29 days ago my world stopped (for a little bit). Before then, I was guilty of rushing through life and taking things for granted.
Today I wanted to share my story with you, as I reflect on it all and hope to grow as a stronger person.
On April 5th, I went to the doctor's to get a regular physical and to hopefully get some answers about some stomach issues I had been having. Everything about this visit was supposed to be normal. During the exam my doctor asked if I'd like her to check my breasts - I honestly wasn't even going to let her because I had just received my annual two weeks before and everything was fine, but I said sure. She worked her way from left to right and immediately stopped. She asked me if I could feel that, I had no idea what she was talking about. She took my hand and pushed it against the side of my right breast. I couldn't believe what was happening. There was a large, round lump sitting right there on my own chest. How could I have missed this?? Better question, how could my other doctor have missed this?? I lost it and broke down. I had so many mixed emotions, mostly because I'm twenty-two and about to graduate, and breast cancer does run in my family. The doctor ordered me to get an ultrasound so we could know what we were dealing with. She told me it would be okay, but that she doesn't mess around with these type of things because she was a breast cancer surviver (diagnosed when she was 30). Even though I was so upset I was also relieved that she had found it.
I went to the local breast center on April 12th to have my ultrasound. I really didn't know what to expect as far as what news I was going to receive or what the lump actually looked like. I live away from home so I was extremely nervous going in by myself - I felt like such a baby (I was definitely the youngest patient there that day). I was given a really nice robe to put on and put in a darker lit room for the exam. Two ladies came in and started right away. I was told to roll onto my left side. I couldn't see the screen, just a stupid wall. They weren't saying anything... just rolling over and over the lump. I knew it wasn't good, because if it was they would have stopped by now. The silence got to me and the tears started. Both ladies' professional walls cracked and they started to comfort me - one even leaned down and held my hand, she stated the obvious that I was too young to be there. They finished up and sent for the radiologist. He joined us and looked over the images. He let me know that he didn't think it was cancer but to be sure we were going to have to do an ultrasound core biopsy. He conformed that it was on the larger size and was indeed a mass (not a cyst - which is fluid filled). I left still in shock that I was even dealing with this - I had just returned from a great spring break and was ready to finish the school year strong, and now all that was put on hold. I knew for the biopsy I was going to need my mom; I couldn't emotionally do anymore without her. I called her right away and she of course made plans to be with me for the biopsy and for the follow up results.
April 19th was biopsy day. I went in with the mind set that I can handle anything (it was mostly a front just because I was tried of crying and knew needles were involved). It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be but that might be due to the fact that I was numb from my armpit to the center of my chest. They took three samples of the lump with this crazy tool ( I couldn't see it but it sounded like the pop gun when you get your ears pierce). They refer to the samples as "strands". I also saw the ultrasound images for the first time. From feeling the lump I thought it was the size of a large grape, but it actually went a lot deeper. They wrapped me up and I was done in like a half an hour. I was told not to lift anything for the next 24 hours; it was my princess day. I was so glad to have my mom there after as a support team, and as a distraction (I wasn't going to be able to find out the results until April 24th). I knew she was just as worried as I was but she kept her cool the whole time. She also dropped everything to make sure she was with me through the next week. I couldn't thank her enough and realized that life is truly precious and I am so blessed to have her as my mommy.
April 24th finally came. I knew whatever news I was going to receive, that it was going to be the first day of the rest of my life. The past four weeks had changed me. It was a wake up call to slow down, enjoy everyday and everyone in my life. It also taught me that your body is powerful and it doesn't matter how much of a control freak you are, it is going to do what it wants to do - the best way you can deal with it is to be aware. Especially as a woman, I now know its important to know your own chest because it is something I will need to be aware of for the rest of my life. My mom got to come into the room this time with me. The radiologist, who did the ultrasound and biopsy, was the one to deliver the results. He was a really nice man and I was glad that of all doctors I was paired with him. I was super antsy and just watched his mouth as he spoke - and then I saw the word B-E-N-I-G-N. I died. Holy Crap! Thank the man above, it's benign!! I felt so fortunate because I know that that is not always to case for everyone. The radiologist did continue to inform us that the lump will need to be removed soon. I have what is know as a Fibroadenoma mass. It increases in size because of hormones and mine is already 6cm wide (about 2.5 inches) and 3cm deep. My response, "Mmm Ya! Lets get this thing out!" We decided that it would be best to do this after I graduate in June - that way I will be home and my mom will be able to care for me. My mom and I left the breast center ecstatic! Other than making all the necessary calls to family, we went to my favorite bakery to pick up my favorite treats to celebrate. It was over. No more waiting and worrying, I could finally get back to living.
For anyone who has dealt with a similar situation, whether it being your health or someone close to you, I absolutely know how rough and unfair it seems. I definitely encourage you to talk about it - even if its just with a friend. Holding in all those emotions sucks and nothing feels worse than feeling alone.
Taking the time to reflect today has truly helped me, and I hope by sharing others find comfort in knowing their not alone.
(Promise I'll be back to my normal outfit posts asap.)
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