So who hates the sound of the dentist’s drill? Well having your boob drilled is equally if not more intoxicating and quite frankly violent in many respects. Yes it’s enough to make me wet myself, wrap my dainty chest in a hundred layers of toilet paper and run for the hills.
I question whether it is always the best idea that this very invasive procedure is deemed the next immediate step by many factions of the medical community. There are complementary methods and ideas to support breast care that you can start implementing right away that aren’t quite so stressful.
I’m not trying to make light of this serious topic or biopsy procedure. I take breast health very seriously. However, I felt compelled to write this blog after yet another friend asked me, “What’s a thermogram? I’ve never heard of it.”
It’s up to YOU and not your doctor to decide the important next step to take for your breast care.
Did you ever consider that if you have painful, or lumpy boobs (fibrocystic for you medical nerds) as I do, the go-to-doctor is a Breast Surgeon? Yes, a professional cutter/slicer/resector. Not someone trained to advise on how to keep your breasts healthy.
Who can we ask about a breast healthy diet? Broccoli, berries, turmeric, walnuts, fish, flax seed, brightly colored veg. apples, garlic and onion, pomegranates all help with breast health and even cancer prevention.
Iodine taken in the form of kelp or seaweed, a yummy condiment that’s similar to salt, is also good for breast health. Avoiding caffeine is recommended. Also soy foods, plant based progesterone serums, and bioidentical hormone therapy can also help prevent disease.
Reducing coffee/sugar/wheat/dairy are also good ways to protect your breasts as it can reduce inflammation. I ask you to take the time to research these ideas.
I am NOT a nutritional expert, but I pick up information here and there. Sadly, none of my knowledge came from a conventional medical person.
I tried to discuss my premenopausal dietary supplements and herbs with a breast surgeon at Westchester Medical and I think I saw her eyes cloud over. She didn’t seem in the least bit interested.
All the professional slicer wanted from me was the permission to squash my boob (using perhaps the equivalent of a 50 pound weight) for a prolonged period of time in a radioactive procedure known as a mammogram.
I humbly admit to having avoided mammograms thus far and I’m very grateful to have remained safe. There are many pros and cons to having mammograms and some sketchy research. Women’s health doesn’t seem to be a priority, but that’s another story.
I’ll leave you with one eye opening thought:
“Radiation from routine mammograms poses significant cumulative risks of initiating and promoting breast cancer. Premenopausal women who get annual mammograms for ten years are exposed to a total of ten rads (radiation absorbed dose) for each breast. Over a thirty-year time frame (40 years -70 for example), that amounts to a cumulative dosage of 30 rads per breast. By comparison, Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors absorbed an average of 32 rads.” “The Wisdom of Menopause” p.534
Therefore, I chose to use a non-invasive technique to protect my breasts after reading a chapter on breast health in Dr. Christine Northrup’s menopause bible, “The Wisdom of Menopause”. She strongly advocated the use of thermograms as the “best screening method currently available”
It is rare and refreshing to have a conventional medical professional in favor of using alternative tests. She writes:
“Thermography detects the physiologic changes in the breast tissue that have been shown to correlate with cancerous or precancerous states. It is widely acknowledged that cancers, even in their earliest stages, need nutrients to maintain or accelerate their growth. In order to facilitate this process, blood vessels remain open, inactive blood vessels are activated, and new blood vessels are formed…This vascular process causes an increase in surface temperature in the affected regions, which can be viewed with infrared imaging cameras. Additionally, the newly formed or activated blood vessels have a distinct appearance that thermography can detect.” p.533 “The Wisdom of Menopause”
I’ve been having thermograms for years. A lovely lady takes an infrared picture of my bare chest with a specialized camera that identifies the temperature in my breasts.
The idea being that a growing cancer creates new blood supplies very quickly to feed itself and the new blood increases breast temperatures.
I try to use common sense to make informed indecisions and that seems like a sensible idea. I don’t necessarily trust that each conventional health protocol is the best practice.
I like to be my own judge and keeper of my precious body!
Unfortunately, I had several abnormal readings in recent thermograms, so I decided to have a biopsy against my own instincts after an ultrasound confirmed a growing lump.
I’m in pre menopause, I sometimes eat and drink bad stuff, my hormones are all over the place, I just had a stressful finger injury that required too many conventional drugs and 6 hours of general anesthetic, so my body’s balance was upset. It’s an interesting observation that the biopsied boob lump was on the same side of my body as my injured fingers.
