Thursday, February 12, 2004

All about breasts

The odd thing was we had spent the day talking about breasts!

Ironically, a very dear friend was staying with us to go for surgery
Monday morning, after Super Bowl Sunday, to get her 30-yr problematic
breast implants removed from her body. She was to do so because
she had ruptured an implant somehow, and it was abcessed and

Her long career as a slim, shapely woman was over - she
would return to "ironing-board flat" as a crone, grateful to get
those things out before they blew up and killed her.

We talked about breasts - how they were a symbol of fitting in to
society's mold of perfection. She was childless - hers were merely
ornamental. I had nursed three children over ten years, long and hard.
I am grateful for my skin, my glandulars never mammogrammed, they're
real and they're... well,you know!?

(...Ariana had told me that the muscles which hold the breasts high are
"Cooper's" and that the years lead to a condition known as "Cooper's

Visiting the surgeon who would remove the implants, she heard him
talking to a young woman through the wall, waiting in an examination

Girl: "Oh I would like to be a C, well surely not a D, that wouldn't be
right...I don't want to be a tease, you know, but just a B, or maybe a C...not a D..."

Doctor: "You have the choice, you can be any size you would like. Many
women choose to be a D."

Girl: "Really, well, I guess I could be a C, or even a D. Are they safe?"

Doctor: "Of course they are perfectly safe. Less than 1% have problems
with the modern breast augmentation implants."

She hears this through the thin walls. The surgery is successful.
She is now an A-minus.

On the subject of breast cancer - I ask you to read this article by
Harriet Beinfield, posted at Health World Online -

Revisiting Accepted Wisdom in the Management of Breast Cancer --
here is a brief abstract--

Misconceptions and illusions prevail in the management of breast cancer. Historical review reminds us that medical practice is commonly rooted in tradition rather than proof: The Halsted mastectomy inadvertently served the burgeoning profession of surgery in the early 20th century more than it has benefited women with breast cancer, yet 100 years later the operation continues to thrive. Despite evidence that mastectomy, radiation following lumpectomy, axillary node dissection, or intensive follow-up surveillance have little impact on survival, these practices are adhered to tenaciously. The extent to which current treatment for breast cancer succeeds in prolonging life remains open to question. Many accepted ideas and interventions are perilously disconnected from their true merit. The imperative for doctors to do something sometimes contradicts their pledge to do no harm. Reflection on what is known should guide future action. (Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 1997; 3(5):35-53)

...from the article:

Poet Lucille Cliftons writes:
we are running
running and
time is clocking us
from the edge like an only
our mothers stream before us,
cradling their breasts in their
oh pray that what we want
is worth this running,
pray that what we're running
is what we want

(this article thanks to Lolly Simkins Daniels)

No comments: