From afraid to empowered: The power of breast self-exams

A few weeks ago, I found myself in a thin hospital gown, staring at the speckled ceiling tiles as I waited for my ultrasound technician. The last time I’d done something like this was finding out the sex of my baby, who turned into Kiwi. This time, I was making sure a lump in my right breast, which I found during one of my sort-of regular breast self-exams, wasn’t going to kill me.

I hadn’t been that worried. In fact, I mentioned the lump to a breast health specialist in an offhand way when we were talking about my genetic risk factors for the Big C, since my mom had a very aggressive form of breast cancer at 39. The specialist referred me to an ultrasound tech, “just to be on the safe side.“

So I wasn’t sweating my appointment—until I was half naked, waiting, with nothing to distract me from my spiraling thoughts but the pocked patterns in the ceiling.

Spoiler alert: I’m totally fine. Turns out my boob is “cyst-y,” as the radiologist came in to tell me. (Pretty sure that’s a medical term she learned in very expensive medical school.) So in addition to having post-breastfeeding sad sag, my breast is also lumpy.

Killing it.

But! The cysts are totally benign. And lumpy is much better than deadly.

Doing breast self-exams is one thing every woman can do to protect her health and catch cancer early. Here's how I overcame fear and regained power over my health. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more