Stress in my Left Breast – Really!

A common expression used in Jamaica on occasions of hearing labrish1 is “What a stress inna mi lef’ breas!”2. From discussion with consultant etymologists,3 it has been concluded that the phrase originated in the mid to late 90s, increasing in popularity after being used in a local play/comedy show. Up to a few days ago, when I first felt the tingling sensation in my left breast, I was quite convinced that this was just another nonsensical rhyme with a touch of innuendo, of which we Jamaicans are excellent composers.

Last Tuesday night, I had a very difficult time sleeping. In fact, I went to bed a few hours later than usual and had much trouble falling asleep; it was a night of tossing and turning. I felt the tingling and pricking in my breast from time to time but I was not sure whether I was experiencing trauma from the brassiere or some foreign object in my bed. After a few hours I awoke feeling very groggy and out of place.

When I had finally settled into my routine I continued to feel the sensation and decided to immediately see a doctor; after all it is October and breast cancer was the first diagnosis I made even though I recently had a mammogram, I also thought I was having a heart attack. I spent a good while with the doctor, and he concluded that the tingling sensation was a symptom that I was suffering from anxiety. The other possible causes were shingles or any nerve disorder – I do not have either.

“The dictionary says that “stress” is “a factor that induces mental or bodily tension” or a “state induced by such a stress.” (Another definition is “a force which distorts a body,” which explains why we get all bent out of shape when we’re stressed.)
Anxiety is defined as “painful uneasiness of mind” or “abnormal apprehension and fear, often accompanied by physiological signs, by doubt about the nature and reality of the threat itself, and by self-doubt.” Now, that’s an interesting definition.
Stress and anxiety are not the same thing, but they do tend to reinforce and perpetuate each other. Stress makes you anxious, and anxiety increases your stress, and it’s very important to interrupt that cycle.” –

So, yes, stress can indeed manifest itself in one’s left breast!

I am now on a mission to, in the words of Dr. Glenda Simms, ‘take back my breast’ and the rest of my mind and body which have been affected by my anxiety disorder. Henceforth, I will be thinking only positively, believing in my abilities, eating right and exercising daily.

  1. Patois word meaning something scandalous, gossipy or shocking []
  2. Patois for “Such stress in my left breast!” []
  3. not trained professionals, just highly opinionated friends []
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  1. Nicholas
    Posted October 29, 2010 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

    Very good reading! Funny and informative!

  2. Adrian
    Posted October 29, 2010 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

    Quiet imformative

  3. Sixx
    Posted October 29, 2010 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

    stress is one helluva ting doh eeeeeeeh

  4. Lloyd
    Posted October 29, 2010 at 2:05 PM | Permalink

    I always thought the phrase was related to the fact that the heart is positioned on the left side of your chest.

    • Karee
      Posted October 29, 2010 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

      good point! I never really analysed it before now. very likely.

  5. Jermaine
    Posted October 29, 2010 at 3:49 PM | Permalink

    Well as Jamaicans well always say things without knowing the real meaning of what we are saying. I guess after all, to every phrase there is a real meaning behind it, and this 1 is no different.

  6. Ray
    Posted October 29, 2010 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

    Interesting analysis, sure makes for an informative & mind-picking read.

  7. saida
    Posted October 29, 2010 at 7:24 PM | Permalink

    i like the insight of it… good to know that u will take the corrective procedures to keep yourself healthy……

  8. Chris Cox
    Posted October 29, 2010 at 9:14 PM | Permalink

    maybe there’s something sub-conscious thats bothering u of late & u just aint aware of it…so i say take it easy there could be many factors especially in these hard economic times

  9. Posted October 29, 2010 at 10:54 PM | Permalink

    Good job! The benefits of a positive demeanor and approach to various situations can prove so effective in solving some of what may termed as serious dilemmas. Continue being pro-active cz I cherish the entire being of Karee and I’m sure you do too. Good read!

  10. Shawty
    Posted October 31, 2010 at 11:11 PM | Permalink

    Amen… have been preaching this for years….!!

  11. Registered nurse
    Posted November 12, 2010 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

    Finally, an issue that I am passionate about. I have looked for information of this caliber for the last several hours. Your site is greatly appreciated.

  12. medical coding
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 11:40 PM | Permalink

    Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

  13. Ann Gelzer
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 7:08 PM | Permalink

    Can you provide more information on this? cheers

  14. Ron Tedwater
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 7:14 PM | Permalink

    Really nice post,thank you

  15. Kalparkr
    Posted April 28, 2011 at 4:41 PM | Permalink

    and of that mission you are perfectly capable.

  16. scott
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

    Very informative. I did not know that stress could cause tingle sensation in the breast. Does anyone have similiar experience paticularly with the left breast?

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