Fear VerifiedA whole lot has been happening around the house and it has made finding the time to get on the computer and articulate what has been running through my head nearly impossible. I’ll start with the most recent… I had a breast cancer scare. On April 1st (no, the fact that it was April Fools did not pass my notice), while showering I found a massive “lump” in my left breast. It was huge. I tried not to freak out, which was not easy, let me tell you. I told Brian about it when he got home, but I played it off as not a big deal – I was totally flippant in the way I presented it, but was on the forefront of my mind all evening. The next morning when I woke up, I reached up and felt it with my left arm above my head. Yep, still there – it didn’t go away when I fell asleep. I asked Brian to feel it as well. When I was in college I took philosophy 101 and it confused the hell out of me, but what I remember is that (basically) for something to be true, one needs evidence to justify it as truth… or something like that. (Don’t quote me, it was a looooooong time ago.) Point is, I needed someone else to verify that I felt what I felt and I wasn’t exaggerating the massiveness of “The Lump”. Brian felt it and was concerned. Fear, verified.
Mama Comes LastFor the people who don’t know, Brian is a radiation therapist – he treats people with cancer every day so he wasn’t going to take this situation lightly. On Monday, Brian talked to the oncologist that he works with and HE had reason to be concerned. And they had a lot of questions, like, when’s the last time I did a self-breast exam and did I feel this before… and so on and so forth. All questions came up blank. I am ashamed to admit that I do NOT do self-breast exams on a regular basis… or even on an irregular basis, for that matter. To be honest, I rarely do it at all. I know, shame on me. So, here’s where I also admit that I have put off finding a gynecologist when we moved here and it’s been about eight months now. I’ve brought each of the girls to the doctor about a half a dozen times for various ailments – I’ve even brought the puppy for multiple vet visits but I haven’t made the time for myself. Because of this, the earliest the OB/GYN could get me in as a new patient is in six weeks. Well, that’s great. I have a lump the size of a tangerine and the earliest I can see a physician is six weeks from now.
This is where Brian and Dr. A came through for me. The doctor wrote a lab slip for a bilateral mammogram with an ultrasound to be done in a week. I cannot even begin to convey the gratitude and relief that I felt. This was so beyond kind of Dr. A to do.
People, I have an overactive imagination… seriously. I spent all of Sunday worrying. Just worrying, but when Brian came home with the orders and then had a frank conversation with me about the possible outcomes of the results – I started to get scared. I’m not even ashamed to admit that I spent the majority of Wednesday evening crying. Yes, I know that I didn’t even have a diagnosis yet. But I was scared.
The MammogramOn Friday, I went in for my mammogram. Brian’s work let him take off so that he could come with me. Although he wasn’t allowed back with me, it was extremely uplifting to know that he was out there. Ladies, if you’ve never had mammogram done – it’s like an uncomfortable (topless) photo shoot. You have to get into crazy poses and hold your breath while they snap their “picture”. Sometimes you have to hold yourself up with one arm and hold your other boob out of the way with the other while they squash one of your boobs like a grape.
During the mammo, I was internally freaking out. As a dental assistant, I basically know how to read dental x-rays. You get a feel for what to look for, so I could see that there was a mass in my left breast that was not supposed to be there. There was a difference in density. I could see that the normal breast tissue looked gray and grainy and the mass was bright white. So, after the mammogram, I went across the hall for an ultrasound. This is where the “white mass” turned into a deep, dark pocket. Thank goodness that they had a radiologists there to read the mammogram and ultrasound that day. I could not imagine having to wait a week for the report.
C Is Not For Cancer...It turns out that was an incredibly large cyst. Apparently, I have cysts throughout both breasts. Which I found to be interesting considering I have had cysts in my uterus and thyroid. Weird. But thank goodness it wasn’t cancer.
The lesson I learned here, folks, is:
- That you should do regular self-breast exams.
- You should not put off taking care of yourself, even if it’s a routine doctor’s visit.
I was lucky but many are not. Please take care yourself.