The Mammogram – Better Than Having A Finger Stuck Up Your Arse

Thank God they take your ‘health’ more seriously once you reach the big 5.0. Which appeases my increasing levels of hypochondria.

Embed from Getty Images

The request for a poo specimen from the government that arrived on my birthday, however, took me by surprise.

My doctor recommended that I get all my checks done at the same time, around my fiftieth birthday, so that it’s easier to remember each year. Meaning, he knows I’m a prime candidate for dementia, and so recognises my need for getting strategies in place.

My list of health checks is pretty much the same for all middle-aged women and comprises of a mammogram every two years, the same for a pap test, a yearly cholesterol test and a poo sample test whenever I can face acknowledging/looking at/touching my poo.

Today was mammogram day.

Anyone who has experienced the torture of the mammogram knows that it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Exposing your tired, sagging, middle-aged breasts to some young, pert radiographer takes courage, no matter how professional and upbeat they try to be. Forcing your breasts through what can only be compared to the type of vacuum press they use on Masterchef, is gruelling from a both a dignity and comfort perspective. Having your withered breasts tweaked and manhandled like a piece of tough meat on a butchers bench top so that they are the right shape and in the right place for the torture chamber is even more than awkward.

English: Naval Medical Clinic Pearl Harbor, Ha...
English: Naval Medical Clinic Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (Oct. 25, 2002) — Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Dana L. Ford, a mammogram technician, aids a patient in completing her annual mammogram evaluation. Breast cancer is the leading form of cancer found in women. Naval Medical Clinic Pearl Harbor conducts approximately 2,300 mammograms annually. U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Ann-Marie Al Noad. (RELEASED) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before I went in, it did cross my mind to put on some sparkly Miley nipple covers to lighten the mood.

But what choice do we really have? At least we don’t have to have a finger stuck up our arse.

The general medical consensus is that mammograms DO save lives, and once you reach 50, they are free – so there’s no excuse for not having them.

Apparently I have dense breasts. Which would have been nice in my youth when I vaguely cared about what they looked like, long before the ravages of breastfeeding and ageing.

But dense breasts are not such a bonus now, because the denseness of the tissue that once would have brought all the boys to my yard can camouflage sinister shenanigans like cancer, that may be going on behind the tissue.

For a visual analogy, my boobs look like half full tea-bags like most middle-aged breasts, but mine have not yet been dunked and strained.

Personally I found the freebie national breast screening to be a superior experience to the private one I had a couple of years back, where whipping your breasts out to several white-coated strangers was made to feel like some over-indulgent beauty consultation. I may have even been given tea and a biscuit. The national one was brief and to the point.

No gowns were offered and we had to wear one layer of clothing over our terrified, bra-less boobs that had a moment of gleeful, public free fall in the waiting room. It felt strangely comforting to be surrounded by several pairs of equally floppy, middle-aged boobs, each in the various stages of droop.

A bowl of half-knitted woolly hats sat on the coffee table with a request to knit them while waiting – for breast cancer sufferers. A pertinent reminder of why we were there. I tried to avoid eye contact with the knitters, such was my shame at not knowing one end of a knitting needle from another.

The point is, mammograms aren’t much fun but are a necessary evil. So you bite the bullet, flop your boobs out onto the machine proudly and in my case, think of England.

Midlife Rant: Over-Exposure And Self-Importance

Embed from Getty Images

So, two things that have got my already shrinking ovaries in a twist this week, other than the sub-zero temperatures of the winter that has hit Sydney this week: the first, the story of yet another self-important breastfeeding mum who insists it is her right to whip her boobs out and bare all in a public place; and the second is the metamorphosis of Caitlyn Jenner.

Firstly, you should know that I am an intolerant, judgmental bitch at times and that I understand that not everyone will agree with my opinions here. But this sort of media hogwash clogs up my FB page, often spoils my first coffee of the day, and prevents me from reading about real news, like the story about those idiots who got married on their first date.

