Breast Health

ODE TO MAMMOGRAMS: The Good Ol’ Lean & Squish

I made a routine trip to the doctor today and it reminded me of a not-so-routine-trip a few years ago.

See, I had scheduled a mammogram after finding a lump and was very apprehensive about the appointment. For the record, this is a common thing for me because my boobs are like 2 fun-sized bags of Reese’s Pieces. I’ve been berated for years now by one nurse who claims this odd condition is a result of my coffee addiction. I’m a dedicated junkie though so NO, I won’t be dropping that habit any time soon. Plus, this particular nurse has a wonderful Jamaican accent so I sort of like to hear her bitch at me anyway.

This lump felt different though and a 10-foot-deep pit of dread had settled in my stomach. I walked in for my mammogram that day CONVINCED bad news awaited. In my mind, bagpipes were playing as I disrobed and not the fun, drunk kind you hear on St. Patrick’s Day. My favorite nurse was there and she gave me the usual lecture, but even SHE seemed a bit reserved. The doctor decided he should get a better look with the (deep breath here) sonogram, just to be safe. Continue reading →


MENOPAUSE: Is THIS Why I’ve Gone Batsh*t Crazy?

My daughter had a Puberty Class at school last week and as you can imagine, she was horrified. They discussed how men and women WHO LOVE EACH OTHER make babies, what to expect from menstruation, and learned all about the dreaded hormones that will turn sweet, young women into surly monsters.

At least, I think that’s what they talked about.

Emma was so grossed out by the whole thing that she didn’t even want to discuss it. It’s not like we haven’t gone over that nasty business before. I have openly talked about these matters with her for years, hoping to keep that particular line of communication open. I want Emma and her sister to know that they have a safe place to voice their concerns through the crazy, hormonal years ahead.

Parents today make sure their kids are mentally prepared for puberty but do nothing to prepare THEMSELVES for the changes they’ll be going through. After all, we go through tumultuous hormone-shifts of our own, but no one tells US how to handle them. There is no class with uncomfortable film-strips to explain hot-flashes or anxiety attacks. No teacher sits us down to analyze the rapid weight gain, depression, and hair loss that awaits us or when to expect it.

Nope, we fumble through it all on our own, wondering why we feel so NUTS and if that nightly glass of wine could be classified as “self-medication.” We don’t even talk about it with each other because…well, I don’t really know why. Maybe we’re afraid of seeming weak or pathetic. Or maybe it doesn’t even occur to us that our bodies and brains are changing due to natural shifts in our hormones. Instead, we just feel crazy and keep it to ourselves, which makes us even more depressed.

Maybe we don’t even think our hormones ARE responsible, because only old ladies go through menopause, right?

That all depends on your definition of OLD. Peri menopause usually starts when women are in their 40’s and can last several years. That’s right, YEARS so why hasn’t Judy Blume written a book for us? Where is the My Body, My Self for the over-40 crowd and why haven’t we gotten even one awkward classroom chat about THE CHANGE?

It’s time to fix that. I’m going to schedule our first meeting, but since the word MENOPAUSE makes us feel old, I’ll call it our 2nd Puberty Class. We’ll meet at a bar instead of a school and diagrams won’t be provided so we’ll have to draw our own dirty pictures of the female anatomy. Also, instead of a film-strip, I suggest drunken karaoke followed up by interpretive dance in the parking lot while we wait for our Uber rides. It might not mentally prepare us for anything, but it’s far better than feeling batshit crazy all alone.


Life Lessons From Boudoir Photos (Courtesy of My Secret Facebook Group)

I haven’t mentioned My Secret Facebook Group in a while because…well, everyone’s been going through Hell. We’ve had multiple divorces, loads of ill and ornery parents and countless belligerent children. The members of this group have spent far more time lifting each other up than sharing dirty stories lately and for that, I am grateful. Of course, someone always works in a juicy tidbit and this week, it was Marci.

Marci isn’t her real name but what’s a Secret Facebook Group if I’m giving up people’s identities? Anyhow, Marci decided she wanted to have some Boudoir Photos made. Evidently, a photographer-friend of hers asked if she’d be interested and she decided that YES, it sounded just dandy. Well, the rest of us did a spit-take with our Moscow Mules because we are mostly over-40 Moms. We’d rather get a weekly pap-smear than pose naked in front of a photographer, but OF COURSE we encouraged Marci to do so. The thought of someone else taking Boudoir Photos is insanely sexy (“Draw me like one of your French girls, Jack”) and we are, after all, huge fans of dirty pictures. So, we followed Marci’s journey of waxing and exfoliating until the big day.

Which was yesterday.

Marci got naked and let a man who isn’t her husband snap photos of her, but she also had an epiphany. Like all great epiphanies, she struggled to put it into words so I’m just going to post her comments here: Continue reading →


Open Letter to My Friend Who’s Turning 40

I am so excited about celebrating your 40th Birthday this weekend, but I know you have mixed emotions. Crossing over from your 30s into your 40s isn’t exactly FUN. Believe me, anyone who says they’re excited about it is secretly crying into a bottle of vodka. There ARE some good things about turning 40 though and I would know. I’ve been in my 40s so long that I’m already mentally-preparing for my 50s, so here’s my birthday present to you. It’s a brief list of the things you actually have to look forward to when you turn 40. Continue reading →