I’ve Discovered Victoria’s Little Secret – (and no wonder she’s not telling!)

by Debra Chappell

View from the Models Runway:


Mood reading:  ZZZZ’s (slept great, but admit that self esteem took a bit of a hit when viewing photos to use in blog…)

Now that I’ve got everyone’s attention, let’s talk.  I mean, if you’re a regular visitor to this sight, we’re friends…right?  We can be candid, we can be totally frank, we can be…what’s that?  This is your first visit? You just saw the above picture on my facebook link and had to click on it? (If you’re one of my male pole-vaulting fb buddies, you may be disappointed to learn that I’m not discussing a 510m/14.5 flex, but a 98 pound 42-DD instead.  Sorry to disappoint…wait, what? Well aren’t you nice, thanks for staying tuned, I know you’re sacraficing precious training time) Anyway, as I was saying, I feel I know you well enough to have an honest, intimate discussion and would appreciate some discretion and sensitivity here.

(And lest you be confused, no, that is not me in the above photo.  I know, a mistake anyone could make.)

So then…a couple weeks ago I developed a mysterious (and as it turns out, persistent) rash.  Not just any rash mind you, this one was a bunch of little red bumps that would V367133_CROP1intermittently get angry and inflamed and itch like hell. The rash appeared at the top of my rib cage, across my…well uh, no other way to say it — right at the bottom of my boobs, just under my bra line extending down from there by a few inches.  (and  no, that’s not me to the left either.)

I thought at first it was a cluster of spider bites or perhaps a skin allergy. After all, I’d been out in the desert with the dog and had to fish her out of the bitterbrush on several occasions.  On one I backed into the brush grazing my neck which swelled up for days – I just figured some of the leaves or pollen fell down my shirt and got trapped.

When it wouldn’t go away, I consulted my dermatologist. She took a look and said, “nope, don’t think it’s allergy.”  She intimated I wasn’t “sloughing” enough.  “What????” I said.Unknown “Why I slough all the time! I have a loofa, I use my cleansing grains!,”  When she looked a little skeptical, I persisted, “Look,  I may be a bit of a tomboy but believe me, I have my vanity – and a whole cupboard full of scented salt scrub!!”  She smiled annoyingly like the wary policeman who listens patiently to you explain how you only have had one glass of images-1wine with dinner, well, maybe a glass and a half, but it was over 3 hours with bread pudding for desert… but still makes you get out of the car for the sobriety test — not that I would know first hand.  She gave me some special soap and some lotion containing “a little bit” of acid that should “help with the shedding” process. To make a long story short, it did little more than send me through the roof every morning after my bath when I applied it and made the little bumps angrier than they already were.  After several weeks of this miserable little routine, I made an appointment with my regular doctor hoping for a more dignified diagnosis that didn’t question my personal hygienic routine or involve excruciating potions.

In the meantime, between doctors visits, I was reading in bed one night when the hubby handed me his ipad and said “I think you might want to read this, it mentions a rash…” It was a story about a woman with a rash that sounded a lot like mine.  Hers had started on her stomach – right under her bellybutton.  Wouldn’t go away, she thought it was allergy, yadda, yadda, yadda. (Everything sounded the same except she escaped the torture of the images-4sadistic dermatologist)  Turns out that hers was the result of an allergy due to the clasp on her jeans that hit her in the same place every day – a clasp that was made of nickel. The article mentioned that the metal agitation could penetrate fabric. This caught my attention. The next morning I went onto the Mayo clinic website (one of the more reputable ones I am told) to investigate if nickel could cause such a rash.  (I am loathe to go online for anything having to do with symptoms of illness because I usually end up self diagnosing what ever it is I am researching.) But there it was in black and white, that nickel could indeed cause such a rash as mine.

imagesIf you were wondering at this point what happened to the 98 pound 42-DD mentioned in the opening, no, I haven’t forgotten her, nor all of her big busted, skinny hipped cohorts, here’s where they come in.  (Welcome back pole vaulters who just woke up and sat  to attention.)  Several weeks ago, I did my dreaded twice-in-a-half-decade underwear shopping. I decided to splurge.  Rather than the plain ol’ vanilla cotton bras I usually buy in packagesV370844_CROP1 of three at Penney’s , I wandered into my local Victoria’s Secret to see if I could find something to perk me up, so to speak.  I selected two, lacy, somewhat sexy (at least for me) underwire varieties that I thought would do the trick – just enough perk to round ‘em up and point ‘em in the right direction like bubbly beacons for the rest of my sagging body to follow. That, as it turns out, was entirely the wrong direction to be heading after photo copyall.  The underwire is made of metal, quite possibly nickel.  I even slit open one of the suspect new bras to confirm. Armed with what I thought was surely the smoking gun, I attended my scheduled doctor’s appointment this past Friday.

Mind you, my doctor is only a few years older than my oldest son.  Needless to say it’s a little disconcerting to lift your shirt (and cotton bra from Penneys) for the inspection but lift I did.  His first response was “hmmm, I normally see this in much larger breasted women…”  When I asked about the nickel reaction, he replied “could very well be, but it could also be a fungal infection.  But I normally would see that in much larger breasted women…” Then I offered to show him the offending article (I had jammed it into my purse to bring as evidence)  he said , “well sure, I’ll take a look, but it could also be fungal.  Of course, I normally see that in much larger breasted women…” He examined my evidence and inspected the protruding metal.  Rubbing his chin he said “yeah, I think this could be it — ’cause I would normally only see a fungal infection in significantly larger breasted women…” at which point I wanted to scream images-5“OKAY ALREADY!!!  THANK YOU SO VERY EFFING MUCH FOR REMINDING ME THAT I AM NOT, NOT APPARENTLY IN THE SIGNIFICANTLY LARGER BREASTED CLASS OF WOMEN YOU WOULD NORMALLY SEE THIS IN!”  He laughed when I politely joked that I was well aware of my diminutive status in this area, leading me to be more inclined to think it was the nickel.  He concurred then wrote me a prescription for a steroid ointment that would take care of both in any case and suggested I go braless in the mean time.  This time it was I who laughed…and laughed…and laughed, and laughed some more all the way out to the parking lot.  Poor boy, still has a lot to learn about age and gravity.

In any case, I was very happy to have the mystery solved and stopped by the supermarket on my way home to pick up my prescription.  While I was there I picked up some milk, fruit, vegetables and a loaf of bread.  Imagine the look on the box-boy’s face when I pulled out the V363814pink lacy push-up number that was still crammed in my handbag when I went to pay the bill.  When I looked at his face all flush with excitement and noticed his accelerated breathing I said, as only an old kindly mother can, “oh don’t get your knickers in a twist son, – sometimes what’s under the Victoria’s Secret ain’t what you bargained for after all!”