Monday, July 12, 2010

Thankfully, a Short Journey

Thank you all for the love and support that I recieved through comments, emails, FB messages! I'm glad to be back as it seems my brain never shut down when thinking about how I would break things down on my blog. It's a disease. Really.

I have so much to talk about. So many things I want to share. Way too much of a headache at the moment to put pics together to make it so! Therefore, I thought that would bring us into a little journey I had while I was gone.

So let's start here...

Any guesses?

David and Goliath? Small little bouncing sing-a-long ball vs. a piano? How about the Princess and the Pea's mattress and pea? Ohhh, getting closer!

The small red ball on the left would be the approximate size of something I felt in my left breast. It's about the size of a green pea--just slightly larger. The right side would be the ACTUAL size of the tumor that was removed from my breast last month.

Yes, it's a polymer clay replica. No, I didn't bake it to make it a permanent replica. :)

I discovered it one night while Chris was out of town after I was trying to pinpoint some pain that I was having. I regularly do self breast exams. It's not something I really take lightly having 3 grandmother's with breast cancer. I hate to admit that I totally lost it at 12 in the morning after feeling something noticeably different. The tears were uncontrollable and I can't remember the last time I felt that devastated because I really didn't know what other non-tumor options it could be.

I first called Chris, but he didn't answer. Then I called my sister-in-law because in all the panic I forgot that she was celebrating a big occasion. She had a good reason for not answering as she was busy playing Mario Wii on her anniversary. ;) Chris called back in the mean time and we both sat quietly on the phone together. Me sobbing. Chris not knowing what to say. Chris suggested I call and wake up his mom and because she non-officially has MD after her name, I decided it would be a good idea. I called, woke her up, and completely forgot to start off the conversation with "everybody is okay" before I attempted to get the words out of my mouth. Because I totally wasn't okay. But after a bit of chatting and googling, we got off the phone and I felt a little bit more at ease that it could be and probably was just cyst.

The next few weeks consisted of doctor's appointments, a mammogram, an ultrasound, and blood work. The mammogram and ultrasound showed nothing there and the imaging center proceeded to tell me that there is nothing to be concerned about and to call and let my doctor know if anything changes. My doctor being an advocate for great breast health had already told me that it didn't matter what they said and that I would be taking my scans to a breast surgeon for his opinion. I'm glad that I listened. Because of my "high density breast tissue" (aka my super breasts!! dahh da da dahhh!) the lump wasn't showing up on the scans. Which wasn't too surprising because it was the size of a pea...or so I thought. The surgeon agreed that nothing was showing on my scans, but was able to feel it right off the bat and said that there was something there. He then informed me that it definitely wasn't a cyst which meant that it was a tumor. He said given my family history, he felt it was in my best interest to remove it and then do the biopsy. Either way, benign or malignant, it was coming out.

They scheduled me for my surgery and then it was time to wait some more. Finally, the date and several in family arrived. Of course, I didn't have a general anesthesia with my c-section so that was a new experience and very nice to not remember anything happening. I spent the next week entertaining my family with the side effects of the heavy drugs I was on. They thought it was all funny and I really didn't care! I had a 2 inch incision on the outer part of my left breast. We joked about the big incision for such a small lump. Little did we know how big it was until I got my pathology report back. It was 2 inches x 1 1/2 inches x 1 inch tumor. Which doesn't seem HUGE until you think of where it was. And it was BENIGN! Which is all good news there!

Tears were common during those weeks and moments of panic were certainly present, but I'm thankful for the time I really got to spend in prayer and coming to understand peace in a different way while waiting. Healing is going great and I don't think that my scar will be too gnarly. He says my left breast may appear to be smaller than my right now, but I haven't really checked. I guess it's not that important to me. My doctor suggested that I get genetic testing done and I have yet to decide if I'm going to go through with it. I'm not sure if it is worth knowing even if "knowledge is power" or if there is really anything I could do differently to further prevent it from happening if my genetics told me something important.

So do your self exams ladies! It's important no matter what age you are. Did you know that younger women are more likely to have more aggressive cancers than older women? Consider that and the fact that it's not uncommon for us younger ladies to have high-density breast tissue which makes it really hard to see a lump on a mammogram. Our detection is knowing our breasts and checking them periodically to feel for changes.

One last tit-bit (okay, sorry had to! even though I HATE that word!)--Did you know that once you are able to feel a tumor in your breast it has most likely been growing inside of you for 6-8 years prior? I never would have thought!

(should I admit that I really wanted to title this post "Breasts, Balls, and Mattresses" or "A Tale of Two Breasts" even though it was really only one? Yeah, probably not!)


Becky said...

I am so glad everything is okay. My mom is a breast cancer survivor, so I fully understand your concerns.

Kelly T said...

This is intense... thanks so much for sharing it with us. I truly cannot imagine all the emotions, feelings, THOUGHTS, that you would've been bombarded with. Oh how I praise God that all is well and that you are still praising Him today! Love you, friend.

T. E. said...

Wow...that is one huge tumor! I am so glad it was benign and you are recovering well. Praise be to God for His watchcare over you! Thanks for sharing your story.

Andrea said...

I understand your state of panic upon finding the lump, as I have been through a scare myself. It was traumatic and I don't think you ever realy become at ease with the situation. My breasts are dense as well and I have fibrocystic breast disease.

So happy you shared this post, as you may very well save someone's life :)

Cherish This Life! said...

I love the clay comparison, well, not love but you know what I mean. I am very visual and that just amazes me that it could be that big. PTL that all is well and you are on the mend, you are in GOOD hands!

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