tree is still up and everyone still has that post-holiday afterglow, and all I feel is heavy.
The wait is worse for me than knowledge of what the actual diagnosis will be. So here I languish until further notice, the weight of the world on my shoulders and the fate of my two-stone mammary glands hanging in the balance. I’ll let you know what happens in further entries in The Boob Diaries.
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