Recently I attended a “Ta Ta to the Ta-Ta’s” party for my dear friend, Dyanne. Here’s a hint: if you want an irreverent friend to make you laugh at inappropriate moments, call me. Or Dyanne. Or Kittie or Sarah Jo or Kathy or, well, you get the picture. Needless to say, things got out of hand and we mostly succeeded in keeping Dyanne from crying during the event.
At this lively function we seized the opportunity to bid a sweet “adieu” (to be read with a strong French accent, thank you very much) to Dyanne’s breasts which have recently decided to misbehave by harboring some cancerous cells. Yes, there was a giant booby cake. And wine and margaritas. And a book titled, “I Love Ranch Dressing and OtherStuff White Midwesterners Like” which, naturally, was sent by Dyanne’s L.A. friends (who can totally get away with that sort of stuff).
The good news in all of this is that Dyanne will finally get those Jennifer Anniston boobs that she has always wanted (and really, who hasn’t wanted those babies? I must remember to let her borrow my Jen profile pic that I use on Facebook during doppelganger week). Additionally, she was already planning on having this surgery as a precaution to the possibility that those ta-ta’s might develop some sort of cancer. The bad news is, of course, that those damn things didn’t let her beat them to the punch.
Unfortunately, Dyanne is my second friend this year to receive the dreaded “C-word diagnosis”. Thankfully, due to advances in both the detection and the treatment of breast cancer, both friends have a good prognosis for recovery. While there is always the chance that things can go wrong, at this point I choose not to focus on the negative and instead want to share what doctors and researchers have learned that will, hopefully, save these women’s lives.
Over the years doctors have learned that there are some types of breast tissue that are prone to developing cancerous cells. Dyanne knew that her breasts fell into this category and thus had developed a proactive plan for hopefully avoiding cancer. During one of her preliminary tests, Dyanne’s doctor observed some suspicious activity in her cells and ordered a biopsy which, sadly, came back positive. The down side to all of this is that she must have the surgery now instead of having the luxury of waiting until this summer. Fortunately, due to early detection and a non-aggressive cancer, Dyanne will most likely not need to undergo chemotherapy. So, while she has received a very sobering report on the health of her breasts, it is, according to one doctor friend, the best case scenario she could hope for given the situation.
My other friend, however, is a completely different case. Her cancer is extremely aggressive and she is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment in the hopes of shrinking her tumor enough for it to be safely removed later this spring. Since my friend’s mother is a breast cancer survivor, she knew she too was a candidate for the disease. During her monthly self-exam she detected something unusual and immediately reported it to her doctor. Once again, early detection may have saved her life.
Bottom line? We had a fun get-together that was filled with laughter and crude jokes (and just a little fondling of that booby cake). After all, who doesn’t enjoy an opportunity to laugh and be merry with her girlfriends? And Dyanne is seriously going to get a great pair of new and improved boobies. But, in the midst of all those margaritas and wine bottles, we all know that breast cancer is still scary. And it is important (and somewhat sobering) to remember that we are currently reaping the benefits of years of research that has been devoted to the detection and treatment of this disease. While there is still no sure way to prevent breast cancer, early detection is the best chance we women have of surviving. So, in honor of my friends and all the other women who are battling this disease, remain vigilant in your habits. Perform those monthly self-exams (all year long, not just in October). Have your annual mammogram. Ask your doctor questions about anything you don’t understand or find suspicious. Don’t be afraid of the bad guys: be willing to face them head on. It’s probably your best defense and could quite possibly save your life.
Oh, and one last thing: if you need to unwind, call me and I’ll be happy to make you a squirrel margarita. Without tail only, though. The ones with tails require a professional bartender.