Warning: Contains a story about serious pain (and boobs). If you get squeamish when reading about pain (or boobs), this is not recommended.
When you’re 18, and you’ve ignored a giant growth in your boob for a few years longer than you probably should have (especially when the cancer runs in your family), you think it’s probably a good idea to ignore it for a few more years.
At this point, I’m going to go ahead and remind you to (and I quote), “DON’T DO WHAT I DO!”
At the age of 21, I finally went to the doctor about a lump…it was big and it hurt. Dr. Google wasn’t really Dr. Google back then, but I was pretty sure I didn’t have cancer. I sat in the doctor’s office and she recommended that I get an ultrasound. The ultrasound, in which I laid on a table with my tit out in the open for yet another stranger to see, showed a gigantic tumor that was probably benign, but they didn’t know for sure. It was then I was told to visit a surgeon who handled that sort of thing. If it was painful, and oh my God it was, we were better safe than sorry in removing it.
So I made my way to the surgeon for a consult. My mom was in the room with me, and the surgeon asked all sorts of questions. There’s something uniquely awkward about sitting topless on a cold metal table in an exam room with your mom, a probing doctor and perky nipples, but there we all were. The surgeon explained that he was going to do a biopsy (I wasn’t sure what that meant), but he was going to numb it with an anesthetic first and OH MY GOD HE JUST WENT IN FOR THE FUCKING KILL.
I screamed bloody murder with pain as this alleged medical professional stuck me right under my nipple with a needle the size of a ruler and NO warning whatsoever. As tears ran down my cheeks, my mom looked on a little horrified at my reaction more than the doctor’s action. I wanted to yell at him. I wanted to punch him. I wanted him to stop whatever he was doing and die seventeen painful deaths.
I hated him.
Apparently, (and this is according to my mother, because I completely blocked out the rest of this memory), like 5 more needles made their way into that wickedly painful-without-needles mass under my left nipple.
I left the consult with plans for surgery. And no idea what to expect.
When I had my surgery, Mom came with me (my boyfriend at the time wasn’t really the most supportive boyfriend) and waited the whole time. I remember getting prepped for surgery and being rolled into the OR. One of the 15 medical professionals in the room told me that they were going to give me an anesthetic that was going to knock me out. Of course, I couldn’t resist asking them what would happen if I woke up mid-surgery? Or what if it didn’t put me out? And could I keep the tumor? They assured me it would be fine and the mass was not for keeping, so I cracked one last one-liner before they put the gas mask over my face and knocked me out for however many hours.
When I woke up, I was in a hallway. There were people all around me; I was shaking, freezing, and…I couldn’t move my body. My eyes popped open, terrified. I kept shaking, but I couldn’t move my arms. Or my legs. Or my head. Or (ohmygodpleaseletitnotbeso) my MOUTH. I couldn’t speak. I could hear everyone around me, talking, ignoring me. FINALLY, they noticed the shaking, panic-eyed girl on a gurney. “She must be cold.” Duh. So, they put this magic plastic blanket over me that had a large tube pumping hot air through it. I wanted to live under that blanket forever. I was almost okay with not being able to talk. Or move. Because that blanket was the heaven that I was waiting for after my body
died stopped working.
Eventually, I regained the ability to speak (obviously). And to move (maybe not quite so obviously…or gracefully). And I vowed never to go through THAT again.
Once I got home, took a looooong nap, and was finally ready to rejoin the living, breathing, working world, I took a peek at my recently-sliced knockers.
What. The. Ever-living. Fuck?
There were serious stitches. And. What the hell happened to my left tit?
Apparently, the large jalapeno-sized tumor that was removed from my boob had left a ridiculous gaping hole in the middle of my breast tissue, thus inverting my nipple in the craziest way.
After I came to terms with my newly shaped booby, I decided that it was my job to share it with the world. Or at least my best girlfriends. I was a junior in college, living with 3 other girls in an apartment…I showed them and any other lady friends that were around. I’d get drunk and say, “Dude! Wanna see my concave nipple?!” And of course, the oddity that was my boob was kind of a party trick for several months. (My boyfriend at the time would not have been pleased if I was showing my boobs to dudes, so it was just lady friends). After almost a year, I figured it would never be a normal boob again.
Low and behold, over time, my boob went back to normal and I wished I had taken pictures of the concave/inverted nipple that amused the shit out of me for so very long. And I was okay with that.
What I learned from this experience: Go to the doctor even if you’re scared. You may find out that you’re allergic to vicodin, and that you hate anesthesia, and that the surgery changed your body for a freak-show party trick…but the initial problem will be gone. And you’ll live to show off your party trick.