So…breastfeeding in public.

Sorry, ladies, I hope you know that I will defend the rights of women to my dying breath, but this is one of those topics where the miserable old fucker in me gets on her soapbox. And yes, I do realise that I could justifiably be accused of hypocrisy since I used to expose my own pert breasts to anyone and everyone on the beach in my early twenties, and pretty soon I’ll probably have the nipple melanomas to prove it.

What can I say? Things/times change.

For the record, I’m one hundred percent behind any mother who breastfeeds their baby and I have absolutely no issue with them breastfeeding in public either. But, I also believe that there has to be some modesty and consideration for the opinions/beliefs of fellow customers, when it comes to breastfeeding in a public eating establishment. Not everyone feels comfortable when forced to watch an infant munch noisily on a milk-laden, straining boob while trying to eat their Egg Benedict, and making conversation with aged parents, teenage sons or awkward husbands (who may never have seen a boob bigger than a golf ball before).

And yes, you can argue that perhaps that awkwardness is their problem, but there I have to disagree.

Of course, there should be more feeding rooms to facilitate breastfeeding for new mums, just as I think a thin muslin to veil the rogue nipple is a compromise that demonstrates a respect for those not in the early throes of wonder at new life.

Breastfeeding is a beautiful, natural thing to do and I loved partaking of it when I had boobs my own babies, but it is not a sport to be Whoop! Whooped! publicly, and albeit not a sexual act, it still involves getting what some consider your private bits out in public; which is most other cases is against the law.

That is why we have to trust women to make their own judgment calls about what is considerate and appropriate behaviour towards others.

And, Caitlyn Jenner…

A TransGender-Symbol Plain1
A TransGender-Symbol Plain1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sorry, Caitlyn, but my discomfort at having to see your new self, wrapped only in a satin corset on the cover page of Vanity Fair, has less to do with your choice to over-expose the ‘new you’, than being completely fed up with having to look at members of your family on the cover of every fucking women’s magazine over the past five years.

And I still haven’t fathomed out how you all got there in the first place.

It is wonderful that you have now become a role model for transgender people and I’m all for evolution and change and anyone who makes the world more aware of the inner struggles of people, such as yourself, who have dealt with discrimination or the lonely life of ‘difference’ in society. But I hate the fact that while you have talked about your private struggles with your sexuality in the past, you have still taken something that was apparently so personally painful to you and in true-Kardashian style, turned it into a media circus that, frankly, paints an unrealistic outcome for the majority of transgenders.

You will argue that it is to help others, and I hope that your public story does help change the lives of others for the better, but the way you have handled your metamorphosis, complete with aforementioned Hollywood styling, still smacks of fame-whoring and self-importance to me.

I admit to having watched the odd episode of The Kardashians in the past – for research purposes, obviously – and out of all of your fame-hungry extended family, your personality always appealed to me the most. You came across as a likeable, quirky kind of guy, stoic even, and you seemed to share a genuinely closer connection with your daughters than your wife did.

Which is why it saddens me that you feel the need to sell out again, at the expense of what could have been a truly, new dawn for you, with some well-deserved privacy, a reality check and your children’s sensitivities at the top of your priorities.

I’m Confused By That Photo Of Kim Kardashian’s Arse


Embed from Getty Images

It’s lucky for you that I’m such an emotionally volatile person, (because Kurt has such a talent for keeping me in a semi-turbulent state that veers between anger and despair most of the day), otherwise, how else would you gain such inspiring insights into the often-crass world we live in?

This week I’m confused by that photo of Kim Kardashian‘s arse.

Kim Kardashian at the Seventh Annual Hollywood...
Kim Kardashian at the Seventh Annual Hollywood Life Magazine Awards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But I’m also torn about writing this post because I hate slamming women on the Internet, when there’s more than enough unnecessary vitriol floating around cyberspace without my penny’s worth.

Nevertheless, I’m still confused by the photo of Kim Kardashian’s arse.

