Breast Cancer

I don’t know if I mentioned this before but I had cancer.  Recently.

It was a small spot on the breast that was painful and solid. Everyone said breast cancer isn’t painful. Mine was.

I noticed it in May when we moved into our house in California. I had helped my husband lift a table to move it around and accidentally bumped my boob with a corner. Ouch! I expected it to bruise, but several days later it was more than a bruise. It was a scary sore-like bruise. Black,purple-green-like. I started putting some oils on it and just kept my eye on it.

So it had been bothering me for awhile when I finally made the decision to have it checked out.  Here I had all this amazing insurance with my previous job and now I had nothing unless you want to count Medicare.  Figures.  Armed with the only insurance I had I did try to make appointments with doctors.  I thought it was going to take an act of congress to get an appointment!  Just say you have Medicare and no one wants to see you.  Not knowing how these things work, I called around for supplemental insurance and that too took awhile to take affect and then  you are limited as to who you can see.  Finally, three months later, I got in to see a doctor.

That’s the other thing about these plans, it seems they all require you to see a primary caregiver first before you get referred to the doc you really want or need to see. So I finally get checked out.

At first my doc didn’t think it was anything more than a hematoma, a blood clot type bruise.  My daughter, who is in nursing school saw it and insisted I keep at it, so I did. I get referred to the GYN office who then sent me to radiology and get checked it out from several different angles and then followed by sonograms. Back and forth in one day. Keep in mind, up until now, no one thinks it’s anything, even though my gut says differently.  Finally, later in the day, the doc who evaluates the film calls me to set up a biopsy.  (I think they take their findings to others in their group and confer about the films).   A biopsy was done and it was positive. I wasn’t surprised.

However, I wasn’t upset, worried or anything.  I guess at my age, whatever happens, happens.  Then again, I have a great team on my side who have a higher power on theirs. So I put this information up on FB and made my request. All my friends got to praying real hard on my behalf and they gladly did it and continued checking my posts for updates. I was amazed at how many people rallied for me. Even though I wasn’t frightened, my mind kept racing around thinking of all the things I hadn’t gotten to do yet. (the proverbial bucket list of items everyone probably has)

In December, I had surgery and radiation was then scheduled. Of course, it being over the holidays all that was postponed for after that and after my big trip cross country.

Well, here’s the best part.  The radiation doc said he highly recommended I do the radiation because even though I was cancer free, the cancer they did find were high grade cells, however I was at zero stage. It had not had a chance to break out and invade my body. My question to him was that if I have nothing, then how can you tell what affect radiation on nothing works? You can’t, he says. ” It’s just insurance.” At least he was honest.

Hmmm. I was a dental assistant in my younger days and I had to wear this little gizmo to gauge how many rems my body absorbed giving x-rays and I know there is a small risk in getting these mammograms (they are x-rays which contain radiation) and I just had 7 within a short period of time?  I told him I’d think about it. He was actually okay with that, so he’s waiting for my reply.

Leaving his office, I got into the elevator and a woman wearing head covering joined me. As the door was closing, I noticed how many more patients had shown up and noted the varying stages of cancer. In the meantime, the lady looks at my luscious head of hair and says, “You won’t miss it when it’s gone. You’ll get used to it”.  She smiles. I didn’t know what to say. Then it dawns on her to ask if I was having to do chemo. I shook my head and said, “Radiation”. She looks at me and says, “You’re lucky”.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her I might not even be doing that either.  It was all I could do to get to my car without bawling.

I don’t  exactly know what it was, guilt or gratitude that I was not one of them up in that room or empathy that so many suffer with such a horrible disease. Perhaps a combination of all that. It could very well have been me.

In the meantime,  the next day I had my first appointment with the oncologist.  Okay. Up until now, I’d seen the PC physician, the NP, the radiologist, the sonogram tech, the surgeon, and several other docs and the sweet breast cancer survivor support lady. Everyone as wonderful as can be. Last step is the oncologists to plan the treatments.

As I’m waiting in the room, I hear this child like voice outside talking and wondered if there was a kid out there and why.  A few minutes later, she comes in.  A tiny little thing, no bigger than a minute. She smiles, introduces herself and shakes my hand with tiny cold fingers. She then looks at her screen and in her small voice, immediately addresses my concerns (apparently everyone had logged in all my questions and comments) and says. “It’s optional”. “if you were going to get cancer, yours was the best to get”.  She said most people want to attack it aggressively and want to do it all. I didn’t have to because my cancer was encapsulated in a cyst and had never had a chance to branch out and invade my body.  My lymph glands were clean, nothing was found in them, so I don’t need to do anything. It was up to me.

I told her I had already planned a health regiment to change my eating and exercise habits and she thought that was a good choice. We parted with her saying, “I hope I never see you again in my office.” I wanted to hug her and wish I’d seen her first or at least right after the surgery.

In any case, I’M CANCER FREE!!!! May I live a long and prosperous life.  I could you know. (wink) God is good, all the time.

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