My shower routine was the same but not the outcome. A lump. My heart stopped. It can’t be, I’m so young. Just 31. I shouldn’t find a lump and yet I know anyone can, from young to old, these scares spare few and far between. Everyone has a story; I’m left wondering where mine will go next.
I’ve been on my own for 3 weeks with 4 kids and I’m at my wits end emotionally. This is the worst timing; I have nobody to watch my kids. Off we go, 3 small children in tow, to the walk in clinic, on the way explaining to the kids that mommy has a sore and needs the doctor to look at it: meaning the doctor will see mommy without a shirt on and will touch mommy. “I’ll be ok.” I promise them.
My mammogram and ultrasound are soon to follow, less than a week later. I’m very thankful that I won’t be alone, my husband has returned from a month away. Together we go to the clinic: he’s holding my hand, whispering prayers for this lump to be nothing. We’ve arrived early, so I sit quietly, wondering so many things and yet nothing really at all. My mind is full and yet I’m unable to focus a single thought.
I walk into the mammogram room, looking at the ominous machine that is the lament of so many women. The technician asks many questions: When was your first period? Are you on birth control? Is there any family history of breast cancer? Previous surgeries? I know I’m at some higher risk because I got my period early and that I’m on birth control and have been for awhile now but I keep my voice even, trying to forget these facts.
Finally my breasts are lifted onto the machine and pressed, flattened out. It’s uncomfortable for sure but I more felt for women with small breasts because that is likely to be far more uncomfortable, at least I have room to stretch! Sitting in the chair, I’m watching the technician look at my mammogram, she leans in close to one of the films but ultimately she lets me go, I’m now off for my ultrasound.
The ultrasound is painless. There’s not a lot of chatter and I’m ok with that. The same questions are asked of me that the other technician asked; I was expecting them, having recited these answers twice already first to the doctor at the clinic and then to the mammogram technician, the answers come without thinking. She’s finishing up and tells me that I’m free to go. These women could be amazing poker players, their faces show no sign or hint of what they have or haven’t seen.
Now I am waiting. The waiting is what frightens me the most. I’m hanging in this balance of “am I sick or am I healthy?” I’m not sure I’m afraid of it being cancer, rather how my life would be affected if it were cancer. Will I be able to see my kids graduate, get married, will I ever be a grandmother? Will I grow old with the love of my life? I’m fine to lose my hair or even a breast but I don’t want my children or husband robbed of a future together.
This isn’t something I choose to talk about much. I have a few friends who know some of my inner thoughts. Of course we’re all hoping and praying that this isn’t cancer but my pessimism also brings me to the thought that “nothing else has been spared in our life, why would this be any different?” There is something strangely comforting in those thoughts, perhaps because we’ve overcome so much, what is one more thing? I’d rather it be myself than one of the kids, truthfully though I don’t want it to be any of us.
I have a number of days left to wait, 10 to be precise. I’m hoping to hear sooner but have resolved myself to accept the fact that I will have to wait until days before my 32nd birthday to get either the all clear or we need more photos or a biopsy. One’s mind can grow quite restless in times like these. Praying for the peace that only God can give and would appreciate your good thoughts and prayers as well.