Please Take This Personally

Even as I type this I’m not sure how comfortable I am being so public about it, but a sentiment stronger than my privacy scruples is motivating me to continue.

I had day surgery today, to remove four lumps from one of my breasts. Although one was biopsied last year (needle, boob, OW OW OW) and found to be benign, they said it was best to take them all out for testing, just to be safe.

I don’t know the test results yet, and will only find out on 20 July.

I am only twenty-five years old.

None of this is written to get your pity, although for those of you who pray, I’d be grateful for your prayers. I’m writing this because I’m pretty sure that many of the females who read this blog are around my age, and I want to say to you: please don’t think you are impervious to these problems just because you’re still young. Please learn how to check yourself, and do so regularly. Lumps aren’t at all uncommon in young breasts, and are more than likely to be benign, but you owe it to yourself and everyone who loves you to make sure anyway. I know it’s damn uncomfortable to do, but don’t do it half-heartedly either – I only found one lump on my own, but a thorough scan revealed four.

I’m still quite uncomfortable in writing all this, but this is where I’m coming from: despite anti-breast-cancer messages more than amply publicized both in women’s media and mainstream media, despite all sorts of celebrity campaigns, despite the background awareness most of us have that breast cancer happens to a lot of women and kills some of them, I was still pretty cavalier about it. Irrationally, it took a distant relative’s death from a totally different cancer to get me worried enough to check myself, and then to consult a doctor.

I don’t mean to overestimate the influence my Z-list blog could have on any of you, but it seems from your emails and comments over the years that I have at least influenced some of you in terms of music and reading. And even if I didn’t influence you there, please listen to me here.

Girls: you already know what you should do. Do it.
Guys: do all you can to make sure the women you love take the time and trouble to protect themselves.

[Edit: By the way, I have no objections if any of you link to this post in order to promote its message.]

[Edit: I have received the test results, and thankfully, all is well.]

44 comments

  1. I am glad you took the step forward. If only others had the courage and ditch the self-denial…

  2. Hi Michelle. A friend of mine went through this recently, and it all came out well, though waiting for the results was very difficult for her, to understate in a typically British way. Can’t really say anything that meets the occasion, but I hope the results come out in your favour, and that the three weeks in the meantime are not too hard for you. And I’m sure Alec doesn’t need any prompting to take good care of you.

    I’ll be sure to check back on 20th for the good news.

  3. Hey Michelle! Just to let you know that I just grabbed my boobies and gave them a good feel and squeeze…and I promise you I will do it regularly…;p

    That said, big hugs to you for going through that, and I’m sending out all the positive vibes I have for your health. Repeat after me now, “I am healthy, whole and complete.”….

    mucho love.

  4. Hi Michelle,

    I had a friend who had a lump removed too. She was 23. The threat of breast cancer is a growing problem amongst young women, and you’re right — most of us tend to be quite careless or ignorant about it.

    Thanks for the warning, and I hope all is well now.

  5. Hi Michelle, oddly enough when I went for my health exam yesterday the doctor was more comfortable saying I skip that routine altogether, saying it was “unnecessary since you are still so young”. I do hope things will turn out well for you, but thanks for the timely reminder though. God bless.

  6. hey michelle, hope things turn out ok. and yep, ill check them tonight. :) thanks for taking the courage to blog it out. hugs.

  7. hey michelle. thank you for sharing this. having gone through a health scare earlier this year involving a needle biopsy (ow, yah) i can empathise…will keep you in prayer, and please take care.

  8. Michelle,

    My aunt is dealing with breast cancer. I will make sure my girlfriend heeds your advice. Thanks for spreading the knowledge. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Something I chant when I am praying/meditating is: I am healthy, whole, and complete.

    Peace,

    Singaporeslut

  9. Hey Mich. I’m feeling a little embarassed that I’ve been feeling depressed about things that are a lot less trivial compared to what you’re going through right now and am humbled by your strength and perseverance. Hang in there yourself and here’s hoping everything will turn out well.

  10. Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for sharing. I’ll check them out when I get back home tonight. You’re in my prayers. I hope everything turns out well for you.

    Take care,

    Dominique

  11. Dear Michelle,

    I hope the results are clear,and well done to you for taking control of this situation.

    I’m sure there are many people reading this site, who like me, hardly know you, but what we do know is that you have the guts of a dozen people and are a great rolemodel.

    best wishes

    BLH

  12. Hi Michelle, hope everything goes well, and thanks for posting about this.

  13. That message was needed, and especially important for me after I’ve spent the whole day bitching about my work and being pathetic.

    And even though, as you know, I have a prodigious fear of breasts, I wholeheartedly support your message.

    I’m sure all will be well. You’ll be in my thoughts.

  14. my hope and heartfelt prayers for your health and courage meanwhile to face the wait.

  15. Mich, I’m praying for you. I will also learn to check my own boobs – I am ashamed to admit that I have never bothered to do it before now!

    Take care. Fingers crossed for the 20th.

    Nat

    x

  16. Crossing all my fingers for you Michelle, I hope things turn out alright. Be strong! (A tad unnecessary since when it comes to you it’s clearly a given.)

  17. Thank you for sharing with us in this post, Michelle. I hope that things will work out fine for you.

  18. Michelle,

    You won’t believe this. I’ve posted about the same thing on my blog the same day you did! And I went through the same emotions.

