Saturday, August 7, 2010

June 27, 2008: from lump to diagnosis

About 3 weeks ago, while showering, I felt a lump in my left breast. At first I thought nothing of it because I’ve always had dense, lumpy nodules. I felt it again and thought to myself “Well, this feels different than any other lump I’ve felt before.” It was hard and round; it felt kind of like a marble and it moved around quite a bit. I suddenly felt scared. I got out of the shower and had my husband feel it. He immediately told me to call the doctor.

When I went to the breast care clinic, the nurse I saw told me that it moves too much to be a tumor and that it’s probably just a cyst. She said that many women my age (37) get cysts. She stressed the part about it moving too much to be a tumor. I felt at ease; my panic was gone. She also said that I should go ahead and schedule a mammogram, though, just to be safe.

And so I scheduled a mammogram, but for a couple weeks away since I didn’t think it was very urgent and I had to figure out who was going to babysit my daughters (1- and 2-years old at the time) while I went for the mammogram. The date came and I went in for the x-ray and they told me that they saw something questionable, so they’d like to do an ultrasound. They tried to make it sound like it was no big deal, but my heart started racing. Not at all what I expected – I was sure, based on the reassurances I had gotten from the nurse at the breast care clinic, that I was going to be told it was a cyst.

The ultrasound confirmed that there was definitely something there and it was not a cyst, and they wanted to do a biopsy. It may be a tumor, but many women my age have fibroadenomas (benign tumors) and it may just be that, since that is more common in women my age than cancer. The fear and tears came pouring out anyway. I tried to call my husband but my cell phone didn’t get any reception. This was not at all what I had expected this day to be like.

I came home feeling scared and anxious, even though I had been put at ease somewhat and truly expected to hear that it was a fibroadenoma. I just wanted to hear the results and move on. Five days later, I received the call – BAM! Invasive Ductal Carcinoma with Lobular features, grade 3 breast cancer is what I was told; that was two days ago. All I could say was “Oh my God, I’m 37 and I have cancer!”

The first couple of days I was so angry. I kept thinking that I nursed both my babies for 14 months each and that’s supposed to help prevent breast cancer, damn it! Of course, I nursed them because it was best for them, too, so I have no regrets, but dang it was I mad!

I’m better now. I’m calm. I’m strong. I will get through this. NO WAY am I leaving my girls! NO WAY! NOT AN OPTION! I feel otherwise normal; at times I feel like I should be crying but I’m not and that surprises me. I just really want to make it through this, no more bad news please. I don’t need any more on my plate right now. I have to deal with cancer on top of the move, and packing, and house buying and all the other logistical details – WHY ME?

Someone out there has a plan for me and I really hope that it soon becomes clear to me – and I hope it’s good, because this is a hell of a test I’m being put through.

We are moving across country in six weeks and I still have to pack up our house, but now I have to decide what type of surgery I want to have in a week – lumpectomy or mastectomy. How do I decide??

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