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In love with my boobies

My name is Anna. I was always afraid of breast cancer. There were cases on both sides of my family. It seemed like fate. And then the day I was so scared about apparently had come. The first message wasn't even so bad: „there is something in your breast, probably nothing dangerous, but considering your family history, it's better that you do a biopsy and check it when you have time”. I panicked anyway. I went to the first oncologist I could find and he happened to be a very bad doctor. He didn't really research my breast, he couldn't even remember which one was to be checked, yet he said with a sad, scary voice that he is sorry and that I should go to the general doctor and get a green card as soon as possible. The card allows a fast track in case of serious danger of cancer. I was crying so much in the general doctor's office that I could barely formulate my request. With the card I came back to the oncologist. He has on average 3-5 minutes per patient. I got a biopsy a few weeks after. There was nothing. But during our next 3 minute consultation he asked me if I agreed to do VAB. I asked what the VAB is. He didn't have time to explain it to me, but I had to make a decision on the spot. I was threatened. I would have agreed to anything. Weeks after they removed part of my breast – unnecessary intervention into the body, which left a small scar inside my breast making it more difficult to see things during future USGs. Fortunately, I finally met another doctor in the same office who said the simple sentence I should have heard much before: you are fine. My body still remembers the stress and fear of those months, although years have passed. Stress which at least till some extent could be avoided.

When I met Miha from Boobie Love it was … scary, as the interview opened my old scars, but at the same time so relieving. Finally, somebody speaks about the breasts and their health with a different approach, understanding that fear doesn't necessarily help.

Miha worked in an ontological hospital for more than 10 years, in a stressful and demanding environment which she finally had the courage to quit. While considering various ways she could move on she received a call: her cousin had breast cancer. That's when she understood this was her life mission – working with women about their breast health. She started an NGO which has provided psychological help, wigs and breast implants to thousands of women. To sustain their activity Miha opened the Boobie Love shop, where she sells various products connected to breast health, among which the highlight is the mixture of essential oils for breast massage. She created it together with a biochemist after a breast health workshop she attended in Cluj Napoca, Romania – her homeland. The workshop was led by Taruna Sanjivani, an Indian woman who spoke about breast care and health, instead of threatening participants with potential diseases and risks as most workshops and health campaigns on the topic do today. Things clicked for Miha – that's what she missed at her work in the hospital, focused only on providing very specific medical help. They didn't see the patient as a whole, they lacked the holistic approach and focus on prevention.

Miha started to promote breast selfcare, encouraging women to discover their bodies, to befriend their breasts and touch them regularly not in search of the cancer or any other breast problem but to rather get to know them well - and through the breast get to know themselves. Massaging breasts boosts blood circulation and helps the lymph to flow around and not get stuck, which can happen especially when wearing the wrong bra. Massaging your breast and knowing your body are the first steps of prevention and taking care of ourselves. Among other important points Miha mentioned a good diet, movement, being careful with the cosmetics you put on your body (if you use spray, put it rather on your clothes). Avoiding stress if possible and understanding that you are the most important person in your life. The one you need to take care of first.

Bobby Love is located in Timisoara, in a co-working space run by Ambasada. That's where you can come to talk and purchase some of their products. Or get involved. Although Miha feels quite comfortable working alone, she understands that to increase her impact she needs to get 1-2 collaborators for the NGO and include the community in their work. Because the challenge she deals with is our common responsibility. Cancer affects women in a specific way, it is a silent killer which often comes with stigma and isolation. Most people don't know how to deal with it and they are too scared to notice and support those who fight. In our minds cancer often means death. When she left the hospital Miha realized she wanted to be a voice - or rather a voice multiplier - of women who deal with cancer in hope of diminishing their stigma and loneliness.

Miha is also convinced that not even half the women she met in the hospital would get there if they had access to proper information and educational programs, based on healthcare rather than fear, which often prevents people from taking the proper steps – they are simply too scared to take action or they overreact. If we speak about breast health from a place of love instead of fear, things may change. After understanding this point, it took Miha quite some time before she found the courage to really step up. She even went back to the hospital, but she quickly understood it's not her way – she felt like she was treating numbers and data instead of patients. One day she just took her laptop, said goodbye and decided to start an NGO, thinking that if she could help at least one woman, that would be enough. She has helped thousands already.

Although it's not just a woman thing. It involves men on so many levels. First of all, each man has a mother, a sister, a partner or a daughter they can support and encourage in taking good care of their health. They can massage the breast of their partner if both agree to do so. And they should also take care of their own body. Although breast cancer is not very common among men, in their case as well knowing one’s body can prevent diseases or help to recognise them at an early stage, and in fact that's what happened with Miha’s husband. One day he discovered a lump in his testicle. Fortunately, it disappeared quite quickly, and by monitoring it saved Miha's husband from surgery; yet it shows clearly that health and knowing our body is something we can all benefit from. Especially in a society full of stress and emotional ups and downs and lack of time, skills and space to work them out properly. And they have an enormous influence on our health and body.

I have been told to not get stressed by so many doctors I cannot even take it anymore. I don't know how to lower the stress. But I'm learning how to be with my emotions and, by noticing them and experiencing them fully, to let them go so they don't get stuck inside, neither in my breast, nor in any other part of my body. Easy? No. Worth it? I hope so.

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