Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Punched in the boob

A little over a month ago, Shawn found a lump in my boob. That's right, Shawn found it. Even though I do a self exam every month (or roughly every month). The crazy thing was that said lump (ah...Lumpy) was about the size of a dime and felt very much like that gel stuff that they put in wrist supports for computer geeks. So in other words, it had probably been there for a while and I kept missing it. Some of the reason why I kept missing it was because it easily moved about (within a certain distance--it's not like I could push it from one side of my boob to the other...though that would be kinda cool). In any case, Shawn started freaking out since his mom had breast cancer about 10 years ago whereas I felt it and said, "eh, I don't think it's cancerous. My parents' vet at one point said that cancer doesn't move easily and this moves easily." Shawn said, "I think there's a big difference between you and an old dog."

(chances* of me having cancer, 50/50)

We came back home (oh yes, we were at a friend's wedding when this was all going down), I didn't immediately make a doctor's appointment since I had to go to the doctor anyway in a week and a half.

I went to the doctor. She said "I think it's an adenoma. But just to be sure I want you to go have an ultrasound."

(chances of cancer, 25%)

I set up an appointment for the ultrasound and then spent about 4 hours trying to figure out what I should tell my boss since I'm sure he doesn't want to know I'm going to go be felt up by a stick (the ultrasound wand), but at the same time I can't just say "My doctor says I need to have an ultrasound, so Imma do that on my lunch break" because then the rumors would fly fast and furious that I was pregnant (NOTE: I AM NOT PREGNANT). I finally opted for "my doctor felt something she didn't like, now I have to go see a specialist", and went on my lunch break the following work day.

The ultrasound doctor said "I agree with your doctor, I think it's an adenoma, but we recommend having a biopsy done just to be sure. And we can't do the biopsy today - you'll need to talk to your doctor and she'll refer you to a surgeon who will do it; but she may send you back here to have it done. One just never knows."

(chances of cancer, 12%. Level of annoyance at not being able to have a biopsy done right away, 50%)

Two days later my doctor called (thank god I didn't have to go into her office), and said that I should go see a surgeon and have a biopsy. She gave me a number.

I called and set up an appointment for that for the following Monday. Based on how horrible the DJ on the radio made it sound, I made Shawn take the afternoon off so he could drive me hither and yon in case I was in too much pain.

The surgeon said "I think it's an adenoma. Your choices are to either come back in 6 months and have us look at it again; or you can have the biopsy done now, though we'd still want to see you again in 6 months to see if anything has changed." I opted for the biopsy. 20 minutes later I was on my way home.

(chances of cancer, 5%)

Contrary to the radio DJ, I didn't have to ice my boob, nor did I even take any pain killers. In fact the only thing that seemed to hurt the incision was driving, and even then, it was only if I was turning the wheel while shifting, so as long as I didn't drive like a maniac, everything was good.

3 days later the doctor called and said everything looked fine, no cancer for me.

(chances of cancer, 0)

Oddly, I didn't get a bruise until the day the doctor called with the biopsy results. And even though my incision has healed and you can't even tell I had one (unless you know where to look), my boob is still all black and blue and tinged yellow (so we're going on what, 2 weeks now of it being bruised, least I wouldn't make a good abused child - I bruise too easily).

Of course when something like this happens, you start thinking back to see if there was anything that could have tipped you off. And I remembered about 9 months ago, a spot on my boob just started itching, and itching and itching, but it wasn't a surface itch, it felt like it was under my skin. About 3 months after that I thought I had felt something (and it would have been in the right spot), but since we had just gone to the Boston Museum of Science which had a breast cancer section where you could feel what cancer felt like and what cancer didn't feel like, Shawn even said he thought it didn't feel like cancer, but I should keep track of it. After that, I obviously didn't find that same spot again, and so I didn't think anything of it. But now... Ah hindsight: always 20/20.

Also: Feel your boobies.

* = These are not real chances, these are just an indication of how my level of confidence increased as time went on.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I went for a jog the other day. And by 'other day' I mean 'over a week ago'. About half way through my jog, I passed three women walking in the opposite direction walking a small Lhasa Apso-esque dog on a retractable leash. As I neared them, the dog comes running toward me tail wagging and tongue lolling out. The dog was about 3 feet from me when the one holding the leash suddenly yells, "Snuggles! NO!" and pulls so hard on the leash the poor animal falls ass over tea kettle and probably made two full rotations. As I jog past, the lady says "I'm so sorry, she's not friendly." and after I pass, I hear her say to the dog, "Snuggles, bad dog! You went all running up to that nice lady pretending like you wanted pets...why would you do that?" And I'm left thinking "you have a dog that isn't friendly at all named Snuggles? That's just lunacy."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Shawn's gimpy (achilles tendonitis and plantar fascitis from running, and he just hurt his ankle today biking).

I'm gimpy (somehow hurt the top of my foot running the other day)

Yep...30 is going to be wonderful for us...

Saturday, June 04, 2011


Today we went to Walmart to get an air filter for our know, since it hasn't been changed in a year and a half. while there, we spent a good part of an hour just staring at the sunblock display. The reason why we stood there for 45 minutes was because Shawn insisted that he had read an article about how you should only get sunblock that has active ingredients of "Zinc Oxide" and "Titanium Dioxide."

So yes, we spent 45 minutes looking at the ingredient list for all the sunblocks available. And the only ones that ONLY had Titanium Dioxide and/or Zinc Oxide (other than the stuff the lifeguards put on their noses), are a few of the "free and clear" for babies/sensitive skin varieties.

After getting home and figuring out that he was reading something by and not the World Health Organization, we spent the next hour searching for sunblocks that we've heard of (thankfully, they have a searchable database here). We had found the Aveeno Natural Protection Mineral Block (as well as a similarly named Baby formula which, as far as we could tell, is the exact same thing) at both Walmart and Target for $10 per 3 oz bottle (it gets a rating of 3); and had figured that the Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby (also $10 per 3 oz bottle) would have received a similar score. So you can imagine how surprised we were when the Neutrogena got a score of 7 (note: this is like golf, you want lower scores). Apparently the reason for the disparity is that the Neutrogena contains Vitamin A, a vitamin that, while it does reduce the signs of ageing, breaks down in the sun and actually may lead to a higher risk of skin cancer.

Since it is possible to look at all the sunscreens listed on the site by score, that's what I did and just scrolled down until I found a brand I had actually heard of (since I don't make a habit of shopping at the Whole Foods). The best well known brand I could find was the Coppertone Pure & Simple and Sensitive Skin varieties (with a score of 3)

Of course, if you wear makeup you've probably already heard of EWG'sSkin Deep Cosmetics Database.

Naturally I spent the next hour looking up the soaps, shampoos, conditioners and lotions we use. Shawn is trying to get more into the Organic Thing (but not with food...which I think is odd), and so he's purchased some lotions, lip balms, and soaps that are supposed to be better than the traditional stuff. So it's kinda surprising to find out that his lotion (Nature's Gate Fragrance Free) got a 4 while mine (Curel Continuous Comfort Fragrance Free) got a 3. His Nutribiotic Skin Cleanser gets a 6, my Noxzema Triple Clean Cleanser gets a 5.

Happy hunting, kids!