    I hope you are ok.

    Love,

    Linda

  19. All the best to you and your boobs. It is a serious issue despite it being sickly funny, and I hope you get through it unscathed.

  20. Hi Michelle! Thx for sharing this with us! After reading your post, i actually did a BSE too and found a lump! oh my god, i hope it’s nothing. But can i ask, where do i consult a doctor regarding this issue? Normal Clinic doctor will do? I would prefer a female doctor too. All the best for the 20th! (hope you can reply here on this site)

  21. Take care! You’ll be fine, and I’m glad that you manage to detect abnormal lumps yourself. I had lumpy breasts and went for an ultrasound scan when I was 21, fortunately, all is ok. And what I learnt from other people’s experiences is that, sometimes even the healthiest people fall prey to diseases, but early detection will aid in a better chance of curing it altogether. Something along the line of, prevention is better than cure… Then again, enjoy life, while we all still can, right?

  22. Hello, Michelle. This is terrible news. Won’t you please get better? Praying for you, of course. And waiting to hear good news on the 20th.

  23. Hi Michelle, hope you recover well and have no further trouble.

    And for all the boys out there, breast cancer affects men too – so be warned.

  24. hi there,

    i just had a breast lump removed, knew it was benign, but it was large enough to bother me, so had it taken out.

    my message is this: I’m educated, supposedly wel-read and informed blah blah blah. BUT I sat on this breast lump thingy for a good 5 years before I even went to check it. Amazing how little we do for ourselves!

  25. hey, just recently went through a biopsy for a mole that started growing. Result was benign but I know how difficult the whole process is (i tried to keep it out of my mind during wedding preparations). glad that you got it done and glad that you’ve made others aware too. will keep praying.

  26. Hi,

    It was very brave for you to share this very personal incident. I have linked this story from my blog. Take care.

  27. Too many comments for me to respond to each one personally, but let me say that your good wishes and concern have really touched me. Please also send some good vibes Linda’s way – like me, she’s also waiting for news.

    What has really, really made me happy, is the number of comments from girls saying they’ll be checking themselves soon. That was the entire purpose of this post, so I’m glad it’s getting fulfilled.

    Enid Coleslaw: I KISS YOU FOR THAT LINK!

    Kenny Sia: Sickly funny is right. I had to restrain myself from making my usual dumb jokes throughout the whole post, because I didn’t want them to detract from its message! But they’ll find an outlet on this blog pretty soon, don’t worry. :P

    passerby: Don’t panic about the lump yet, it’s not uncommon in young breasts at all. The important thing is that you’ve found it, now you should get it checked.

    I just went to the polyclinic and got a referral to the hospital. I didn’t request a female doctor, so I don’t really know whether you can do that. I’m quite sure you can if you go to a private clinic though.

    Remember if you’re using public health care that if the polyclinic decides to refer you to the hospital, you may not be able to get a hospital appointment that soon. So it’s best not to delay making that first visit to the doctor. Good luck! Remember, the BIG probability is that YOU ARE FINE. :)

  28. “Kenny Sia: Sickly funny is right. I had to restrain myself from making my usual dumb jokes throughout the whole post.”

    Well, if it’s cheap humour we’re after, from someone’s scary news:

    I would like to personally offer a service to anyone out there to check them thoroughly for any irregularities. Simply turn up to my South London address, preferably skimpily attired, and with a bottle of wine. Phone ahead for appointments, though if pressed I am happy to check several people simultaneously.

    I am less willing to check gentlemen for prostate or testicular cancer.

    On a serious note, they’re both out there too, so, what Michelle said in the post, but for boys, and about your balls and how you pee. Sorry about the Eurocentric link.

  29. Matt: If pressed where? Be more specific. Oh, and if it’s just “gentlemen” you’re unwilling to check, then I’d like to make an appointment with you for Alec, please.

  30. Obviously a big Ramsay Hall-style hug from me, Michelle.

    All my best wishes, and love.

    – John

  31. Heartfelt prayers for you, Michelle. Means a lot for you to look out for other women and not just wallow in self pity. Hope everyone turns out fine. Hang tough in the meantime.

    On a side note, it’s good to see your posts getting longer these days. :D

  32. Hey Michelle, nice that you liked it, heh heh. Well, your post did its work…26 myself, and despite endless ads and Kylie’s recent brush, could never really be arsed to check myself. Had a look at the site you linked and got slightly panicky, thought it was rather complicated (yup, 16 years of education later) then figured that I’d better get my brains around it ‘cos one never knows. Thanks again.

  33. Dear Michelle, thanks for sharing this. I’ve never thought about examining my breasts before but will definitely start doing so after this. My prayers and good wishes go out to you. God be with you.

  34. Thanks for having the courage and strength to blog about this – Rest assured I’ll pass the word on. (And yes, check myself while I’m at it). Be praying for you.

  35. Hey, my lil sis mentioned this post to me [have been away till today] and I just wanted to send best wishes and thoughts and to tell you that I am praying [in 2 buddhist temples, 1 hindu and several in the privacy of moi boudoir to date] for you in every way I know how.

    Have faith in your strength and sensibility – see you tomorrow. Prayers yours for the 20th.

    Tamara

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