Hooray For Boobies!

When I was a kid, I wanted boobs. Every night after I turned out the light, I quietly did “exercises” reciting the old saying:

“I must, I must, I must increase my bust.

The bigger, the better, the tighter the sweater.” 

Understand this: I was always the shortest girl in my grade. I was into ballet. I was flat as a board. President of the Itty-Bitty-Titty Committee. Despite the fact that every other female in my family was well endowed, I didn’t get the big boob gene. Even when I was overweight in my teens, I never hit a bra size over 36B. My friends used to complain about the backaches and hassles (and harassment) of having large ta-tas, and I know a few women who have had breast reductions. I was secretly jealous back then, but came to accept that I’d never be a SI model and just made do with what I got.

Until I got a lump.

In my mid-thirties, one night after I turned out the light (I no longer did “exercises”), I turned over to settle in and brushed up fingers up against my left side. Lump. A tiny one. Itty-bitty. Perhaps if I was a little more boobified, I wouldn’t have felt it later until it had grown, but because I didn’t really have much there, it was easy to feel.

The first doctor I saw told me that it was nothing to be concerned about, but just have someone stateside have a look if it grew. I was living in Europe, heading back to the U.S. and was relieved at the time to just not deal with anything else major going on in my tumultuous life. Yeah. Phew.

We all hear the statistics about one in nine women and breast cancer. The lump grew over the next few months and with it, my concern that maybe this wasn’t normal. So, I took my boobs over to have a mammogram and all hell broke loose. The mammogram tech freaked out quietly and then sent me to have an ultrasound. The ultrasound tech didn’t say a word as she slid the instrument through a thick layer of prewarmed (How nice of them!) goop, then quickly left the room. Enter the radiologist, who brusquely announced I had breast cancer and scheduled a core needle biopsy to “determine the course of treatment”, then sailed out of the room, probably to go kick some puppies or take candy away from a baby.

I don’t remember driving home that day. Or what I said to my family. I do remember buying books and doing a lot of research and wondering if I’d finally get to choose the perfect set of boobs with reconstructive surgery if I had to have a mastectomy.

Core needle biospies are uncomfortable if you metabolize lidocaine quickly. (Guess who does? This girl.) They kept injecting it and I kept on feeling every snip they took with the “needle gun”. A bag of frozen peas helped with the physical pain and the phone call later that day helped with the mental pain. No cancer. Diabetic fibrous mastopathy.

Let’s start by saying that this is no “one in nine women” for the general population, but for Type 1 diabetics, according to this informative Medscape article, it can supposedly  be found in up to 13% of us (But if you do the math, it’s about one in eleven, so we’re not far off.). If you’re a female diabetic who’s been kicking it with insulin for more than five years, lumpy boobs may be in your future and those lumps look like cancer on a mammogram. Only core needle biopsies can confirm otherwise.

So, what’s to be done? Excision of the lump doesn’t prevent other lumps from appearing and can end up making one’s boobs divoted. (Think stamping divots on a polo field or replacing a divot on a golf course. Neither are appealing to me.) More lumps can show up. About a year after the first lump appeared, a second one arrived in my right breast. Yippee! A lump fiesta!

Why do I think I have this complication? I’m more and more convinced that my inflammatory response with an autoimmune disease like Type 1 diabetes is in overdrive. All of my complications (save one) have to due with inflammation reactions.

Mammograms now happen on a regular basis. Thankfully, only the two lumps have taken up residence in my knockers, which is good because there wasn’t much much toom to begin with. When I became pregnant and was supplying milk for my little lactovore, I got the boobs I wanted. (Truth, men? I really don’t see what the fuss is about. To each his own, I guess.) I could barely feel the lumps, but now the boobs are back to my regular size (Sob.) and the lumps are back to being…lumpy.

