The Weekly Wrap | 22-Jul-2016

So this week I… got my boobs squished and scanned, became better informed on boob scanning, marveled at the effects of Berocca and asparagus, realised I will never master Continental knitting, endured a Holter monitor, and discovered the carnal thrills of Twinkies and Pop Tarts.

It’s the middle of winter and I’m sure a cold virus is itching to pounce. To stave it off, I started downing a Berocca a day. Not that I believe it’s a magic pill, but it does no harm, provides a vitamin boost and tastes nice. Like asparagus, however, it colours your waters quite luridly. Happily, without the whiffy after-effects of those tasty, crunchy, green spears of goodness… mmm, hungry.

After dithering over endless Craftsy ads for Continental knitting classes, and watching the same promo videos over and over and over again, I finally said no. I calculated that the time it would take me to become proficient enough in this method to knit 1.4 times faster, versus the knitting years I have left to live… well, life’s too short for that shit. I shall carry on English-style, and be happy that hobby knitting is all about the journey, not how fast you roar into the station.

The Sisterhood belatedly celebrated the 4th of July. Had to be done, because one of the Sisters is American, knows where the American food store is, and more importantly, knows exactly what American junk food is needed for such a celebration. Twinkies and Pop Tarts! OMG, squee!! So frickin good. Kiwi-fied American hotdogs were also whipped up (damn, they were good), as was a pizza – but not that weird-looking giant cardboard stuff ‘Muricans eat on TV and call pizza. Nah, mate. Got it from New World.

Continuing in pursuit of a diagnosis for the chest-hammering of last week, I wore a Holter cardiac monitor for 24 hours. So far, this has resulted in blisters and permanent adhesive residue. Those monitor lead pads are itchy and scratchy (hence, blisters) and the adhesive takes forever to come off. The data collected will apparently be shared next week. Good thing I’m not in a hurry. Yeah. On the bright side, am still not dead.

Squished boobs and pap smears. Oh yeah, I am woman, hear me roar, alright. Bloody hell. This was my second breast screen. As I stood there, pinned by the tit to a cold, whirring machine, I idly wondered whether it was more painful for big boobs or little ones, would they find anything, and what about the cumulative radiation effects? So I decided to find out a bit more.

While digital mammography (what’s used in NZ) uses a lower dose of radiation than film-based mammography, it’s still radiation going into your body. The long-term effects of that (and other harms) are controversial, and have been for many years. So, eschewing Facebook and David Wanker Wolfe for Google, I searched for “how effective is breast screening” and clicked on some likely prospects. First I read an article on breast screening in the NZ Medical Journal. Then looked at the National Screening Unit page on Why should I be screened? and also their position statement on the benefits vs harms of breast screening. It was all very interesting. That’s cheerfully inconclusive, isn’t it.

The bottom line seems to be that although breast screening is far from perfect, and the risks are real – within a population, the benefits outweigh the risks. That basically means X out of Y women will get breast cancer and/or be harmed by screening, and you don’t want to be on the X side of the equation.

As with anything where you are not an expert, avoid becoming polarised by opinions, and don’t lose your mind all over the internet. That just makes you a tinfoil-hat-wearing alarmist. And a dick. Don’t be a dick. Become better informed, keep your paranoia in check, and mind your manners while you do your research.

I feel informed. Do you feel informed? If not, go get some new knowledge and feel better about your awesomeness.

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