Thursday, July 9, 2009

Why My Boobs Must Go

My husband and I are crazy cat people. We have developed special cat voices we use to narrate the innermost thoughts of our four felines and have constructed for them complicated personalities (Annie likes bubblegum pop and wants us to drop her off around the corner from the mall) and life stories (Malcolm is a laid-off steelworker from Gary, Indiana/escaped black bear from a traveling Russian circus). Our persons and possessions are forever layered in cat hair; we would need to sweep every fifteen minutes to keep our place clean. Nevertheless, life with cats is joyous and dirty, but we would be less happy people without them.

Except when animals attack.

Given that we've anthropomorphized the beast out of them, it's always a bit disconcerting when our furry babes act, well, like scaredy cats. This occurs most frequently prior to trips to V-E-T (nothing could be funnier than watching Angus splay his legs so that, geometrically, he does not fit through the door of his carrier); Malcolm, at all other times a bad-ass, whines like a tortured pig. In our apartment, they are kings (and queens) of their castle. But the moment you introduce them to foreign world outside the front door, they go into panic mode.

I forgot all of this Tuesday night when I got the brilliant idea to carry Annie downstairs to greet G at the front door (I had his keys, he rang the doorbell, I thought it would warm his heart to be met after a long day at the office by his favorite ladies). We got down one flight of stairs (we're on the third of three floors) before Annie started revving like a motorcycle in first gear. By the time we rounded the corner, she was howling in a mournful tone that evokes the hopelessness she must experience as she sits hunched in her cat carrier in the backseat of the car on the way to get shots. When we got downstairs, she roared cartoonishly and began flailing and spasming, as if possessed. Then she tore into me.

I bore the brunt of the attack on the inside of my elbow. She clawed me in such a way that the punctures (of which there were only two, lest you imagine some sort of bloodbath in my vestibule) looked disconcertingly like track marks. (I joked to a friend later that I had picked up an intravenous drug habit over the weekend in Cape Cod, a hot bed of heroin use.) I managed to open the door for G, who greeted me with a "What the hell were you thinking?" instead of the kiss I'd imagined, and, arms extended, zombie-like, carried the convulsing, howling brat back upstairs and into the apartment.

And then I started to panic. Two friends in recent times have wound up in hospital because of cat bites; both trips to the emergency room came with admonishments that "If you had waited any longer, this infection could have gotten ugly." This wasn't a bite, sure, but cats' claws must be equally, if not more dirty than their mouths, right? I mean, I've seen their litter box. Surely this is bad, right? She broke the skin; I'm hit. A thousand tales of animal/human interactions that ended badly flashed before me: I imagine cat toe-nail toxins entering my bloodstream, travelling to my heart, stopping its beat. Am I infected? Is my arm going to fall off? Am I going to die? I laid down. G brought me ice water. Annie curled up in the crook of my good arm.

Fast forward two days. I'm still alive. My arm is still attached to my body. Annie seems to have forgotten the whole ordeal. My wounds are healing nicely. And the story is now a parable: this is why I'm unfit for a life with illness and death looming, ever-present, before me. I think worst-case-scenario. I worry about stupid shit. I am a hypochondriac.

Now imagine the immense fear that comes with having ticking time bombs for boobs. Imagine having the panic that comes from possibly infected cat scratches multiplied by a billion. That's why my boobs have to go. Because if I'm that afraid of getting cat-scratch fever (cue the Nuge), imagine how scared I am of getting cancer.

1 comment:

  1. Just discovered your blog and I'm looking forward to reading more. My grandmother was a carrier of both genes (died of breast cancer before I was born), my mother is a carrier of BRCA 2 (currently undergoing treatment for Stage 3 breast cancer) and I am getting tested this fall through the Huntsman Institute in Salt Lake City, UT. I'm glad to see a blog community for BRCA carriers. Keep up the good work.

    (I too LOVE making boob puns and have starting putting them on t-shirts to raise breast cancer awareness. You might be interested in checking out my "shop" at
    I have a "BRCAn't Stop Me" t-shirt among other humorous shirts).