Thursday, October 15, 2009

Check yourself!

When I was 20 years old, I went through something that was bone chilling terrifying. Something that shook me, that made me take a look at how I did certain things and changed them.

I found a lump in my breast.

I was living at home, and went to my mom, asking her what I should do. She felt it, and agreed that a call to the doctor was in order.

During the next week I would start to dial, and hang up again. I didn't want to know that something was wrong with me, that there was anything beside a fabulous life ahead of me.

I finally called the doctor, and they saw me right away. At this time, it was becoming more common for younger women to develop breast cancer, especially when their family history has signs like mine did.

The doctor checked it out, and an ultra sound was ordered. I spent the next week waiting for that appointment, waiting for them to tell me that I was either sick or okay.

After the ultra sound appointment, they still were not 100% sure, so they didn't want to give me a firm diagnosis. They had a pretty good idea what it was, but didn't want to be wrong.

A Breast Biopsy was scheduled. My mom would take me, and I would be under a local medicine that would keep me loopy but not completely out of it. They would make a small incision and remove the lump, test it and let me know 100% what it was.

Hubby and I were just starting to date at this point, but he was freaked. He spent the night before sitting on the couch asking me 900 billion questions, including when I would be home so he could come over. He didn't want to leave that night, but sleep beckoned me.

The next day, Ma took me for my Breast Biopsy. My nerves were a tangled mess, my emotions were running on high...until they gave me the wonderful loopy meds. That is when I told the doctor the same story about Big Sis a few (10) times.

After the procedure I was ready to go home pretty quick, the perk of being on loopy and not knocked out. I rode home with an ice pack stuffed in my sports bra, bandages and mild pain meds.

Hubby came over that afternoon, along with my friend Krystal. Ice packs, pain meds and laughter filled the house as they took my mind off what I was waiting for.

A couple days later we found out 100% what the lump in my breast was.

Breast Fibroids, non-cancerous but left untreated can increase the chances of breast cancer later on.

I also found out that when I had my first exam the fibroid was the size of a dime, but when they removed it it was the size of a silver dollar. It had more than doubled in size in a matter of weeks. This fact was scary, but made me very aware of what I needed to do.

Weekly breast exams. While the best time is around your cycle, there are things that are more evident during non-cycle times. They think mine grew so quickly because my cycle was all screwy, so it was good that I found it when I did. I remember the episode of 90210 when Brenda finds the lump in her breast, doing a regular home exam. It pays to do it!

I also make sure to have my yearly exam at the clinic. Doctors and Midwifes are trained to find these things, and know when something is not right. I actually get checked twice a year, once when I have that lovely exam and once when I see my primary doctor. They are always so impressed that someone of my age is this concerned.

Having been through something so scary, and knowing that my family has at least one person that survived breast cancer makes it doubly important to take these precautions.

I make donations each year to help fund research, help cancer survivors and their families. I do my part so that some family someday won't have to go through the sort of pain so many are going through right now. I was in the clear, but so many each day are not.

As my favorite t-shirt says...Save the Ta-tas! Check yourself, and remind your sisters, mothers and friends to check themselves too.


pjmomof3boys said...

What a great reminder! I don't check myself nearly often enough, and I know I should...

~love said...

yes, thank you for the reminder. i'm a former nurse, mom, daughter, sister, wife, friend....WHY don't i do this on a regular basis?! i'm going to try to fix that. thank you.

Marketing Mama said...

Great post, thanks for sharing your experience (scary!).

jen@odbt said...

What a scare. I had a biopsy 2 years ago (right after Christmas) found via a mammo (b/c I have family history I got a mammo before 40). Thankfully it was benign but I'm a big advocate for self exams and mammos. Glad you're in good health.