I use my hands in the shower this morning.

Check again in the mirror as I put on some lotion to ward off winter’s awful dry skin.

I feel nothing.

Then again, my primary care doc didn’t either, during my physical two weeks ago.

Still, the call came yesterday morning.  Could I come in for a repeat mammogram of my left breast?  There was an anomalous finding.  The radiologist will be there, there may be an ultrasound, too, please plan on an hour.  Yes, they have the past two sets of screening films, the ones I had at thirty and thirty five (this is why I had screening baselines, I tell myself, this is why I had baselines, this is why, this is why, it’s called early detection, just breathe.)

It was twenty-one years ago, now, that my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was in high school.  They didn’t find it until it was later stage three, up against the chest wall.  It wasn’t overtly palpable– it only showed up on mammogram later, earlier screening ones failing to detect what weren’t even shadows because they couldn’t fit that part of the chest wall into the frame– because her (my, our) breasts were so small.

I look in the mirror this morning at breasts that barely fill out an A cup, so small now with all of this weight loss, not that they were any great shakes to begin with.

I palpate.


It’s probably nothing, say several girlfriends with similar histories who are old hands at having second films done and are so far cancer-free.

It’s a good thing for them to just check.

I know this.

I’m more than thankful for all the friends and my father who offered to go with me and sit in the waiting room while I put on that ugly johnny that never fits right and is always made for a much larger woman and gaps wide open no matter how tight I tie it shut, though I shouldn’t complain because there are many who have the opposite problem.

Nevertheless.  I won’t call my mother to tell her anything until I know more.

And just because I can’t feel anything doesn’t mean I don’t feel anything.


4 thoughts on “Palpabability

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