Dr. Suess, I came in because I … well, I found a lump on my breast.
A lump you found on your breast, oh my,
Um … yeah. I hope so too.
All we can do now is wish for the best.
Why are you talking like that?
I’m not quite sure as to what you refer.
The ryhming! Why are you rhyming everything? You’re freaking me out.
That was not my intention, I assure you of that.
Lovely? I’m telling you I might have cancer.
Life, I know, doesn’t always make sense,
I have … Blue Cross.
HMO or PPO is the answer I need,
I’m pretty sure it’s a PPO.
In that case I’ll ask for a smallish copayment.
Ploppapent? What the hell is that?
I beg your pardon?
Now you’re just making up words when you can’t find ones that rhyme.
Dear lady, I assure—
Look, forget it. What about the test?
Just take off your top and we’ll start the exam,
Green eggs? Like, moldy eggs??
Just take your friggin’ top off.
Stop looking at it.
Do not talk to your father about this.
Do NOT talk to your brother(s) about this.
Several thick layers of clothing at all times.
There is no such thing as gay people.
I don’t know.
I’m not going to talk about that.
Wait until you’re older.
What kind of a question is that?
Oh, that is disgusting.
Hello. Antonio Banderas here, with an important message about breast health.
One out of every eight American women will be struck by breast cancer. That makes me, Antonio Banderas, very sad. But there is something you can do to fight this insidious disease. I refer, of course, to breast self-examination. It is a simple procedure that every woman should know. If you do not, allow me to explain how it is done.
Breast self-examination can be done anywhere. But wherever you choose to do it—at home, at work, even in the shower while the hot, soapy water cascades down your taut, arched back—the important thing is to feel comfortable. In fact, why not put on some relaxing music? Perhaps some soothing Spanish guitar, like something I, Antonio Banderas, would have played in Desperado. Incidentally, where I am from, we just call it “guitar.”
Now that you are comfortable, we will begin.
Stand in front of a well-lit mirror and undress. Slowly, now—one button, two buttons, three buttons—yes, that is the way. The socks, too, so that you may enjoy the feel of the bearskin rug between your delicate toes. What is that? Oh, do not worry, for the rug is faux. I, Antonio Banderas, love all living things, especially the furry things. You may enjoy the faux with a clear conscience.
Now comes the examination itself, which is in three parts.
First is the visual inspection. Start with your arms at your sides, then raise them above your head, then lower them back down and place your hands on your hips. While you are doing this, observe your breasts closely—the pale skin, the gentle slopes, the nipples like ripe berries aching to be plucked. (Shall I, Antonio Banderas, pluck them now? No, now is not the time for berry plucking. But who knows what the future holds for us?) Look for anything out of the ordinary, such as changes in size, shape, color, or texture.
Next is the manual inspection, what you call “hands-on.” Raise your right arm and hold it over your head. Now, using the middle three fingers of your left hand, examine every inch of your right breast using small, circular motions. (Some women find this part of the examination uncomfortable. That is perfectly normal, especially if it is your first time. If you like, you may imagine that it is my fingers, still rough from many hours of sword training in preparation for The Legend of Zorro, that are so insistently probing your bosom. Does that not help? I, Antonio Banderas, knew that it would.) Feel for anything out of the ordinary, such as lumps, knots, or thickening of the tissue. When you are done, repeat the process with the other breast.
Now is the final step. Lie down somewhere comfortable and place a pillow or rolled-up towel beneath your neck. When you are ready, repeat the manual inspection. (Remember that it is my fingers, not yours, that are dancing across your naked breasts. And is that my hot breath on your neck, too? Alas, it is only the cat, Mr. Socks. But it could have been me, if not for the pungent odor of Fancy Feast. Let us speak no more of this.) As before, feel for anything out of the ordinary.
And just like that, it is done. That was not so bad, was it? Certainly not as bad as Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever. Seriously, what an unbelievable piece of mierda that was. Please accept my apologies for it.
If, after the examination, you have any concerns, bring them to the attention of your doctor without delay. Do not be alarmed if you find something—most lumps and other irregularities turn out to be false alarms—but it is better to be safe than sorry. And of course, safe is so very, very sexy.
Now you know how to do breast self-examination. And this simple procedure, together with clinical breast examinations for women over twenty and screening mammograms for women over fifty, can significantly improve your chances of detecting breast cancer early, when treatment is most likely to be successful. That makes me, Antonio Banderas, very happy.
