About month ago I shared a blog about waiting. What I didn’t share was the story behind the blog. Today, I am going to tell you the beginning of a story that is still unfolding.
After having the mammogram and an ultrasound I was ushered into a small, sterile room with two chairs a table and a phone. I tried to prepare myself for what was coming next. The radiologist knocked and walked in quietly. He quickly introduced himself and pulled a chair up so that his knees were almost touching mine. He bent forward, looked at me and said, “I’m so sorry but I am 95% sure that you have breast cancer.”
I wasn’t prepared.
I pleaded my case as if he might take it back if given enough evidence to the contrary: I’m only 48. I’m healthy, I exercise, I have no family history, I have no risk factors. I have three daughters…
He responded with a statistic of 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer regardless of their history.
I cried some more as I tried to listen to every word.
As I sit here today, having already gone through countless tests, appointments and even surgery, it still feels as though it’s happening to someone else.
I have kept this diagnosis close to home. I wanted it this way because I want to be me. I don’t want to be a statistic. I don’t want to be a patient. I don’t want this to be the center of conversation when I go to volleyball games, out to dinner, or see someone at the store.
I don’t want this to define me.
The truth is that on August 30th, a biopsy confirmed that I have breast cancer. I know that I am one of the lucky ones. More than one doctor, including my surgeon, has told me how fortunate I am that they found it. It was subtle. It was in the outer quadrant of my breast. In fact, it barely made it into the picture of my July mammogram. Additional mammograms, ultrasounds, MRI and biopsies told the complete story.
Every single one of us know that screenings, like mammograms, are important, but we don’t always do it. We are busy, we don’t have the time and we assume we will feel it. I couldn’t feel it. My doctor couldn’t feel it. My surgeon couldn’t feel it.
But it was there.
I am not ready to share my whole story. I am still in the midst of appointments and awaiting official treatment plans and some days are hard. I will tell you that the cancer did not spread and my prognosis is good. I still don’t want this to be the center of my world. I don’t want it to define me, but it is part of me now.
I have decided to share this portion of my story because it happens to be October. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and sometimes we become immune to the voices telling us to get a mammogram or whatever screening we are putting off until next month.
I can relate.
Sometimes, though, when we hear a personal story of someone we know it hits home and I cannot escape the fact that my cancer was found because of a ROUTINE MAMMOGRAM.
So, here is my Public Service Announcement:
GO GET YOUR MAMMOGRAM. DON’T WAIT. IT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE!
My story continues to unfold everyday and I promise to share it all with you when I am ready because it’s what we do here at Lowi & G. We share our lives and if I leave this part out, I am not being honest with you or myself. Bear with me as I navigate this new territory. If you call me I might not answer. It’s not personal and I’m not ignoring you, I’m just not ready to talk.