I wrote one time about my breasts and how large and impressive they are. That may have been awesome for some of you. You may have even thought something like, ” Terrific! I love a lady with a giant pair of cans! I am feeling vaguely aroused by this information!”
Well let me tell you a story that will kill your bone.
I came running down the short flight of stairs of the house we lived in Dayton, Ohio to where my mother sat at the glass kitchen table flipping through a Southern Living.
“Mom.” I said wringing my hands and attempting to remain calm. “Mom I found a lump.” I leaned over conspiratorialy and hissed. “And I found it in my breast!”
My mother looked at me from underneath half lidded eyes, wondering what the hell her 14-year-old daughter was talking about. She paused flipping the page of the magazine and the window treatment section stood at 12 O’clock balanced on the edge of her finger.
“Mom…I think it might be cancer!”
“Leia, You have to have breasts before you can get cancer in them.”
I looked down at my pubescent new growth boobs. Fair enough.
Now I don’t want you to think my mother is a monster but she has seen real terminal illness in her lifetime so short of a positive biopsy it’ll take a lot for her to become concerned.
“It’s just your boobs coming in. You are being dramatic.” She let the page of her magazine fall into place.
“I am not being dramatic!!!” I wailed, stomped my foot and gestured frantically at my right tit.
She just looked at me. I quit my display and smoothed my hair out of my face.
“I am not being dramatic.”
Then I turned and glided back up the stairs to my room. I spent the rest of the night feeling the lump in my boob which despite what my mother said felt distinctly different from the other lumps that when put together make up a boob.
Several weeks went by and I tried to convince myself that I did not have malignant titty cancer. However the lump did not accommodate my positive thinking. It grew larger. Then it began to hurt. Then it grew larger again and started to hurt more.
Then my right boob was one cup size larger than the left and I was going to a doctor even if I had to walk there and give hand jobs for the co-pay money. I had just grown these boobs and I hated to think of something awful happening to them before college where they could be fully utilized.
I showed my mother the lump on my lady lump. She braced her hands on her knees and squinted at it in the warm glow of the bathroom light.
“That does look a little strange.” She poked it.” Does it hurt to touch?”
I dropped my shirt. “Can I please go to the doctor now?”
“Yeah, probably should just to be on the safe side.”
Mom made an appointment at a women’s health center in the next township over that had mammogram equipment. We sat in the waiting room on the uncomfortable magenta naughahyde chairs as Mom filled out the insurance paperwork. I stared at the reproduction of a Mary Cassatt painting of a woman bathing her child and wondered how I’d hold up under chemo. I imagined my inspiring defiance in the face of death, and how all of the kids and teachers at school would hold my frail hand on my deathbed and beg forgiveness for their douchey transgressions. I would place a hand on their heads and impart final startling words of wisdom (I didn’t know what they were yet. I figured the right thing would come on the last breath.) before taking my last breath in soft focus and passing beyond the veil.
Then everyone would probably cry a whole bunch. They’d read my left behind note books of poetry and half-finished fantasy trilogy and realize just what creative genius had left the world. The Nobel Prize board would probably make an exception and award me the prize for literature posthumously.
“Lee-ah Wortherington?” A nurse poked her head out of a room.
“That’s us.” My mother and I stood at the same time. We never bothered to correct people who added letters that obviously weren’t contained in our surname anymore.
The nurse asked me some cursory questions and then the doctor came in and asked a few more. After explaining the reason for being there the two of them guided me into the mammogram room for my positive diagnosis of tragic, noble death.
“Well, it’s benign.” Said the doctor sweeping the scanner across my lubed boob.
I craned my neck from where I lay flat on my back. “You’re sure? How do you know? Don’t you need to like, take out a piece of it?”
My mother rolled her eyes.
“Well, for one thing it’s not solid. It’s just fluid and some debris. Most likely a cyst or an abscess. They can form in breast tissue.” The doctor flicked off the machine and handed me some paper towel to wipe myself off.
I didn’t know what she meant by debris. In my head I was thinking old newspapers or cigarette butts like you’d see at a seldom used bus stop.
The doctor pulled a note pad out of the pocket of her lab coat and scrawled out a prescription. “Take one of these a day and that’ll take care of it.” My mother took the slip of paper and led me to the pharmacy. I trailed behind with the remainder of the gel sticking to my t-shirt and wondered how I was going to make high school feel bad for being such dick wizards now that I wasn’t dieing.
Maybe I’d be hit by a car saving a baby or something. There was still time.
I took the pills faithfully. At first there was no change. Then a greenish tint began to color the area of the lump, then a purplish hue, then dark red. Also the lump became more lumpy and protrudy. Which, trust me, that motherfucker was lumpy and protrudy as hell to begin with.
I watched with growing concern as my normal if slightly lumpy boob darkened into the color of a low midwestern sky during tornado season.
There were two pills left when on the day I took the shower. This was in winter and if you haven’t been to Ohio in the winter first of all, don’t and second of all its unbearably goddamned cold. The shower I stepped out of was the temperature of molten steel, condensation was thick on the wall to wall mirror. I placed one hand on the sink and wiped away a broad streak. I regarded my stormy, mutant titty.
“Damn, that looks bad. It looks like it’s getting worse…” I thought.
I cupped the afflicted boob.
And then I poked it.
And then my tit exploded.
I’m sorry. I want to repeat myself so that all of you following along at home can truly understand me.
My goddamned fucking right breast burst open and splashed viscous fluid everywhere.
“Jesus. Jesus.” Were the only words I could say as I angled my fountaining tit over the sink and let what seemed like a gallon of blood and pus come flowing steadily forth.
Oddly enough I didn’t lose my shit and start screaming. In my head a small voice said “Well. Better out than in, I suppose.” and then a smaller voice behind that said “It would have been nice if that doctor had mentioned this would happen. Something like ‘Oh, by the way this medication will bring the infection to the surface and then rupture like an angry puss volcano. Just FYI.”
I called into the hallway, “Hey, Mooooooom…”
“Could you come in here for a minute?”
I think I just wanted to punish her for not taking me to the doctor right away. Or maybe I just didn’t want to be alone in experiencing this singular horror of the body. maybe both.
The door cracked open part of the way and my mother’s head craned into take in the tableau of bloody puss and ruined towels and her daughter calmly leaning over the sink- allowing the last of the wretched abscess to drain.
“Yeah, crazy huh?”
“When did this happen?!”
“Just now.” I said and grabbed a handful of tissues and pressed it to the distressingly ragged wound. “Kinda wished someone had told me about the liters of sick juice I was carting around.”
The scientist in my mother surfaced briefly to posit, “It must have been an infected hair follicle that got out of hand…”
“Yes. Thank you.”
“Well…” She leaned on the door jamb. “Better out than in, I suppose!”
“Yes. Thank you.”
The worst part of the whole ordeal wasn’t really even the erupting part. Do you know that the draining of an abscess leaved an open hole that takes a long, long ass time to heal shut?
It took a full month.
At least it didn’t scar.