On Wednesday of last week, I had my annual physical. During the exam, the doctor found a breast lump. This morning, I had a mammogram and an ultrasound. This afternoon, I was thinking about this experience, thinking of different thoughts that might be interesting to share in a blog post. Then it struck me.
My mom and father-in-law follow my blog…
What am I willing to share with them?
But isn’t my blog supposed to be about me, and my own unique, somewhat inappropriate style? Doesn’t inappropriate mean that I wouldn’t necessarily be comfortable sharing that with my mom and father-in-law?
Heck, I am a romance author! That intrinsically means that some of my subject matter falls in the category of uncomfortable to share with parents or in-laws.
As I said above, the lump was found on Wednesday, with more tests on Monday. That gave 5 whole days for thoughts on the subject to randomly pop up.
One set of reoccurring thoughts featured my brother. He is an amazing human being. At the age of 18, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He had one testicle removed, and went through 2 rounds of chemotherapy. So, as a senior in high school, he was chemo bald for senior prom. He even had to get special dispensation to graduate with his class because the time off from school required for chemotherapy triggered the automatic fail-the-year limit for the school district.
He embraced his status. The balls jokes were flying, from him, from his friends, from his brothers. He even waxed his head so it would be all shiny for his on-stage theatrical saxophone solo. Bald headed and chemo beaten as he was, he still excelled at his duties as a class officer. He ensured prom and other special senior year events were a success. I don’t think I was the only person with a tear in their eye at graduation when he stood at the podium, delivering his valedictorian speech.
He was cancer clean for almost ten years before the beast reared its ugly head again. This past fall, he was re-diagnosed with testicular cancer, and had the other testicle removed. He is still a great sport about it. His first Facebook update after surgery was that he “really needed to grow a pair.” He turned down implanted prosthetics because he enjoys the freedom while biking. He laughs when we say he is now a full eunuch instead of a half-eunuch.
My brother is, and always has been, unabashedly himself, whatever that means at the moment.
So, how does this relate to me and this post?
It relates in two primary ways:
1) With my brother as my model, what did I have to fear from a possible lump in my breast?
2) Be shamelessly myself, regardless of my audience.
This morning, the mammogram and ultrasound came out clean. I now have an excellent baseline set of medical records. That might be useful. You see, I just happen to have, as the medical professionals told me, “lumpy breasts.”
I am me. I see the world in my own little twisted way, and I call it how I see it. I know that. My hope is that through this blog and my writing, others might find my perspective mildly entertaining. But my view can entertain no one if I censor myself because I am afraid of sharing who I really am with my parents and in-laws.
So, I will be me. Lumpy breasts and all.
Do you have a story of being yourself in the face of censorship (self or external)? Share in the comments below.
Kate Meadows says
What a scary time for you, and I can only imagine the relief that followed. How many others have walked down that road, both with happy results and not-so-happy results? I think these “tricky” and “personal” things we don’t talk about enough as a society. So often we want to paint that dazzling, glowing portrait, to assert ourselves as people who are living life to its fullest and loving it. Nothing wrong with that – but what gets lost are crucial pieces of larger conversations aching to be had below the surface. You mention the term “lumpy breasts,” and how many people are instantly going to read what you have to say, because they have experience with that? People need ways to relate to each other, to know they’re not alone in their struggles. Hooray for you for being brave enough to get a little personal here. I am so happy for your news in the end – and also touched that you chose to “go there” on your blog.
Astrid Bryce says
I completely agree with you, which is why I wanted to write a blog post about it. I had no problems “going there” and being personal on my blog. However, I was not comfortable sharing with my mom and father-in-law. I don’t care if random strangers know, I just didn’t want people who personally know me to know. Yes, I know that is weird, but it is how I work. And, true to form, my mom called today to check in on me. She had felt bad about not being in touch with me this weekend. I reminded her that the point of the post was that I was not planning on telling her. She worries too much (the job of a mom). My overall conclusion was that I had to be brave, like my brother, and share who I really am with everyone, even my mum.