Yeah, so, I found a lump.
In May, right before I was moving into the new apartment with David, I found a lump in my left breast. It was a little painful. I didn’t have to take anything for the pain. It wasn’t that bad. It was just a little sore. I had my yearly “down there” exam in March, and there was no lump so I knew that the lump was a recent addition to my breast. I had a regular physical with my new doctor at Kaiser scheduled for June, so I decided to wait a few weeks and ask her about it. Maybe it would go away.
It did not go away.
In June, the doctor confirmed that there was a lump: “It’s probably just a cyst, but let’s schedule you an appointment with a breast surgeon and get you a mammogram just to be safe.”
I scheduled the breast surgeon appointment and the mammogram on the same day. David and I both took the day off from work and made a day of it. We went to one appointment, got breakfast at the nearby Lucky Penny and then went to the other appointment.
Somehow the breast surgeon appointment was scheduled before the mammogram appointment. She felt the lump. “Yep, there is a lump. Let’s see what the mammogram says.” The mammogram confirmed there was something there, but they could not get a really good look at it.
The breast care coordinator said an ultrasound was in order to get a really good look.
“Sure,” I said. “I love making repeated trips to Kaiser. One more trip into the parking garage and my next trip is free.” They didn’t think I was funny.
Two weeks later at the ultrasound, I asked the tech for a print out of my lump: “I don’t have any kids. It sure would be nice if I could have a print out of my lump to show people.” The tech politely laughed … She never did give me a print out.
After 20 minutes of laying on the table topless while the tech searched my rotten melon for a lump, she brought the radiologist in to take a look.
“All signs point to fibrocystic breast condition. The only way to know for sure if it’s breast cancer is to do a biopsy, but I would recommend you wait three months, and we can go back and look again,” he said.
“That’s stupid,” I replied. “I don’t want to wait three months to find out if I have cancer. I think we should just biopsy now and find out for sure it’s not breast cancer. Why would you wait?”
“Some people have a wait-and-see attitude,” he said.
“Yeah, not me.”
I went to the breast surgeon the next day, and she agreed. We did a core biopsy. She numbed my boob, made a small incision and jabbed the lump with a needle a dozen times. Fun, right? Then she stitched me back up, leaving me with an oh-so chic Franken-boob look for about a week.
The results came back Friday late afternoon. The doctor called me and left a message. My test results were “abnormal.” I frantically called back.
Turns out, I have breast cancer. It is an early form of breast cancer called ductal carcinoma in situ or as I call it “knocker sickness.” I should mention, if you are going to get breast cancer this is the best one to get. Yep, only the best for me. It is the earliest form of breast cancer, and it is not considered life threatening.
I was shocked to get that call. I really thought she would tell me it was nothing. I wasn’t the only one who was taken aback by that diagnosis. The doctor was surprised as well. All signs pointed to a benign cyst.
I had a doctor appointment today, and we went over my options. A lot depends on an MRI at this point. Assuming the MRI shows that the cancer is contained and has not spread, then a lumpectomy followed by spot radiation is my best option. It certainly beats the alternative!
I won’t lie. I’m very nervous and anxious and really scared. No one likes to hear the word “cancer.” Still, I know that whatever comes my way, I can handle it. I am 38. I am a healthy person (except for the whole cancer thing). I eat right. I go to yoga. And most importantly, I have mighty, mighty good man David, an amazing family and the most awesome friends on the planet. I am deeply moved by how many of my friends and family have reached out to me, offering such kind words and support. I feel truly lucky to have so many people ready, willing and able to help and support me through this. I appreciate everyone sending me their positive thoughts. I am forever grateful.
I have one more thing to say: Seriously, ladies, do a self breast examination. Get a mammogram. It doesn’t hurt at all, and it could save your life. I thought long and hard about writing this blog post. I thought maybe it was too much, too personal, too serious. I debated not writing it, but I figured if even one lady read this blog and did a self breast exam or got a mammogram, then it was worth exposing my breasts … so to speak.