I found a lump in early December while taking a shower. I wish I could say I was doing a self exam, but I wasn’t. The only reason I noticed it is because it was huge. The lump felt like it was a couple of inches across. I still didn’t want to do anything about it, but a coworker who is also a good friend convinced me that I had better go see my doctor. My doctor’s response to the lump was a little worrisome. I was discussing that my aunt has had breast cancer and she told me that she recently had to tell someone that they had cancer that did not have a family history. My doctor made the appointment to get me in for an ultrasound, but the soonest that they could get me in was December 30th. What was slightly aggravating is that they booked me in a different hospital than they wrote down, luckily they called to verify information related to my insurance, so I did show up at the correct hospital.
I have had a lump before several years ago. It was found during my annual visit and the response was that it was probably not an issue, but that I should have it checked out. I knew the process from that previous visit and had seen a benign lump in an ultrasound before. This one felt very different. I wouldn’t let myself think too hard about the test until a couple of days before. I started researching types of benign breast lumps online, and this one honestly didn’t fit that description. I was worried.
Mike had been able to get time off work to take me to the appointment. He was also pretty stressed out, but we kept trying to convince ourselves that it wasn’t going to be cancer. I am not sure what I would have done if he hadn’t been there with me.
The technician made that “uh oh” face when she placed the ultrasound over the lump. Last time I had been in for an ultrasound the technician had pretty much told me immediately that it looked fine and that she would still have the radiologist double check. This time the radiologist came in and told me that it didn’t look good and sent me in for the mammogram. When they brought me back in from the waiting room to do a second mammogram on the other breast I really knew the diagnosis before the words came out of the doctor’s mouth. He told me that there wasn’t any question, it was cancer.
They asked if I wanted to have the biopsy today or later on. I asked to get it today so that I can get moving on whatever I need to do to get better. When they were doing the biopsy Mike asked if there was any way that it would come back and tell us that it wasn’t cancer, the doctor told him that we shouldn’t get our hopes up about that. It was cancer. They did double check what turned out to be another lump in my other breast, which turned out to not be cancerous.
We used up a lot of tissues at the hospital, on the way home it was time to start telling people. I had sent a text message to my mom after the ultrasound, letting her know to brace herself. When they gave me the news I let her know. She had started to drive out to the hospital and turned around to meet us at the house. It was incredibly hard to tell my family, harder than I ever imagined (not that I ever imagined I would have to tell my family that I have cancer). We were in shock, deep emotional shock.
We had dinner plans with friends to go to a nice restaurant for my birthday. We considered canceling dinner, and we also considered canceling our New Years/Birthday party planned for the 31st. As it sank in I decided that I wasn’t going to put our lives on hold and we went to dinner. I probably looked like the saddest birthday girl that Franck’s had ever seen. I didn’t have makeup on because of all of the tears, and I had to fight back my emotions throughout the evening. Going out was worth it and dinner was beyond delicious and it was nice being out with friends rather than staying home being depressed.
We had a number of friends coming over on my birthday. We decided to go ahead and have the party and tell everyone the next day. I didn’t want to ruin everyone’s celebration. I put on the happiest face I could muster up and had a great evening with friends. I hoped that I would make it the entire night, but late in the night I finally cracked under exhaustion and broke down, which meant I had to go hide in a back room as I still was not ready to tell everyone.
The appointment right before a holiday weekend meant that I won’t get the results on what type of breast cancer I have until next week.