And now, we make the love.
Aspects of Myself I am Not Going to Change in This Age of Excessive Plastic Surgery
|My second toe: It is longer than the rest and I’ve heard this indicates some sort of genetic superiority.
|My shoulders: Because while they are strangely shaped and tend to curl forward unless I sit up straight, my current surgeon claims that any procedures he might use in an attempt to correct this gross abnormality could result in losing the use of my arms. This is a risk I am willing to take, but for some reason he is paranoid about lawsuits.|
|My breasts: Because I have already had them enlarged. Six times.|
|My forearms: I mean, they do look freakish but I tend to wear long sleeves due to my weird shoulders and the botched job my surgeon, three surgeons ago, did on my wrists. My lawyer tells me that I’m not at liberty to discuss the specifics of this case while the verdict is still pending.|
|My scalp: There is a two by two inch section of my scalp that is absolutely perfect; I am not kidding, everybody remarks on how the curvature is just right and how the hair growth is very regular. I have had reconstruction and hair implants on the surrounding sections of my scalp but I can honestly say that I am really comfortable with this part. The only annoying thing is figuring out what angle to hold the mirror so I can admire it.|
|My left lung: I was born with a right lung shaped kind of like a sombrero, which wasn’t all that obvious to anyone but the MRI technician. But once I discovered this, I couldn’t go out in public. You know how it is—everyone’s his or her own biggest critic. Fortunately, the transplant was extremely successful. The left lung is shaped vaguely like a cactus, but my best friends have sworn to me, even after I’ve plied them with margaritas, that they cannot tell.|
|My moustache: Absolutely off limits. I inherited this fuzzy little face pet from my grandmother and you couldn’t pay me money to kill … On second thought, I could use more donations for my kneecap reduction fund. They can apparently shave them down to the size of dimes!|
|My self-esteem: I love myself and I think everyone should accept themselves exactly the way they are, plus or minus a few ribs (emphasis on the minus.) I see myself as a role model and an inspiration for everyone, especially young girls.|
Thank You for Being So Understanding about That Partial Prefrontal Lobotomy
Dear Mr. Trumbull,
I write this letter on behalf of Doctors Epstein, Wilcox, and Goldfarb, who performed your operation; the radiology and anesthesia departments; our wonderful nursing staff who diligently tended to your convalescent needs; our legal advisers; as well as the entire Board of Directors here at St. Fyodor’s Hospital. We all extend a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for being so understanding about the partial prefrontal lobotomy that was accidentally performed upon you last month. Although this was all covered in the hearing, I’d like to once again stress that, while doctors are notorious for their sloppy penmanship, chalking up a botched operation to mere “illegibility” is no excuse. Our secretarial staff has been fired, and you might rest easier tonight knowing that because of you, no patient checking into our hospital for a routine appendectomy will ever undergo needless and risky brain surgery again.
Also, we appreciate how much more difficult this situation is for you to even understand, as you are now missing a sizable chunk of your frontal lobe, greatly inhibiting your memory, speech, and attention span, your fine motor skills and problem-solving abilities, as well as a variety of “higher cognitive functions” including behavior and emotions. Indeed, your signature, while only an inkblot, speaks volumes beyond the mere formality of a simple malpractice waiver. Even if we had to place the pen in your hand and your hand on the paper, that shaky, blotchy signature, steadfastly supported by your unflinching stoicism, is a testament to the human will. Consider it a Rorschach of your soul.
Lastly, we understand you are still in dire need of that appendectomy, (which was unnecessarily performed on another of our patients due brain surgery). I hope you’ll consider St. Fyodor’s for this procedure. We’d like to put the past behind us, and, as a gesture of goodwill, we’ll perform the appendectomy at a reduced rate. You may take comfort in knowing that, according to our legal advisers, the chances of us making another mistake on the same patient are astronomically in your favor. Thank you, once again, Mr. Trumbull, and we wish you a quick and speedy recovery.
Chapter Titles from Living with Your Colitis and Hemorrhoids (and Related Disorders) by Theodore Berkland, A.M., Leslie Sandlow, M.D., and Richard Shaprio, M.D.
[Discovered for Sale at a Thrift Shop in St. Louis, Missouri, and Deemed Too Priceless a Treasure to Pass Up]
1. Brenda’s Colitis
Other Titles Written by Theodore Berland, A.M.
Noise—The Third Pollution
Surgeon General’s Warnings