Originally published in South Florida Parenting Magazine October 2014
That’s the sound the device made as it was pressed against my left breast. It looked scarier than it actually was, and I barely felt the needle pierce my skin. Truth be told, the fear I had leading up to that moment was much more terrifying than the actual procedure.
For three years I avoided the lump in my breast. I knew it was there, but I tried to forget it as if imagining it wasn’t there would make it go away. It started off small, like the size of a dime, but when I got pregnant with my daughter, I felt it grow bigger and move behind my nipple. My doctor insisted I get it checked. I honestly knew I should too! He told me that when you are pregnant, your hormones can make things grow faster.
I began catastrophizing and wondering if I could even be treated for cancer, if that’s what the lump turned out to be. I began remembering hearing that women from Long Island (NY), were at a higher risk for developing breast cancer and no one really knew why. My family has a history of cancer, with my Aunt Cindy having passed away at only 47 and leaving behind two kids. I began thinking about my daughter growing up without me and not being able to see her walk down the aisle. It moved me to tears.
I knew I had to do something, and avoiding the problem wasn’t going to make it go away. I scheduled the appointment, and braved the needle. And then, the wait……. Every moment of waiting feels like an eternity. It’s like being on trial and waiting for the verdict to find out if you are on death row.
Fortunately, the results came back and the lump was benign. They recommended I get it removed before I turn 50 as benign growths can turn malignant as you get older. Now here I am seven years later, and I don’t even feel the lump anymore. Now I am sure to check myself at least once a month and get mammographies every two years.
I can’t help to think about those other women who waited for results, only to find out they had cancer. Some of them have triumphed and some of them have succumbed. I pay my homage to them and encourage other women who might be avoiding a lump to get that lump checked out. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and early detection is key to survival.