And I’m equally confused by the photo of Keira Knightly’s breasts. You see, I’ve never understood why successful women feel the need to flaunt/sell their naked bodies to the world.

Kim Kardashian found fame via a sex tape and a reality tv show, so with a wealth of beauty and fashion contracts to promote, that image of her naked butt obviously did what it was intended to do – kept the public (those that aren’t already sick of seeing her on the cover of every magazine) aware of her VERY important presence in the universe and made her even more money. Obviously the Wests have fallen on hard times recently.

Those matching outfits for North can be super-expensive!

My question is, why these women need to do this? They don’t need the money and they can certainly gain attention in other ways. ‘New marriages’ have worked well for Kim in the past.

NC disagrees with me and says that women should be able to do what they want without being judged, because feminism is about being able to make choices.

Agreed…but….

Keira attends the premiere of Atonement
Keira attends the premiere of Atonement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They’ve justified the shots, of course. ‘Money’ is never mentioned, but ‘awareness’ issues are used and abused. Truth be told, I wasn’t fully AWARE of just how HUGE Kim’s arse was before that photo.

Apparently Keira was protesting against previous airbrushed shots of her boobs and wanted to demonstrate to her public what real breasts look like – those unaided by cosmetic sculpturing, Photoshop or any other sort of ‘lift lie’. She was trying to disprove society’s paradigm that women’s breasts need to be at least a C cup to be perfect. The problem is, Keira is a young, beautiful and successful woman, who has basically released just another topless photo to the Internet – to titillate and be salivated over.

I’m not so sure that the type of person who clicks on the ‘Keira’s sexy photo’ headline as it flashes onto their screen appreciates her stance on Photoshop. Furthermore, she has added fuel to the fire of women being represented in the media as nothing more than bodies. Her standpoint seems sadly lost on most of the lightweight online magazines I’ve seen.

The naked female body is beautiful, (and I don’t believe I’m a prude), but have Keira and Kim thought about what message their photos are sending out to young girls who are struggling through puberty; girls who worry about their bodies and are trying to fit into a world dictated by the seedy rules of social media – where sending a sexy snapchat or photo has become the new way to communicate with each other?

You can argue that it’s their choice. And I agree – if women choose to sell their bodies or photos for money, that’s their right. But Keira and Kim have a responsibility, too – as public role models. Neither of them needed to make that choice for financial reasons.

I AM AWARE that real breasts don’t sit naturally at right angles to the female body – as are most adult women and mature men. So how does a black and white, ‘contrived to look arty’, photo of Keira’s breasts help prevent the process of airbrushing exactly? Wouldn’t an intelligent article about ‘body issues’ and the ‘misrepresentation of women by the media’ have made more of an impact?

(Perhaps Keira could take a leaf out of Emma Watson’s book when it comes to addressing women’s issues).

But unfortunately an article like that wouldn’t receive the same level of interest or ‘views’ – the Internet is where people seek immediate gratification, and mere ‘suggestion’ is not enough.

They want boobs and butts.

That huge, oily arse, flashes up on my screen every time I click on a social media site at the moment, and it makes me very uncomfortable. I’m confused by the message Kim’s arse is trying to send me.

I Got Me A Free Boob Job

Of sorts.

 

I Got Me A Free Boob Job
Originally from Buzzfeed. Found on http://www.pinterest.com

 

It’s probably not what you’re thinking because I’m not brave enough to go down the surgery route and under the knife. And even if I was, there are SO many other areas that I’d re-sculpt before my boobs. Anyway, I’ve always thought that young, pert boobs on an old body look kind of odd.

 

But due to girly problems, and (I hasten to add) absolutely NOTHING to do with more sex or need for better contraception (ewww!), my doctor has put me on the Pill. It could only happen to me – at a time when every other woman I know is coming off the Pill due to concerns about the invasiveness of pumping more hormones into the menopausal body, I find myself back on it.

