Yuck. Hard words to say. To type. To read. To hear. But but it has to happen, because it’s real.
On September 20 I found a lump in my right breast. As soon as I found it, I knew I had breast cancer. I shouldn’t have known (because 80-90% of breast lumps aren’t, and only imaging and/or biopsy can diagnose-so don’t be scared)…but I did. I hoped I was wrong. I wanted to be wrong.
Now, 3 weeks, 2 ultrasounds, 1 mammogram and one surgical consult later I’ve been given a radiologist’s report that says: “findings are most compatable with a 1.2cm right primary invasive breast malignancy” and “highly suggestive of malignancy (>95%probability)”.
Yup. I have breast cancer.
(Unless the biopsy shows I don’t but the chance of that is very very slim now…so my hope has moved into other areas)
I know people have lots of questions. I’ll try to answer them here:
How was it found? I found it myself doing a self exam. My next doctor’s appointment is not till January, and according to the surgeon she might not even have found it because it’s a bit hard to find. Because I am low risk and only 41, I wouldn’t have had a mammogram for years. Even if I would’ve, it barely shows on the mammogram (I’ve been told they probably wouldn’t have noticed it on a screening mammogram because it is small and I have dense breast tissue, they could see it on my diagnostic mammogram, because we knew they were looking for it and exactly where). There’s every reason to believe that I can very early and will have an excellent prognosis. That’s because I did self exams. Do them!
Do you have a family history? Not really. A second cousin but not my mother or grandmothers or aunts. I’ve been tested for the BRCA 1 and 2 gene mutations, don’t have that either. At 41 I’m very low risk. Oh well.
What’s next? A biopsy on October 19. It could be negative but it’s very very unlikely. (See notes above from radiologist’s report). It’s really just a step that needs to happen.
Then, unless the finding are very unexpected, I will have a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy (sometime in November I anticipate).
Results of that will guide my treatment. I will most certainly need radiation therapy, and if the cancer is in the lymph node or particularly aggressive, chemo too.
How are the kids? They don’t know. I’m waiting as long as I can to tell them, probably I won’t until a few days before surgery.
Being with them is hard, I am conflicted between wanting to stay close to them, and wanting to push them away so they don’t see the tears as I think of breaking their hearts with this news, and knowing that they both are now at higher risk of breast cancer.
How is Adam? He’s my rock.
How am I? It changes. The first couple weeks were awful. I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep. Those 5 pounds I struggle with, they were gone.
Now, this has become my new normal; knowing that I have breast cancer, waiting to get more information and start fighting it.
Usually I’m OK. I’m doing everything I’ve always done. I’m working, running, spinning, going to yoga, hanging out with my friends and family. I’m trying to stay positive and maintain my sense of humor…because if I don’t laugh I will cry. Physically I feel fine for the most part. A bit tired most of the time, because even though I’m sleeping and eating well (ish) again, stress and anxiety is still exhausting.
Every once in a while I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut with those words again…I have breast cancer…and all the things they mean, but I take a few breathes and go on with my day. I have to.