Boobies aren’t talked about enough in the DOC. (Guys, stop laughing. This CAN happen to you. Men can also get diabetic fibrous mastopathy.) When I researched the diagnosis way back when, the Internet search spit out less than 20 results. Not a single one from a diabetic’s point of view. I could look at radiological slides and read scholarly articles. I wanted to know that I wasn’t the only one out there with lumpy boobs. Thanks to the DOC, I know I’m not. I think we need to do a better job, however, of sharing information about this little known complication, not just within the DOC, but also docs and nurses. (Yes. I’ve had to explain and give  links to my medical teams to look at. I believe a well-informed patient can be part of the education process in the medical profession.)

These days, I still want boobs, but I’m not looking for them to be big. Just ones without lumps.

P.S.  The title of this article is taken from the title of an album by Bloodhound Gang. Funny as all get out, but highly inappropriate to listen around small children and uptight individuals.

P.P.S. When I was deciding on the name of this blog and getting the URL, I thought ThePerfectD.com was just…perfect. As it turns out, if you don’t use the word “The” in the URL, it does talk about boobies. A lot. And not about, like, diabetic fibrous mastopathy. Yikes!

  1. This is a subject that has been on my mind since my sisters diagnosis and I am actually in the middle of a post about *ahem* boobies that I will be posting today.

    The add on’s that come with diabetes are total BS. As if the disease itself is not enough but what I have found is knowing what is going on is the key to surviving it. We are in the doctors often so we should make sure we are getting all checked out, even my moobs.


    1. You have a post coming out TODAY about boobs? Great minds think alike. 😉 Looking forward to reading it from a man’s perspective.

      1. The post is about a fundraiser we went to last night for Breast Cancer research. So sort of a booby post. 😉

  2. I should go back and count the number of synonyms you used for the word BOOB. AWESOME!
    and I had a breast reduction at 19. You don’t want boobs. Trust me.
    I can’t thank you enough for writing this though, THESE are the kinds of things we don’t know enough about!!

  3. I first learned of diabetic fibrous mastopathy from a post by Lee Ann Thill ( http://www.thebuttercompartment.com/?p=6766 ). Simply put, I was shocked this even existed. After living w/ T1D for 33 years, I had no idea this was a possible complication but wondered if this is what I too had when I was rushed to a mammogram and sonogram last year for a series of small lumps.
    I couldn’t agree more about the need to spread the word, as I wish I’d had this info and asked more questions D related at these appointments.
    Thanks for spreading the world! xo

    1. Lee Ann’s article was great and it was the first one I’d seen from a patient’s perspective besides my own on dLife.com (http://www.dlife.com/diabetes/complications/christel_042707). The diabetes component when it comes to these outlier complications seems to be ignored by PCPs and non-diabetes medical staff.

  4. This came at a perfect time. I don’t want to go into detail on the internet, but just know that this post is saving my sanity today, at 25 years old. Thank you so, so much for sharing your story. <3

  5. About halfway through your article, I was completely shocked. I can’t believe that there is is a 13% incidence of this complication but I’ve never even heard of it!
    Thank you for sharing!

  6. […] wear the Leg Thing when the dresses I put on have no place to discretely tuck my pump into a bra. (As if I need a bra anyway.) With the clip attaching to my underwear and the Leg Thing stretched around my thigh, the pump is […]

  7. […] winding up at T1D Kid blogs: Sweet Girls (porn-free name: Candy Hearts Blog)/ The Perfect D’s Boobies […]

  8. […] when I wore dresses and skirts. My bra was a popular hangout (pun intended, but as you know, it was a pretty empty place) and I used a Thigh Thing on special […]

  9. First of all I would like to say fantastic blog! I had a quick
    question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you
    center yourself and clear your head prior to writing. I have had a tough time clearing
    my mind in getting my thoughts out there. I do take pleasure in writing
    but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost simply just trying to
    figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?
    Thank you!

    1. Thanks for the compliment. The only thing that I can say in regards to where to begin when writing is this: just start. Write a sentence, even if you kill it later. Just start writing, throwing down all those thoughts that are stuck in your head. Those thoughts may become more than one blog post. Write for yourself.

  10. […] lumpy. Big lumpy. Diabetic Fibrous Mastopathy lumpy. Having had some experience in that department, I’m frustrated at what I am figuring will come down the pike. (Mammography, ultrasound, […]

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