 

For those of you women like me, who first took the Pill back in your twenties, do you remember that massive surge in breast development that accompanied the influx of oestrogen? Back then the Pill took me from a bee-sting AA to an acceptable B cup, and for many small-busted women, it wasn’t only a convenient form of contraception, but the answer to our boob prayers too. 

 

But for those of us approaching 50, and let’s say, not quite so concerned about how our bodies project to the outside world these days, (and certainly not in need of daily contraception), a sudden growth and density spurt of breast tissue can be somewhat disconcerting and embarassing.

 

I’d got quite used to my innocuous, post-breastfeeding sacs. They were easy, honest boobs that had done their job and I had let them retire gracefully. Not too big to get in the way, small enough when aided by the wonders of modern bra technology to be sculpted into any damn shape and size I needed them to be.

 

But now my boobs are pert again; full of zest and life and some might even say that they look inviting – which frankly, is just about the last thing I need them to be.

 

I’d never really thought a lot about my boobs until this recent shake-up, when they suddenly developed a life of their own and lifted and filled, like those of some pubescent teenager. But now I have to.

 

Because my bras are all suddenly very tight and my boobs spill over the top of them. My tops and dresses have started to pull and crease in all the wrong places and my new boobs throw me off balance when I exercise and jiggle uncharacteristically when I move too quickly – I suddenly understand what ‘busty girl problems’ on Pinterest are all about.

 

It’s confusing, because I’d come to accept this next phase of my body now. I’d come through the grieving period for my old body and redefined mentally who I am. I was excited about being defined by what goes on inside my head, finally, rather than by what’s attached to the front of my chest.

 

So where do these new boobs leave me now?

 

 

Pulling Off The Beach-Babe Look In Middle Age

Pulling Off The Beach Babe Look  In Middle Age
Photos sourced from Pinterest.com.au

Very few of us can pull off even a full-piece like Pamela Anderson.

 

And ladies, unfortunately, it’s getting closer to that time of year.

 

As the temperatures finally begins to rise and the Uggs and winter coats are discarded, (along with those binge-eating excuses of ‘because it’s cold’), it’s almost time to wear swimmers in public again.

 

Which involves planning. There’s hair to remove, fake tan to apply, muffin tops to tame and sagging breasts to lift.

 

I’ve been getting prepared, surreptitiously, for a while now. The congealed bottle of fake tan came out of the cupboard a few weeks ago, and I have the tell-tale brown smears all over the back of my hands and on my ankles to prove it. I’ve been down to the gym at least once this month and actually reached level 2 on the cross trainer – which is easy as, if I can pause to catch my breath each minute. I’ve even sat in the bath and contemplated the future for my winter bush; then decided it was way too much effort and decided I can rock the burkini instead this year.

 

I went through the annual public degradation of shopping for ‘swimmers’ last Sunday. I’m not sure what I was setting out to achieve other than an even lower self-esteem about my body. It was probably that cheeky glass of wine at lunchtime that gave me the Dutch courage to try and squeeze my lard into numerous itsy-bitsy swim suits that were obviously all designed for Barbie Dolls, and that I never had a chance in hell of fitting into.

Pulling Off The Beach Babe Look  In Middle Age
Does my bush look big in this?

 

Or it might have been because in ten days time I will be exposing my white whale of a middle-aged body to the beach in Hamilton Island, and if I don’t find something new, very soon, I’ll be stunning the beach with my old Speedo cossie, that bags around my flat ass and whose white detailing is now a fugly shade of yellow.

 

I’ve never been able to pull off the beach-babe look. It’s hard to find a cossie that you look good sunbathing in, as well as being able to do lengths in too. And as you know, I’m a VERY serious athlete. I do own one semi-flattering full-piece that makes my boobs look fabulous when I’m posing on the sand, but the minute it gets wet, the lycra becomes super-baggy and my breasts start to drag along the pool floor.

 

Sizing is complicated when it comes to swimmers, and that puts me in a bad mood from the start. Where I can usually squeeze myself into a generous size 12 in other clothes, I’m always a size 14 in swimmers.

