A lump, a bump, a random pain or itch. These are all rather common symptoms that my pre-cancer self may have over looked at first. Nowadays, I search my body daily for any sign that my cancer has come back to take vengence over my soul. It is as if in my brain the cancer still resides. Its just hiding, waiting to make its next move.
Back up to a few months ago…
A few months ago, I was #feelinmyself , and noticed a small bump on the upper part of my right (cancer side) implant. Panic filled every pore of my body and I franctically began performing a thorough breast exam, comparing each sides, and praying John would be home soon enough to also feel and contrast. After a busy weekend, John got home and had to do laundry and get ready for the week ahead. We went out to dinner which got my mind of my new lump for a moment anyways.
We were getting ready for bed as I turned over to my loving hubby and said that dreaded phrase “I found a lump”. Now i’m sure if you’ve been following my story you know… im a little bit of a hyperchondriac with lumps and bumps these days. Whether it be on myself or Izzy, my fingers are like magnets! Ive found inflamed lymph nodes in my neck not too long ago, so this also gave me reservations about telling John and calling a doctor despite knowing what was the right thing to do. You don’t want to be seen as dramatic… but there is always that “what if” it is something really serious!
After I told him about the lump, I moved his hand over the spot that I found earlier in the day. To my surprise, he didnt say its nothing. I instantly got a frog in my throat and held back my tears. Why isnt he saying im crazy and nothing is wrong! Instead his response was “lets just call the doctor in the morning”. Well what the hell does that mean! Then my nightly anxiety kicked in…
A long sleepless night later, and my 6:00am morning alarm was much louder and more annoying than Ive ever realized before. Lumps and bumps aside, life goes on. I got ready for work, had a few meetings, and after running around with my kiddos all morning I was finally able to get a hold of my amazing oncologist Dr. Raymond.
Her nurse “Jackie” made me feel comfortable and also made time for me to come into the office after work. I once again, just like when I found my initial tumor explained to my boss, quite openly because truly I have no shame that I found a lump and had to go to the doctor. My job is soooo kind and understanding that she actually let me leave immediately and I was off to the hospital.
Each and every single time I return to the cancer center and see that welcome sign I want to vom. I remember first walking up upon that sign with John when I went for my ultrasound and biopsy… a huge sign with Cancer Center quite frankly SUCKS and is scary and depressing, and shouldnt be allowed;)
Anyways… I was taken back and my beloved oncologist Dr.Raymond did a physical exam and explained although she doesnt feel like it is anything serious, she would order an ultrasound to get a clearer look and put my mind at peace. So, I went from her office upstairs to the breast center and because i’m a creature of habit, I sat in the same exact seat as I did my first ultrasound and biopsy. I was the only one there so they took my right back.
The tech could tell how anxious and scared I was as the look of fear had to be radiating from my eyes. What if my cancer was back?! I took all the right steps and just feel good as new and boom! The doctor came in and tried to calm my berves by talking me through the exam. A whole lot of cold goo and multiple swipes with the ultrasound wand and the doctor replied…” i dont think its anything more than a ripple”.
A part of my body wanted to cheer and do a backflip… however my fearxiety kicked in and I didnt fully trust the phsyician. I requested her to check one more time which she so graviously did and once again nothing! I could partially breath! But I still had that unsure part back in my mind that cancer could be lurking around!
Fast forward to my 3 month checkup…
The past couple of months as been rather busy with training and new advocacy activities! I really havent had all that much time to freak over every bump or pain however still have rather frequent anxiety attacks at night. I was due for a 3 month follow-up with my oncologist and for the first time I didnt really have any pushing concerns! I was feeling good and determined to have a quick in and out “visit” per say vs. checkup.
When I arrived the office staff as always welcomed me with open arms and I was taken right back for vitals. Praise jesus, I finally was happy to see that the scale was reading my pre-cabcer weigt of 124!!!!! Wooty woot! Considering ive been hovering anywhere from 128-130 this was a hugeeeeee accomplishment (even though I have lots of toning that still needs to be done!)
I was taken back and my Nurse Jackie came in and gave me a huge hug! We talked about life as usual and she went to get Dr. Raymond. First a fellow came in and introduced herself. She conducted a breast exam and began asking me questions of which I decided to mention the only thing really bothering me aside from hating my implants, was this intermittent itching on the inside of my breast! And normally I wouldnt be so concerned however… aside from my tumor, itching was m only symptom that I had cancer to begin with!
She jotted down some notes and explained that she would go give Dr. Raymond the run down and they would be right back. In that instant I kinda realized this quick little meet up to say hi and get my foobs felt up may be turning into a once again not so fun appointment with potentially crappy news. Dr. Raymond returned within minutes and once again performed a very thorough exam. She explained that typically recurrence will forst show up around the scar line, which mine look very good! However, because Im not very typical with symptoms and side effects, she wanted further diagnostic testing just to be sure.
My immediate thought was “FUCK”! Like really, this is not the time for this BS! Im leaving for vacation Friday, I feel good, I look good… please dont let any “bad news” come out of this. I gathered my paperwork abd headed downstairs to get bloodwork and tests that my doctor ordered completed. She ordered a whole panel of blood tests, a breast MRI which I scheduled for when I return from vacation, and a test called Circulating Tumor Cell Test of the Breast…
Turned out, the typical lab in the hospital couldnt complete the test so I have to go to the specialty lab today. All in all, this has reminded me of a lesson. You may have beat cancer… but cancer always has a way of returning. Even through distant memory and anxiety, fear or recurrence. Cherish your health, enjoy every single moment in life, live like its tour last, and pray that everything will be okay!
Off to my test! I will write up a quick blog when I know the details:(