On Halloween, my gynecologist did a breast exam on me and found a lump – another lump, one of many lumps found over the years which always turned out to be nothing after going for the mammograms and ultrasounds. I wasn’t concerned.
But when I went for the tests this time, the radiologist spent a long time reading my results and when he finally came into the room to talk to me, he advised me to have a biopsy. He sent the report to my gynecologist. When she called me the next day and urged me to see a breast surgeon,using the words highly suspicious and solid mass, I became concerned, and rightfully so. After the biopsy and MRI, I was diagnosed with Infiltrating Ductile Carcinoma.
I struggled to maintain consciousness as I sat on the exam table in the surgeon’s office, watching him point to my films on the light board His voice faded into the background while I tried to make sense of the build-up he was giving me before he finally uttered the word no one wants to hear, ever.
The only thing that kept me from fainting was the flood of rage that washed over me like a tsunami. How dare this happen to me? I’m ridiculously healthy, I nursed my children, I don’t drink, smoke or swear. Okay I swear like a motherfucker, but you get the picture. Plus, I’d gotten a mammogram every year for the past ten years – except last year.
I had no insurance last year, but I was healthy and I figured it was no big deal to skip a year. What I didn’t know was, given its size, it must have already been there two years ago. but difficult to see on the mammogram. In other words, cancer had successfully evaded detection and took full advantage of the year I skipped. Now the mass is 3 centimeters at best, 5 at worst, and I’m scheduled for a double mastectomy within the next 10 days.
Am I the guest of honor at my own pity party right now? You bet I am. But I’m telling you. Don’t you let your apparent good health make you stupid. Don’t allow a clear mammogram to lull you into complacency. Just because they can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Don’t ignore it if you notice that one of your breasts changes its shape, or if one breast sags a teeny bit more than the other all of a sudden. Yes, I noticed that about 5 or 6 months ago and attributed it to aging. I was wrong.
In terms of pizza consumption, today was a four slicer.