 

And don’t get me started on the boob issues. It’s difficult to squeeze anything over an A cup into flattering swimmers and the full-pieces that are designed for middle-aged women, with great big pudding bowls for your boobs, make me feel like I’m trussed up like a turkey.

 

Then there’s where the costume finishes around your bush. I refuse to get a Brazilian but 90% of costumes make it compulsory unless you’re happy to sport the Eastern European look. And Kurt would probably have something to say about that….VERY LOUDLY…on the beach.

 

If you’ve got a spare $200 + to splash out on a Miracle suit or something similar, that sucks winter’s cake and wine in so you can’t breathe, you’re laughing, but I can’t justify spending such a ridiculous amount of money on a piece of fabric that’s no bigger than a cushion cover. Frankly, I’d prefer to invest in a new cushion cover.

 

So I suppose, it’s back to the wide-brimmed hat and sequinned kaftan again this year.

 

How do you pull off the beach babe look?

Mammograms and Pap Tests: The Highs Of Being A Middle-Aged Woman

I’m going for a Mammogram next week. I thought I’d treat myself.

Mammograms and Pap TestsDon’t misunderstand me, I know they’re important. Why else would I choose to go?

It’s just another one of those truly fun activities we women are subjected to in middle-age. Mammograms sit slightly above the pap test and just below the menopausal flush on the scale of public female humiliations.

I’ve never been particularly comfortable about flopping out my boobs to any Tom, Dick or Harry. When I was younger I worried that they were too inadequate to display publicly; now I am older, they are just too embarrassingly low-slung.

It defies belief now, but in my younger days I actually went through a phase of blatantly unleashing my (then) buoyant breasts on the beaches in France. They have since become awkwardly shy of publicity – age and responsibility have weighed them down.

These days I just want to hide and protect them from the world, rather like aged parents, lest they are looked on in pity.

Even though the feminist in me says that I should be proud of this part of my body that has nourished my children (no matter how they look aesthetically), the narcissist in me still envies pert breasts and would like to buy shares in Wonderbra.

It takes getting used to, this whole aging thing. There are constant reminders when you become ‘a certain age’, no matter how many products and fancy clothes you buy to disguise the ageing process.

That’s not to disparage these tests, of course – Mammograms and pap smears are vitally important in terms of early detection of women’s cancers – but it might actually be possible that mammograms are even more awkward than pap smears.

Why do we women have to endure these mortifyingly invasive procedures at a time when we no longer want to open our legs or get our tits out?

Couldn’t there be a simple blood or urine test, say?

Frankly, I would prefer to stick needles in my eyes than have to lift one lifeless breast after the other onto that cold plate and watch it get ironed to the density of a pancake.

But then again, what’s the choice?

Pap smears are just as bad now that my lady bits are no longer the shape God originally gave me – the results of being resculpted by childbirth.

The mere mention of the word ‘speculum’ brings me out in a rash. And it’s never warm, no matter what they promise.

But at least I have a meditative formula for coping with pap smears now – I lie back, think of England and simply pretend it’s not happening. Actually, after twenty years of marriage that formula could come in quite handy at other times too now….

One gyny threw me off guard once though, by making me face the wall while he took me from behind….which was awkward, to say the least.

How could you ever become blasé about a complete stranger, (albeit professional), saying to you, ‘now part your legs, please’, when you’re not aroused?

And you have to trim the garden in preparation.

I once went to a gynaecologist who had pretty pictures on the wall to take his patients minds off having a large cold metal instrument thrust up their vajayjays without any foreplay.

I reckon Theon had it easy in Game of Thrones in terms of medieval torture.

But retribution could be at hand, due to the increasing prevalence of testicular cancer. Maybe us women could help our fellow man out and design some form of early detection  apparatus for them too – for purely medical reasons obviously – so we can catch the disease earlier and save more lives.

I’m thinking something along the lines of a nut cracker style device……