(continued from "How I Found It")
I received my letter August 10, with the results of the mammogram;
"your recent mammogram has been interpreted; it shows no features to suggest cancer"... "Please remember 10% of breast cancers can not be found on breast imaging"...see your doctor for a clinical exam if you haven't already done so."
Look familiar? If you are over 40, I hope it does. What does it mean? You've done your prevention and had your annual mammogram. It's your "I don't have breast cancer ticket" for another year. Whew.
Taa-daa. See not cancer. Some type of mid-life change. Nothing you can do about it. Deal with it.
Coincidentally, I had an appointment with my primary care physician the week after I received my letter. I mentioned the discharge to her and the visit to the breast health center. She said, "it's probably a good idea to go see the surgeon and have it checked out, 90% of the time, it's nothing, but there are some cancers/pre-cancers that don't show up on mammograms". "It's nothing probably, if you check it out and it happens again, you'll know the cause." For some reason, her explanation/presentation prompted me follow up.
Thank you God.
I made an appointment that afternoon. The surgeon couldn't see me until the next week, but I wasn't really concerned. I was just covering the bases to "be sure" everything was ok. During that week, there were some other changes that started happening with that breast, but nothing that would cause me to think I had cancer. Again, there were no lumps. Probably infection. I looked it up on the internet. Could be cancer, but could more likely be many other things.
I went to a party that weekend with wonderful friends we don't see often enough. We were catching up and I was lamenting about being a stay at home mom (being a stay at home mom is kind of out of character for me). I was trying to live in the moment with the kids, but really wanted to be working full time and there wasn't a lot of work to choose from right now. She said, "relax, maybe the universe is trying to tell you something." This benign, reassuring comment haunted me for days. I started to think, "what if it is something serious?" "what if the universe is trying to tell me something?" "What if the last year was a gift; to be with the kids full time because I wasn't going to be around for all of the other summers?" DRAMA. Get the drama out of your head. You're healthy. You're being mellow-dramatic. You're not sick. You've got to get a job. Really, too much time on your hands. So, I waited for the appointment and tried not to think about it anymore.
WHAT I ALWAYS TRY TO REMEMBER:
Of course this last year was a gift. It's all a gift. Everyday. Every minute. Sick or not. The time you have with friends and family is time limited...you live far away and don't see them much; everyone is busy right now and as soon as _____________(fill in the blank) you'll spend more time with them; if you work with good friends; layoffs happen, transfers happen and careers change; or they leave the world much sooner than we wanted them too. I've always tried to remember that, but it does get lost in the craziness of the days.
Be sure to make a point to ENJOY the holidays this year. Don't stress out over the stuffing, order pizza if you have to. Make sure you spend time with the people you love.