Monday, October 4, 2010

October Is...

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Please please please get your mammograms Ladies.

Since September 20 I have been waiting to have an unltrasound on my left breast. The mammogram showed a "mass". (Well, there was a technical term for it but it has left my brain.)

I finally went this morning to get the ultrasound. I am cancer free. The "mass" was -- they don't know what it was. An anomoly.

For the last 14 days I have been a wreck, wondering, worrying, waiting. I wrote out my will, I planned my career arc, I wrote a short story, I worked on revisions, I worked in the yard. I did everything I could to put this out of my mind.

But it remained, stuck, until this morning and after the ultrasound, they did another mammogram to make extra sure. There was nothing.

So, I'm cancer free. Yay. But it lingers, in the back of my mind. If not now, when? My father had lung cancer (5 years cancer free knock on wood) my mother has a melanoma they're treating. My aunt had her lymph nodes removed. It scares the shit out of me that I may eventually get the disease. I don't know whether to want it now when Monster Baby is young and I'll get over it, or wait until later, when she is older when it will be harder to fight. Truthfully I don't want it at all.

So get your mammograms ladies. Please. If you don't do it for yourself, do it for your kids. The earlier they catch it, the better off you'll be.

27 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Remember, worry won't make it better. Not that you'll stop of course.
I think every football player was wearing pink yesterday, too.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Anne, I wish I'd known. We could have been supporting each other right now. I found two lumps in my right breast last week. Mammogram and ultrasound were performed Friday afternoon. Waiting for results now. Doc says she expects they're calcifications, as they feel more "superficial" to the touch, as if they are more in the skin than in the breast tissue. Still. I won't truly relax until the results come in.

I posted about Breast Cancer Awareness month on Friday. I plan to tweet reminders to self-exam the ta-tas once a month. It's funny how much more important it becomes when cancer knocks on the door.

So glad you're healthy. Even if the disease is in your family history, there are no guarantees you'll get sick. What we eat, how we live our lives, and staying informed can make a huge difference. From here on out, consider me part of your support system!

Love ya,
Nicole

Theresa Milstein said...

Cancer is a scary, horrible disease. I'm so sorry you had 14 days of worry. All we can do is live our lives, eat healthy (mostly), exercise (sometimes), and get regular check ups. I haven't had a mammogram yet, but this may be my first year. Take care of yourself!

lotusgirl said...

I'm so glad you're okay.

Clarissa Draper said...

In the last two weeks I've noticed one of my breasts in larger than the other. It's probably nothing but as a woman, your first thought turns immediately to breast cancer. I do regular checks but my breast are so lumpy it's hard to tell. I guess the best thing for me to do is go to the doctor. Thanks for this post. My grandmother died of breast cancer.

CD

Summer said...

So glad to hear you're alright. My maternal grandmother developed breast cancer when she was in her early 40's, has a mastectomy and chemo...then, last year--over 18 years later, it came back with a vengeance, all in her bones. They took an extremely aggressive stance and have put it back into remission.

My junior year of college, I found a lump in my right breast. Twenty years old, pretty sure the breast cancer that had since spread to all the remaining women in my mom's family (except for my mom, so far) had found me. I went through a series of tests over the course of a few weeks, so sick with worry and trying to adjust to a new university.

I finally had an ultrasound done and a surgeon's exam, and they decided I have fibrocystic breast disease. It was an enormous relief, but I check myself religiously and do my best to eat right and exercise.

So, so glad that everything worked out for you.

Elle Strauss said...

Your experience sounds like good short story material. So, happy to hear you're cancer free. I'd go with the not at all option. :)

Piedmont Writer said...

Thank you so much for sharing your stories with me today. It means so much.

Nicole -- You're in my prayers.

Clarissa -- get that checked.

Theresa -- You have to start sometime. Now would be good.

Lois -- Thank you.

Summer -- Twenty years old, I would have been nonfunctional.

Elle -- Believe it or not, I wrote part of a short story already. Yesterday as a matter of fact.

Alex -- Gotta love those big bad boys who aren't afraid of a little color.

Dominique said...

I'm glad you're cancer free. That's always good news.

Las Vegas Writer said...

