Wednesday, February 19, 2014

{ that time I found a lump in my breast }

If you've been reading my blog for awhile now, you'll remember a few summers ago when I posted about my mom's breast cancer. You can read all about it here. My maternal grandmother had it too, and because of this, I regularly check myself - just in case.

I'm a paranoid person by nature (remember when I thought my house was haunted and when I let WebMD talk me into thinking I was dying?!) and when I do the self breast exams, I always think I feel a lump here and there. I push and prod and compare it to the other side, but it's usually nothing I worry about. Sometimes I mention that I thought I felt a lump during my annual exam, but the doctor feels and says they're just fine - nothing to be concerned about.

Well about a week ago, I was showering and felt a dime size, hard ball in my right breast. I froze. I felt it again. It wasn't like any other "lump" I'd felt before. I compared it to the other side in the same spot. No, lump on the left. Panic immediately overcame my body and I started bawling. Suddenly visions of IV bags, hair falling out, and my family rushed through my head. I thought of my son and about lost it. Luckily, the tiny, reasonable side of me came out and slapped my panic across the face. "GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF, WOMAN!" I took a deep breath and made myself calm down. One step at a time, Shan. I couldn't let myself get carried away again and as soon as my hands were dry enough to hold my phone, I called my doctor.

As luck would have it, I was able to get in right away with my gynecologist. Maybe it was because the receptionist heard the panic in my voice when I told her I needed an appointment, or maybe it was because my voice cracked and I started crying when I told her it was for a breast check - either way I was so grateful to get in!

When I got to the doctor office, they took me back right away and had me change into a tiny paper gown blouse and then I waited....and waited...and waited. I was so nervous and swallowing the ever growing lump in my throat was getting harder to do. But, because I was nervous, I was getting sweaty, which meant I was getting swoob (sweaty boobs), which is NOT good when someone is about to feel you up to confirm what you think you feel. I quickly grabbed some tissues and of course, as luck would have it, the doctor walked in right as I was mopping myself up - HA.

I told her what I had felt and held my breath as pointed to the area I felt the lump and waited, watching her face as she felt for it. I knew the minute she found it. She paused, her brow furrowing, as she compared the other side. She felt again and said, "Hmmmm...." She sat me up and my heart started pounding when she did feel something unusual, BUT  it felt like a smooth lump (I guess the bad ones aren't smooth?) Probably nothing to worry about, but she was going to have me get it checked just in case. I walked out of the office and again, my mind raced with all the possibilities and I started to cry.

Because of Presidents Day, I had to wait until Tuesday for my appointment. I was thankful for a busy weekend that took my mind off the pending appointment, and I hadn't let myself think about it too much. My neighbor was gracious enough to offer to sit at my house while Baker napped, so I could go to my appointment, and when I pulled into the hospital parking lot, all I could think was that the next hour or so could bring life changing news. The anticipation of relief or heartbreak was too much and I wished I had someones hand to hold as I walked in.

I never imagined myself going into the Womens Imaging Center at the hospital until I was older. I'm 31. I figured the first time I'd visit was when I turned 40 for my first mammogram, so it felt odd as I checked in and then changed into a hospital gown with the open side in front. Instead of a mammogram, my doctor ordered an ultrasound and the tech who performed it was so sweet and so kind. She validated my concern, but she assured me that most of the time, it's nothing. Still, she said, it was best to check, just in case. She began the ultrasound over the area I told her the lump was. I watched the monitor in anticipation, unable to decipher what I was seeing. Everything looked normal to her - it was just a regular boob lump, as boobs tend to be lumpy. Relief flooded over me and I was feeling better as she examined my whole breast.

Suddenly, she stopped moving the ultrasound wand over a specific area of my breast and started snapping screens shots of whatever it was she saw. She pointed to a little oval area on the screen and explained that it looked different. My heart sunk. Then she measured it on the screen, the way the measure the fetus when you're getting a pregnancy ultrasound. When she told me she needed to talk with a doctor to see what he thought, I once again started to cry. It was in an area that I wouldn't have been able to feel it as it was pretty deep, and my mind carried away and I thought for sure God had made the lump in my boob so I could feel it so they could find this other area I wouldn't have been able to feel. I prepared myself for the worst, when the tech came back in. She said the doctor said it looked fine. Nothing to worry about. I was fine. No cancer. I am healthy. And then I cried.


Alexandra Haralson said...

Oh girl, I'm sorry you had that scare! I had a scare of my own at 26 years old. I thought the worst, it's so hard not to. I'm so glad you're fine!Thanks for sharing your story.

Melody Pellegrin said...

I am happy you are well!

BECKY said...

So scary. Glad to hear a happy ending. You are so wise to check so often.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, been there done that, soo many times...actually my baby cancer was announced after an exam that I wasn't the least worried about. huh?! so glad everything is okay and keep up those exams : ) MoM

Julie McHood said...

Oh did I miss this on instagram?!?! Scary! I'm SO glad you are ok though.

Brittney said...

I'm so sorry, Shan. I am glad you are so proactive and taking control of your health. Big hugs, I hope you feel better.

Hawleywood said...

I was holding my breath the whole time I read this! I remember reading about your mom's cancer on both of your blogs. I'm so, so, so glad you're OK. It's funny how you can not know someone at all but through the magic of the internet feel like they're a friend.

Michelle Day said...

I am so glad you are ok! What a reminder for us all old and young to do breast self exams. Whew!!

laurabedkehansen said...

Scary! I am so glad it's all OK. You are so smart to be checking regularly. Just reading that post had my heart racing. You are a really good writer!