“Lumpectomy? Mastectomy? Or double mastectomy?” Baffled, I couldn’t believe this type of decision was on my shoulders. A cancer diagnosis is head-spinning on its own, but often treatment decisions are turned into the patient’s responsibility. Like a cruel game of “would-you-rather,” each answer had life long, or life short, implications. I gathered information. I talked to everyone I knew. I searched online, scanning for my perfect answer. Then, I retreated to my room, where lying on the floor with my arms crossed over my forehead, I escaped from the data overload. As I quieted my mind and slowed my breathing, I heard a comforting, reassuring voice:
My boobies had spoken. A calm, peaceful knowing surrounded me and I knew it was going to be okay. I smiled. Not only did I have my answer, but she was right. We had had many good times.
I didn’t include this moment in Little Changes because it seemed pretty dang weird to say aloud. (I am sure I will have a couple people unsubscribe this evening.) Who is going to listen to a woman who claims her boobs talk to her? She’s clearly had one-too-many organic smoothies. Our boobs are always telling us things non-verbally. That it’s cold outside and we need a thicker sweater. That it’s time for the baby to nurse or risk a wet shirt. But wouldn’t it be nice to have verbal mammary guidance? A breast-GPS? Milk ducts who give us a heads up on a mastitis infection long before the fever arrives? Racks that would warn us of the not-good-enough college hottie and his cheap intentions? All-knowing knockers who hand out expert bra-shopping advice?
For the most part, our breasts don’t have a voice. But they DO have Florence Williams. What boobs from all around the country would want us to know—would plead for us to understand—is contained in her masterfully written book BREASTS.
And the Lorax spoke for the trees…
Then Florence Williams speaks for our boobies.
Yes, with its title proudly displayed across the front, I admit I had urge to hide the cover behind this month’s Outside Magazine as if I was reading the latest Fifty Shades edition. Other times, in a house filled with teens, I blatantly left it in on the counter, as if to say, “Yep. Boobs. We have ‘em. That’s life. Now take care of em.” Most of the time, I was mesmerized with BREASTS. Initially deeply jealous of her work (a book I would have loved to have written), I am sincerely grateful that it exists.
BREASTS is a journey that looks upon our complex tissues through the eyes of anthropologists, babies, American pop culture, environmental health scientists, and of course, through the eyes of men (but not quite like you would expect). Sprinkled with innuendos and frosted with personal experiences, what is usually heavy science unfolds with an Everyday-Me voice, as if your big sister sat down to tell you the real facts of life. To see what I mean, watch the BREASTS book trailer here.
Florence and I lunched together a couple of weeks ago. It was a brilliant New England fall day and we dined outside in Harvard Square. Moments are few and far apart that I have someone to talk deeply with about one of my favorite twisted subjects, endocrine disrupters, and what we, as women, can do in the world. Of course our conversation topics strayed to include kids (and computer time), her thoughts on Little Changes, and the idea of presenting tandem one day in the future. She is my new breast friend. (Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.)
This is the first of three Be Choosy Newsletter’s, where I share books I want you to devour. I do believe anyone who is a descendant of a mammal needs to read this book.However, if I had to recommend this book for your holiday gift-giving list, I would suggest:
- Your sister. (Paired with an autographed copy of Little Changes)
- A college-aged niece.
- A friend planning to start a family.
- Any mom of a daughter.
- A BFF whose mom/sister/aunt dealt with breast cancer.
It’s a fast, engaging read, and you’ll walk away standing a little taller—not only for the knowledge you’ve gained, but with a deep appreciation for your “girls.” You’ll want to get to know them better, make friends with them, take them to lunch. You’ll want other people to know about their boobs too. Befriend. Educate. Pass it on.
Enjoy the Journey,
P.S On a different note, until October 17th you can view Genetic Roullette for FREE. I HIGHLY recommend taking a peek at this movie and what is being served up in food. This is too important to miss. Seriously. Really really really want you to see this 85 minute documentary……