Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Those 3 words...

I have always been paranoid about lumps in my breast, so I’m constantly doing self-exams. While I was paranoid about finding a lump, I never thought I would find a lump! So, how shocked was I when I did find a lump on September 17th?!?! I immediately went into freak out mode! I spent that entire night tossing and turning trying to convince myself the whole thing was a horrible dream and I would just wake up to find there wasn’t a lump there at all…WRONGO!!!!! The next morning I woke up ready to go to church where we were beginning a new series titled, “Fear Less.” I thought if there ever was a sermon series that I needed to hear at this exact moment, this was the one! I cried through an entire song. I’m not one who likes to lose my composure in public, AND I’m DEFINITELY not a fan of crying all my make-up off in a public place! I don’t leave my house without a little something on my face! All I can say is, “Thank God for waterproof mascara!” As I sat there crying my eyes out & my make-up off, I felt a peace come over me. I knew God was with me & would not leave my side through the next 4 weeks of waiting and doctor appointments.

Everyone tells you not to worry about something like finding a lump, but that is so much easier said than done! First of all, I’m not an extremely patient person…I hope God is not trying to teach me patience here cause this will be a long, bumpy ride! I didn’t like the fact that I had to wait until Monday morning to call to try to get in to see a doctor. They couldn’t see me until Friday. I waited almost a week for the first appointment. I didn’t sleep much that entire week. I hoped my appointment on that Friday would provide answers, but it didn’t. I was told that I would have to see a breast specialist. I attempted to call that afternoon only to find that office closes early on Friday and I would need to wait until Monday to try to schedule an appointment. The sleepless nights continued. I was able to get in to that office on Thursday of that week. The ultrasound revealed the lump was a solid mass and I was sent to have a mammogram and a biopsy was scheduled. I was freaked out! I knew a solid mass wasn’t good! As a side note, did you know women should have a baseline mammogram at the age of 35??? They hurt like a MOTHER, but are important!!!!

I had a needle biopsy on October 10th and 3 days later I went back for the results. My fears were confirmed when my doctor looked at me and told me the biopsy revealed cancer. I’m 35, have no family history of breast cancer, and I have breast cancer….WHAT?!?!? Remember, I don’t like to cry in public, but cry I DID! It’s the craziest thing to receive this news, and then the doctor starts laying out a plan. No one was with me for this appointment, so all I could think was, “I hope she’s planning to give me this stuff in writing because I’ve heard nothing past, ‘You have cancer.’” As much as you prepare yourself for getting this news (and I do believe God prepared my heart to receive this news), you are NOT prepared to have someone look at you and say, “You have cancer.” Those are 3 words NO ONE wants to hear! Because of my age, I’ve had to do some additional genetic testing to determine why someone as young as I am has cancer. At 35, I don’t consider myself to be young, but if the doctor says I’m young…I will take it & use it!

The genetic testing required DNA to be extracted, but for whatever reason they had no one working who could draw blood on the day of my appointment. I’ve watched enough CSI to know you can get DNA from a cotton swab to the cheek. All my CSI people know what I’m talking about, right?! Well, that is not how they plan to extract my DNA. I took 2 shots of Scope (yes, the mouthwash) and swished each in my mouth for 30 seconds and spit it in a tube. I have not one clue how they plan to get my DNA from that, but I had minty fresh breath when I left that doctor’s office!

So, I have cancer…what’s next? I have decided for me that the best option is a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. While some think this is extreme for someone my age, I have weighed all options and feel this is the best choice for me. I mentioned I’m not patient, so I want to deal with it & never deal with it again! Based on other tests done during the biopsy, I will have to go through chemo. To what extent I have no idea…I’ll know more after surgery. I’ll be posting regular updates about my journey here. Please know that I plan to be as real and vulnerable as possible since this will be my outlet. My dad has always told us, “Attitude is everything.” I believe that, but I also believe laughter is the best medicine…and I LOVE to laugh…it’s my FAVORITE!!!! I plan to share those things that I find humorous because I’m sure there will be a lot of not so humorous moments I’ll be sharing, too.

Until next time…