Breast Cancer and TSA

I recently flew to Seattle for a conference.  TSA.  Yeah, you all know what I mean.

Do I step into the naked-making scanner and let whatever “we swear they’re not pervs” perv see what’s under my clothes?  Even had both girls been going along for the ride, that’s creepy.  With one side looking a lot like a breast but unattached to my skin, wouldn’t that rachet up the suspicion factor?

These folks probably screen gazillions of one-breasted women every day.  But during this past year I’ve had such little choice about nasty things done to my body, and for this, darn it, I have a choice.

“I’ll need a pat-down,” I said to the TSA guy.

“FEMALE ASSIST!” he bellowed.

A couple of minutes passed.  A couple more.  I hate flying commercial.  Unlike my flight nurse days, they will take off without me.

“FEMALE ASSIST!” he bellowed again.

A young woman finally appeared.  “Any painful areas?” she inquired.

Nope.  Nothing hurts.  And so the TSA agent conducted the pat-down and made absolutely no comment about the 2 pounds of silicone in one side of my bra or the IV port that creates a golfball-size lump just below my collarbone.  I’m pretty sure she didn’t notice.

What TSA did notice were the industrial-size bottles of Miralax and Metamucil in my carry-on.  (Remember, I’m still on chemo.  Also known as never poop again drugs.)

“No liquids over four ounces,” he scolded.

“They’re not liquid.  They’re powder,” I said.

“POWDER?!  WHAT FOR?”  he said, all kerfuffled.


“I’LL HAVE TO TEST THEM!” he cried.

Okay.  So the government agency charged with maintaining the safety of the skies carefully swabbed and analyzed my laxative powders and deemed them to be non-explosive.

Sometimes you just have to laugh.

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”  Romans 12:18



2 thoughts on “Breast Cancer and TSA

  1. The last time I was wanded by TSA, it was because I was wearing a floor-length skirt – the better to hide weapons, apparently. I offered to take my skirt off to prove I was unarmed (unlegged?), but the TSA officer said that wouldn’t be necessary. I think if your guy had told me he wanted to test my laxatives, I’m afraid I would have told him they take 6-8 hours to take effect, and I couldn’t wait that long for him to decide if they worked or not. Keep laughing, Katy! Love you.

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