Monday, October 5, 2009

Thank God I felt my boobies!

I, like many women, was definitely not a once-a-month breast checker. I’m young, very healthy, have never smoked, and have no breast cancer history in my family.

One lazy weekend morning in March, I randomly felt up my chest. I happened to be laying in bed with my arm over my head…I felt a small lump under my armpit. After carefully feeling around both my boobs to make sure this wasn’t just my typical perky breast tissue, I ran to google breast lumps. I can’t tell you how BAD of an idea that was! Lucky for me, my husband was of sane mind, and told me it was probably nothing, but to see my doctor. I made an appointment, recapped my story to my doctor and let her feel me up. I had just seen her for my annual exam in December, and she didn’t feel any lump during that appointment. She chalked it up to my fibrous breast tissue and hormones…told me to wait it out for a few months and it would probably go away on its own.

I waited. And it didn’t go away. In fact (I thought it might have been my imagination since I touched it a million times a week even though my doctor said only check it once a week!) it seemed that it had even gotten bigger. I went back to the doctor. She measured the lump and compared it to the last results. The lump had grown…it had more than doubled in three months. She referred me to ultrasound, still convinced it was most likely a fibrous cyst and nothing to worry about.

The radiologist confirmed that my lump was a solid mass…I had a tumor growing in my breast, and a biopsy consult was scheduled for the following week. That was some really fun news to break to my husband–literally on the other side of the globe–over Skype. Lucky for me that he got on a plane that night to fly here. I had my biopsy, during which my surgeon told me that he would guess 95% that my lump was a fibroid tumor and nothing to worry about.

The following week, on September 1st, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I’ve learned more than I ever wanted to do about the c-word in the last 10 days. I know that I have a long, hard journey ahead of me as I fight this. I’m sharing my story because it helps me to get it out, but also in the hopes that it might help make women aware of the importance of feeling your boobies and following up with your doctor. I was incredibly ignorant to this disease; I am hoping I can dissuade others from feeling the same.

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