Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Preacious Boobs

Being a flat chested Tom Boy was one of the best times I had ever had. I could climb anything I wanted and could jump as high as I wanted with no pain involved. I went through puberty at a very young age, not that 11 is young for puberty these days. But it was the most uncomfortable and unpleasant stage for me. Not to mention the humiliation from the boys at school who just loved tugging on my practice bra. I hated watching these things grow and the pain that came with them. Why could I not just be like my guy friends and go topless on a hot day anymore? It took huge adjustments for me and all of a sudden I had to act like this lady I did not feel like inside.

Fast forward a few years when I had L. I now sort of understood why I had to grow these. I tried breast feeding for 3 months and things were just not working out. I mean I had a screaming baby to deal with for most of the day and having sore and leaky boobs just seemed like it was adding to all I had to deal with.

So to get to my point, I have never actually thought about my boobs until I went to the Breast Cancer Awareness Seminar my mom had at their church last year. My sisters future mother in law - J -  is a representative of the Cancer Association on South Africa and gave us a presentation. My sister and I were both not prepared for what J would tell us. The reason why she loved working with Cancer patients is because she has actually had Cancer too. Not just any Cancer, Breast Cancer. When we chatted after, she explained to us that she had the breast removed ( I think) and now is a diabetic. I was astonished at the fact that we had no idea. She had always been adamant about my sister going to get checked, but never really told us why. Such a lovely woman, and she had to deal with a disease like that.

Look I am no stranger to Cancer. One of my most loved uncles ( I have ten), Teddy, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1996. I remeber the day so clearly. He was sitting at my Grandad's Kitchen table, holding his head from the pain. He ended up going in for treatment but there was nothing they could really do. He eventually came and lived with us and stayed in the room the my sister now stays in. He got bed sores, spat in a brown bag.,got really thin and my dad had to take him to the bathroom and give him a bath. I sat and wathced him dissappear. My sister and I went and spoke to him when we could but the smell of death just got stronger and we enterd the room less. He eventually gave in to the pain and surccummed to the cancer in 1997, and we all still miss him greatly.

This story has repeated itself another two times in my life with both my Granddad's passing from prostate cancer. But I never really thought I could be touched by it because we have not had one female in our family get cancer, much less breast cancer.

But now I have A, my exclusivelly breast fed baby. I never knew breast feeding would become such a wonderful experience for me. We have bonded so wonderfully and I love just spending quiet time with her while she feeds. It never occured to me that my breasts would actually be so important in bonding with my baby.

Now I think of J and wonder if she ever thought it would happen to her. She is the only one in her family who has had it and probably just sat like me at one stage and thought she was in the clear. And here I sit, never been checked because my naivete told me I would be fine, just like all the other ladies in our South African black and coloured cultures. We are untouchabe when it comes to these illnesses, right. So why go through the inconvenience of a Memmogramme.
But what if I had got it before I had the opportunity to bond with A? I love my Breast feeding and would have missed out greatly!

So I made the vow to myself to get checked as soon as I stop breast feeding. I dont want to be one of those woman who find out near the end and only have so much more time to spend with family.

So will you get checked?

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