It was the breast of times, it was the weightiest of times, it was the age of whole food, plant-based diets, it was the age of throwing scales out the window….
Michelle and I couldn’t be more different – one of us is young, the other youngish. One is slender, the other spongy. One has been a mom for three years, the other for three decades. Despite our differences, we share a similar pursuit – improving our health as one of us battles cancer, and the other obesity.
Since this is our last post under our Searching for My Tit mashup banner, we wanted to pay homage to our miraculous bodies. Actually, we wanted to focus on one specific area… our tatas. You know, hooters. Pillows. Cans. Knockers. Melons. Boobies. Breasts. We all have them! Big, small, perky, saggy, real, or plastic. Regardless of what you have been endowed with, they can be a target for cancer, which doesn’t discriminate against age, race, size, religion, socioeconomic status, or gender (yes, men get breast cancer too). And like Michelle’s case, cancer doesn’t care if there aren’t any risk factors, or family history.
We don’t mean for this to be an alarmist piece – quite the contrary – we just wanted to get a few things off our chest and impart a few breast health tips.
Hello my name is…
As an older, plus-sized gal, who has gained and lost hundreds of pounds over the years, my breasts are a little, shall we say, droopy. And as such, I affectionately call them, ‘The Clackers’. If you’re of a certain age, you know what clackers are. If not, allow me to show you what the girls are named after.
Essentially, they’re two spheres (like my boobs), suspended on strings (like my boobs), and when you get momentum they smack each other and make a clacking sound (like my boobs), and if you’re not careful, they can put an eye out (like my boobs).
Putting them in their place
It doesn’t matter if your boobs are the size of mosquito bites, or bowling balls, get fitted for a proper bra. My daughter insisted I get fitted after she barged into my room when I was just wearing my under things, and after she stopped shouting, “My eyes! My eyes!” she asked me when I got my 80-year-old granny boobs. I started to explain the law of gravity, but she shushed me… ME! Her own mother! Then she grabbed my bra straps and hoisted The Clackers up to an elevation they hadn’t been at since Reagan was in office and voilà, instant boob lift! What’s more, I found my waist which went MIA back in ’89!
They feel better too now that I’m wearing the right size. Before, The Clackers were being skewered by the underwire causing pain and spillage… poor Lefty oozed out like Pillsbury dough when you whack the container against the counter 😦
Play doctor… with yourself!
Years ago, I was given a waterproof instructional shower card to remind me to perform self-breast exams. Over time, I became blind to it and stopped performing this lifesaving procedure. Today, reminders have gone hi-tech. There are handy-dandy apps, like this one called, “Your Man Reminder” which provides you with great tips and prompts. I’m having so much fun with it, that I’m programming reminders daily!
All kidding aside, if something doesn’t feel right to you, get it checked out right away – and push for the right tests, or screenings. While Michelle was only 33 when she was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer, her family doctor was convinced it was a blocked duct, but thankfully still requested an ultrasound. When it came back suspicious, she was sent for a biopsy, which revealed it was in fact breast cancer. After being diagnosed, Michelle was sent for further tests – the CT scan revealed it had spread to her vertebrae, making her breast cancer stage IV, however, her mammogram came back clear! Mammograms are a controversial topic, but Michelle’s advice is if you are young, or have fibrous breasts, mammograms are not the best at detecting disease. Just like you should eat a variety of plant-based, whole foods, screening from breast cancer shouldn’t be left to just one test.
Can a whole food, plant-based diet help reduce your risk of breast cancer?
Eating a diet rich in fruits and veggies means you are ingesting a variety of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that support a stronger immune system helping to fight off unhealthy cancer cells. Not only that, a whole food, plant-based diet helps manage a healthy weight, and can help protect you from other diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Other ways to lower your risk of breast cancer:
- Limit alcohol
- Avoid smoking
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Be physically active
- Limit dose and duration of hormone therapy
I want to thank Michelle for her support on my journey. She’s been a wonderful coach and we’ve become bosom buddies along the way.
If you wish to read more about Michelle’s breast cancer journey, you can read the beginning on her Caring Bridge site. Later in her journey she began to document her experiences on her blog Tit Happens.