Back in June when Warren and I were in Providence on our working vacation I discovered something that was kind of scary.
I had just gotten showered and crawled into bed when my intuition (call it god, guides, angels – whatever you want to call it) directed me to “TOUCH HERE” and my finger landed on a small, hard, pea sized lump in my breast.
The same intuition (or whatever you have decided to call it – it’s OK, I won’t tell you what to call it) told me that I was going to be OK.
I’m not going to lie, I turned over the possibilities in my head for a bit but I did go to sleep. The next day I showed it to Warren and we both felt it wasn’t anything serious but that I should have it checked out. We knew that whatever the outcome we would deal with it together.
I found the lump on Friday (6/27) and called my insurance company on Monday. They set me up the very next week with a surgeon. No regular doctor – a lump is taken very seriously and passed right along to a surgeon. At least with this company.
I had just had a mammogram barely 3 weeks prior and the lump hadn’t shown up on it. I felt like that something that had appeared so quickly either meant that it was a cyst or a VERY early cancer. He set up an appointment for an ultra sound and let me know that he was concerned.
Even though I truly felt that I would be OK I still worried some. I knew I would deal with it if I had to but I didn’t want to have to. Ya know?
Then my ultrasound appointment got cancelled and I turned into a mini basket case. Still pretty sure that it was going to be all right but with the doubt factor turned up a notch.
The following week the ultra sound showed that it wasn’t a cyst but luckily I had another appointment with the surgeon the following day and he was concerned enough that he did a needle biopsy and we set a date for a lumpectomy no matter what the results of the biopsy were.
The results? Benign but not normal.
Not 100% out of the woods but at least it was something and the doubt factor got dialed down. The question of just what the heck the lump was made of still remained.
I had the lumpectomy on Friday August 1st. It was very anti-climactic. Especially after more than a month of concern. I was in and out in 2 hours only a little pain. Really, the anesthesia was the hardest for me to deal with and took a few days to work out of my system.
I have a follow up appointment this week and I’m hoping to find out what the lump was made of, what the chances of repeat lumps and so on.
BTW, in a fit of silliness I named the lump Stanley (my apologies to any Stanleys out there) and I couldn’t wait to have him evicted. A few days after surgery I gathered up my family and we celebrated Stanley’s eviction at our favorite Mexican restaurant.
Here are some things I learned from this experience so far that I thought I would pass on.
- 80% of breast lumps turn out to NOT be cancer
- It will take a while from the time you find the lump to get an answer as to what you are dealing with. With all of the hoops that insurance companies make doctors jump through these days you may have to have several types of tests before a diagnoses can be found. Try not to let it bother you. I know that for me as long as I was making progress I felt much better. Do what you can to keep the ball rolling.
- Humor will likely keep you from crawling into bed and staying there.
- It is a great time to let your family and friends have your back for a bit. Lean on them – that’s what they are there for. I felt so loved and cared for by my family and friends during this time. I knew that whatever came I could get through it with their help.
- If you don’t have solid family or group of friends now is the time to make them. So you can love on them and let them love on you.
- Making things will keep your hands and brain busy so that you can push worry to the side. Bake, cook, paint, sew or dance – whatever your creative outlet it.
Believe it or not, I am thankful for this summer and Stanley. I’m thankful to feel so LOVED. I’m thankful to be healthy and want to continue to do what I can so that I remain healthy for quite a long time. I am thankful for the insight I have gained and for this opportunity to be reminded of what is really important.
What is truly important to you? When or how did you realize that importance?