On the morning of June 30th, 2013, I was getting ready for church. And then it happened, I felt a lump on my chest right above my left breast. At first I thought it might be a tendon or ligament, so I immediately started looking for a matching characteristic on the right side of my chest. It didn’t exist. It was definitely a lump!
The lump felt to be about the size of a quarter. I wondered to myself, “Is that a big lump, or a little one?” Then the dreaded “C” word – cancer – came to mind … and even worse, the highly feared breast cancer. Looking back two months, it still does not seem strange that I shrugged it off and wasn’t really too concerned about it. It seemed too high up on my chest to be breast cancer; and breast cancer doesn’t run in my family. Also, I had heard of people getting cysts in their breast especially with caffeine consumption, and I had developed quite a Dr. Pepper habit.
I told my husband about it and then did not even think about it for the next few days. I had had a very difficult client that I had severed a working relationship with just that week, and my husband who had been unemployed for several months, had finally been offered a job. Money was tight, and we had no insurance, so I decided to wait until Criss, my husband, started his job and we had a little bit of money coming in to do anything about it. About a week later I decided I probably needed to check it out. It took two weeks to get things worked out financially for the appointment. It had been 13 years since my last mammogram and they had significantly increased in price. Plus another diagnostic test, an ultrasound, was required to further analyze “the lump”.
I began calling institutions and facilities that do mammograms and found that I could not even schedule an appointment for myself. They all required a prescription from a referring physician. So I went to my doctor who agreed with me – I had a lump. No surprise there! Just a waste of $60 to tell me something I already knew, but I had my prescription in hand.
I was able to schedule the mammogram to take place exactly one month from the day I found the lump, July 30th. With only a few misgivings, lumps do that to most of us, I went to my appointment. They did a mammogram and an ultrasound. They found nothing else – just that one lump.
As I sat in the waiting room following the mammogram, I heard technicians telling other women who had gone in to be tested prior to me that their results would be mailed to them within a few days. When they called me back into the office area to discuss my results, I realized there really might be a reason to be concerned. They told me I needed to have a biopsy, and asked if I could come in the next day!?!.
So on July 31st, I went in for the biopsy. It was done with local anesthesia so I was able to watch each cut on the ultrasound machine. (I was not brave enough to look down at the instruments they were using where the actual cutting was being done, but the detached screen removed it enough from me so that I could watch.)
Kind of cool to see and to know it was me they were cutting on and I did not feel anything. That is, until the last sample. It shot through me like a hot poker. I swear that needle went all the way to my shoulder to take that biopsy sample. The doctor says it is usually painful to go through the center of the tumor despite the numbing of the anesthesia, and that was why she did them last. (Yeah, no one would stick around for more of that!) She should have warned me! Less than 15 minutes later, the doctor held tissue that would soon determine the road my life would be taking.
I had to wait 2 days for the results – two very long days. It’s easy to say, what will be will be, and that is indeed the case, but it is hard not to worry and wonder what life has in store for you. So now, I experienced the first of what I am sure will be many waits …
The story continues here.
The bills continue to pile up as Cindy battles cancer. If you would like to make a donation to help her battle the cancer, an account has been set up at GoFundMe. Your donations are appreciated.