Yet I surmised that the most important thing about getting a biopsy is that it gives me peace of mind that actually causes positive physiological changes in my body. Here is another piece of research to alleviate some of our fears regarding breast cancer from “The Wisdom of Menopause.”
I can’t change the health system in three easy steps but I can inform you a little and encourage you to research more and try to avoid allowing your body to be hurt because of a medical system that often seems to be based on financial profit rather than the maintenance of health.
I want to help reduce the fear and worry that a breast biopsy creates. I’m sharing my limited knowledge and ideas that helped me survive a breast lump scare without too many emotional scars.
- Meditate on having healthy and happy boobs beforehand. You know I adore Insight Timer – a free meditation ap.
- Don’t get bullied into having a biopsy immediately after the ultrasound as this happened to me and I probably would have allowed it, but luckily I had another appointment. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to cope with it immediately. I needed to be accepting of the procedure first. I would have resented it and would have been much more traumatized had I allowed her to drill me immediately.
- Get a second opinion if your instincts are screaming “This doesn’t feel right!’ Sadly I often ignore my instincts, but I’m learning to respect my body more and listen to her.
- Research the side effects of having a biopsy. Many women worry that the needle will spread cancer into other parts of the breast not affected when it’s being pulled out of the skin. This is apparently not a worry, but heck the entire situation is stressful and these thoughts add to it.
- Put an ice pack on your breast for as long as you can tolerate it immediately before the test to dampen the sting of the local anesthetic that they use to numb the skin and internal breast tissue. Yes, I carried an ice pack with me into the clinic in a freezer bag. I was very glad to have done this.
- Don’t worry about the pain if you use the icepack it really makes the entire procedure painless.
- I firmly believe in taking a little valerian (a herb to help you relax) and Rescue Remedy from Bach (a herbal relaxation mixture that you spray in your mouth) just before you go into the room to help you stay calm and strong.
- Be prepared to have your hubby or friend NOT be allowed into the procedure room. I think a teddy bear or cuddly stuffed animal is a soothing prop. Whatever you need to help you through it. I also think taking a picture of your kids and loved ones into the procedure room to stare at reinforces why you are allowing this procedure as you want to ensure you are healthy for your family.
- Finally take headphones and have a happy, loving, joyful song ready and set on pause to play instantly because the whole thing is carried out fairly quickly thankfully. I listened to Phillip Phillips ‘Home’. “Know you’re not alone, as I’m going to make this place your home.”
- Sing your heart out during the procedure. I sang an ode of love to my booby not in any key, I think I sang flat, but I sang out loud. (Loud singing helps in the dentist chair too.) I sang something along the lines of ‘I love my beautiful booby, and I’m sorry I have to hurt you to check that I am ok.’ The surgeon said it was the funniest biopsy she’s ever done. Well there’s an interesting first to have. Singing certainly soothed me. The surgeon did mention that she sang “Amazing Grace” with another patient.
- Keep believing that everything is okay while you wait for the results. Just tell yourself that no matter what you will be well, healthy, strong and live a long, fabulously sexy life. My doctor got the results back to me by the next morning. She left a message saying, “Hi singing Lady. I’ve got good news for you, everything is fine.”
I’d like to challenge you to honor your breasts at least once a month in a scented bath with a sacred ceremony of protection.
Having a deeper more appreciative relationship with your boobs is NEVER a bad thing. Dr Northrup encourages a method developed by Dana Wyrick, a lymphedema therapist in a clinic in San Diego. Gently stroking any part of our body helps remove impurities back into the lymph nodes, where they will be made harmless.
I believe that healing takes place when we work to understand, accept and embrace the difficult emotions that may crop up and if we keep distress to a minimum during stressful procedures or in times of worry.
My hope is that you find some of my experience helpful and ignore the parts that don’t resonant with you. I also hope that I can help you smile a little when you lie in your steamy tub and talk lovingly to your best assets and think of me! Just kidding! It’s important to laugh when we can. Life is precious and very fleeting.
Full Circle on Mamaroneck Avenue has an independent company called Image of Health that comes every few months and I’ve been very happy with their screening process and care.
Be well my beautifully breasted readers, both male and female. Breast cancer affects both sexes.
May your amazing mammary glands life long and prosper!