Thank you for this post. I'm glad everything worked out for you.

Bish Denham said...

I'm SO glad you are okay. But remember to breathe in breath out. As someone I know is fond of saying, "Don't get previous." You don't want to worry yourself into ill health. Focus on the present.

Wendy aka Quillfeather said...

Very sorry to hear, Anne. The waiting and wondering must have been agonizing for you.

So delighted to hear you have the 'all clear'.

Thinking of you x

Elliot Grace said...

...she'd curse me for speaking of this, but right now wife is doing just that. In honor of the cause, she goes every October, gets herself checked, and comes home with a thumbs up. As soon as we see the pink cleats being worn on Sunday afternoon...we know it's time:)

DL Hammons said...

Phew!!! Thank goodness!

SAMUEL PARK said...

Congratulations. Very glad to hear it was nothing. As Alex mentioned in his comment, it is a waste of time to worry--and yet it is impossible not to when it comes to one's health. So happy you got some good news. Great post.

Sandy Shin said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through the two weeks of worry, but I'm glad it isn't malignant.

Ariel Swan said...

Congratulations. I am so happy to hear that you are okay. A member of my family (through marriage) was just diagnosed. My thoughts are with her and all who are battling breast cancer.

I guess the fact that you wrote to keep your mind off things answers the questions as to whether others use writing as their escape.

The Words Crafter said...

I am sooooooo glad you got back a good report. Two years ago, I had to have a nodule removed. It came back negative. It is terrifying to have to wait and think about all the possibilities. I will keep your family (and all of us) in my prayers.

Shelley Sly said...

I am so glad you're okay, but so sorry that you were worried. I would have been worried with you had I known. Potentially cancerous health issues are nothing to take lightly -- I feel like I meet more and more people with cancer, maybe because I'm getting older.

Liza said...

Thank goodness you are OK. Have been there, done that...and have a lump that never goes away that reminds me of the scare all the time. Thank you for reminding us all to take good care.

Stacy McKitrick said...

When I was 17, I had my first lump in my breast. I had to have it removed to join the Army. The doctor said he was 99% sure it was not malignant, but after the surgery when they said it was benign, I cried. I didn't realize how stressed I was until I knew I was okay.

I've had several lumps since then. I'm afraid that one day I'll find a lump and think it's nothing (since it always is), but that one time it won't be. So, I get a mamogram every year and when I find a lump, I go to the doctor. Better to be safe than sorry!

Glad you're okay and hopefully you'll never have to go through it again.

Hannah Kincade said...

A friend of mine had a bit of a scare. I'm still pretty young for mammograms but I do self-exams and my doctor checks every year. There's no history in my family but that doesn't mean much. I will def get mine regularly in a few years.

Anne R. Allen said...

So sorry you had to go through this. I have gone through it too--as far as going through a horrific, un-anesthetized, totally unnecessary biopsy that almost killed me. I've discovered since that that 90% of the time, these scares do nothing but make money for the medical-industrial complex and cause nearly unbearable stress for us.

When a new study showed that mammograms vs. self-exams only give you an 8% improved survival rate, I decided I would NOT go for more mammograms. They will always find "something" because they left a marker implanted in my breast, so they've invented a money-making machine out of me. Stress is the greatest source of disease. These people create stress.

Christine Danek said...

I'm so glad. Breast cancer runs in my family. My grandma and aunt both went through it. My aunt is a survivor, my g-ma has passed. It is always in the back of my head but we must think positive thoughts. The negative ones only make it worse.
Take care and I'm glad you are well.

Elaine AM Smith said...

Oh, I am so glad your lump was just lumpy. The waiting must have been hell.

VR Barkowski said...

So glad to hear all is well. Can't imagine how horrific the wait must have been. I don't know anyone who's life hasn't been touched by cancer in some way, either directly or tangentially. It's a truly terrifying disease.

Lola Sharp said...

OMGoodness...I'm sorry I'm so late to this (I've been revising and mostly off-line...still am, but occasionally I pop in and check on my favorite friends, to catch up w/ you)...I AM SO GLAD YOU ARE OKAY.
But, it breaks my heart thinking of you worrying alone.

Love and hugs,
Lola