A few months ago, after showering, I felt something in my right breast that wasn't there before.
I felt a lump.
That night, I was nervous and worried and stayed up for hours examing one breast, than the other, to make sure I wasn't imaging things. Yes, there was definitely something there. Although I am a huge hypochondriac, I tried to put it out of my mind, and somehow, I didn't think about it again, until three nights ago. Lying in bed, I felt it again. A definite lump.
I went to the doctor on Wednesday, and after a thorough examination, I was told it was probably not cancer, but I should go for further testing, to rule it out for sure.
Thanks to our health care system, and thanks to very special doctors and nurses, I was able to go for a mammogram and ultrasound yesterday. The day went by quickly, and was filled with emotions, tears and concern from my entire family. My mom came to be with me, and my husband stopped by to see me from work.
At the imaging clinic, I had a consultation with a very nice nurse, and she marked my boob with an 'x', where the lump was.
I wore a gown, and walked into the mammogram room. It was painless and quick, and then I sat in the waiting room with my mom, who I always need during difficult times.
Going through a health concern as serious as this one is always uncomfortable, and your life suddenly flashes before your eyes. At least, it did for me. Everything gets put into perspective, and through the panic, there is also a feeling of calmness. (Who knows, that could have also been the Ativan I had taken, too.)
As a mother of two young children, the idea that something could be seriously wrong with me was a very real and present danger. Why not me? Although 34 is kind of young to get breast cancer, it is not that uncommon. I know many people who have had breast cancer and have passed away, and many more who have had breast cancer and have survived.
Seeing all the other women in the waiting room was a bit comforting. In a way, we were all in this together. All the charity events I've organized and supported, all those pink ribbons I'd worn, and all the money I've donated to friends involved with Run for the Cure, all of that was suddenly front and centre in my mind, and regardless of what the outcome would be with my tests, I knew that along with the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, breast cancer research would continue to be the other charity I wholeheartedly support.
As women, and as mothers, we should stay united in the fight against breast cancer. It's all too real, and it can happen to any one of us.
I had my ultrasound next, and then the waiting game started.
Questions were asked during my exam, questions like "Did the doctor feel the lump?" "How long has this lump been here?" and "Do you have a history of breast cancer in your family?" These questions only escalated the level of my worry.
During the waiting game, you start thinking... "Well, if I live 5 more years, at least..." or, "If I only have 2 years..." or, "Well, I could survive, too."
Waiting is the hardest part. Cue Tom Petty.
Luckily, my doctor read my results instantly and I received a phone call an hour later.
I received good news—it was nothing serious. It was not breast cancer. I was going to be okay.
When I saw my children a few hours later, I was relaxed and happy. I counted my blessings when I put them to bed. It's when I'm reminded how lucky and fortunate I am that I also remember to step back and enjoy the 'now'.
I want to do more support women and breast cancer research. I know a cure can be found in our lifetime, or in our children's lifetime.
Last night, I went to bed feeling thankful, but still thinking about others who received news that wasn't as good as mine. I wrap my arms around all those women.