I recently had a bit of a scare with a lump on my breast. I have breast cancer in my family so of course the first thing that went through my mind is that I'm going to die! Yes, I am known to be dramatic and yes, I did start to think the worst case scenario was about to happen to me.
I remember finding this lump quite a few months ago. After nursing 2 kids, my breasts have changed over the years and when I examine them, I am not always sure what the heck I am doing or what I am feeling. I never called my doctor and I just forgot about it for a while.
After an unexpected pregnancy with a 3rd child, I found myself lying down at the doctors office getting a routine breast exam. I saw that she stopped and spent a little longer in that one spot. She then had the nurse give me a feel and yep, they agreed that at the location of 12:00, there was a lump. The looks on their faces made me rather uncomfortable.
I was already scared about the fact that I was pregnant again at the age of 41. I thought perhaps my period was just late then, I saw my body change. While my husband was trying to zip up my dress for me before a wedding, he kept saying "suck it in babe, I can't get it zipped.." I WAS sucking it in!! My weight had not changed but apparently my chest size did. My mother said to me that night, wow honey, are you wearing a push up bra? Um, no mom. The dress is strapless! Made me start to think..
That was the first clue that I might be pregnant.
The sign could not have been more positive when I finally peed on the stick. I was in total shock. My daughter was 9 and a half and my son 4. I was done having kids...so I thought! But there it was...clear as day. That plus sign on the pregnancy test. I just sat there for a while. Locked in the bathroom (the only room with a lock and I wasn't leaving for a while!). I needed some time to process this information before facing the world.
So.. at my first visit to the obgyn, she found this lump on my breast. I thought I was just knocked up and that would be the topic of discussion. Never thought we would be focusing on my breast.
Two months later, I finally got in for an ultrasound for my breast. No mammograms for pregnant women. I was scared. I wanted no obstacles to interfere with nursing this baby. I also don't want to die or lose my breast. My husband and I recently lost a friend to breast cancer. She was 41 and it was detected too late to save her. She left behind a husband and two small children. Truly heart breaking. This was not how I wanted my story to end.
Well of course I thought the worst would happen to me. I tried not to think about it. I only told my husband and mother. I can't stand when people worry about me or feel sorry for me. So, I kept it all in for a bit.
I enter the breast center in Greenwich and they marched us in like little soldiers. Three at a time. Please step into the dressing room, remove your top and put this lovely robe on open in the front.... (you call that a robe?).
Yes, I immediately got silly with the nurse. The atmosphere was way too serious and someone had to lighten up the situation. That would be me. I am famous for being inappropriately silly. Just ask my mother!
So then, I get examined or should we say, felt up by a very serious Russian lady. My goal was to have her crack a smile. I achieved it! And we even made eye contact as she squirted that lubricant on my boob. What a moment..
I immediately asked her if she saw anything. She paused (just to torture me I am certain) and then, she firmly said...No....I see nothing.
The Doctor came in and also did an ultrasound exam. She too saw nothing. Lets just say, I left there with a smile on my face and a snap in my step.
I was reminded that I was certainly one of the lucky ones. I paused to think about the women who walk out of there with terrible worry knowing they could lose a breast or even worse, their life.
In all seriousness, I know that I could have walked out of there with my head down and the weight of the world on my shoulders. For some reason, I am lucky. I won't question it. I will not take it for granted. I will honor it by living my life the way I always do, with a smile on my face and a snap in my step. For me, there is no other way to live my precious life.
I know many of you have had similar scares. The first thing I wanted to do was write down my thoughts and share them with women. We all struggle. We all get scared in life. I believe that what defines us is how we face these scary, trying times. It isn't always easy but I do believe a positive attitude and outlook on life makes all the difference. It does for me anyway and trust me, my life hasn't always been lucky or easy.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story.