As You Read This (Continued)…

Confession: I’ve been trying to write this post for over an hour.

I am touched. All of your comments, tweets, and e-mails on my ‘As You Read This…’ post have completely blown me away.

I’m usually pretty good at putting my thoughts into words. Not tonight.

I don’t know where to start. So, maybe I’ll just start from the beginning…

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…I enter the exam room. The door closes. I wait…

The room is dark. My gaze is immediately drawn to the decorative fluorescent light covers that makes the ceiling look like there is a beach on it.

The door opens. The technician walks in and tells me to lay down on the bed.

She asks, “what side is it on?”

Nervous and embarrassed, I point to my right breast. She is a few years older than me. I wonder what she’s thinking.

As I lay down, she asks me to pull my right arm out of my medical gown. She pumps her foot down up and down on a pedal several times and the bed rises. Then, she rubs a cold gel over the spot I just pointed to.

I try not to feel awkward. This is her job. She does it every day.

Suddenly, I feel the pressure from the transducer press onto my breast. It hurts a little but I try not to think about it.

I stare at the ceiling. I stare at the beach…

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I turn my head to look at the monitor. I see the black mass that is inside my right breast. I watch as the technician draws circles on it on the computer screen. I can’t help but feel like a test object.

She works in silence. It feels like forever.

Finally, she seems to have what she needs, and says she’ll be right back with the doctor.

She leaves. I lay. I wait. I stare at the ceiling. I stare at the beach…

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The technician returns with the doctor. I feel even more insecure because the doctor is a man and I was expecting a woman.

He jokes briefly with the technician about the way she mispronounces his name. Then, he turns to me and gives me a serious look.

“Your tumor seems to be about the same as it was six months ago,” he tells me. He says that a biopsy doesn’t seem necessary and that he’s pretty sure it’s a fibroadenoma.

“You’ll have to keep coming back for follow-ups so we can track its growth,” he says. “In another six months, and then once every year.”

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And that’s it. I’m free to go.

I take one last look at the beach on the ceiling before I breath a sigh of relief, and head out of the exam room.

It’s over. At least for now.  (Note: I have an appointment with a breast surgeon in two weeks to confirm the results)

******

I think one e-mail I received said it best:

“Even knowing something is non-cancerous doesn’t make it any less scary”

I cried three times this morning.

  • The first time was while hugging Jeff before we left for my appointment.
  • The second was when I overheard the receptionist say that I might need a mammogram (If you read my last post, you know that I don’t do too well with mammograms)
  • The third was while I was waiting for the technician and doctor to come back in the room, just for the pure incredulity of the situation.

I chose to finally talk about my experience on my blog because I know I can’t be the only one who has ever gone through or who will ever go through something like this.

This is a very real thing that can happen to anybody.

I am only 23. I was 20 when I first found the lump.

It’s better to detect these sorts of things early on.

  • Please, PLEASE go to yearly check-ups at your gynecologist.
  • If you find any type of abnormality on your body, don’t ignore it! Get checked out!
  • If you are a man reading this, please make sure the women in your life are taking care of themselves.

Thank you for reading, and please spread the word!

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30 comments

  1. Oh yes Scary regardless! Just the possibility sent chills and I felt as if I were going to vomit…hearing it was not cancer still bothered with the whole unnerving process.

    i am really happy to hear you received good news…for me it was a true wake up call.

  2. Hey Rebecca, I am a new reader to your blog, I found it via Caitlin at HTP through her twitter link. I had to click on the link when I saw the words breast cancer. I am a 32 year old breast cancer survivor, diagnosed at age 30 with no family history or any other risk factors, except that I’m a woman. In reading your post, I was immediately taken back to my appointments almost 2 years ago and that feeling of fear and uncertainty that make it hard to breathe, let alone make it through a test. After mammograms and ultrasounds determined my lump was a fibroadenoma, I let it go for a year and a half, before I actually had the correct diagnosis of breast cancer…and a very aggressive type at that. When I finally got to my current doctor she told me something even scarier, that my mammograms and ultrasounds did indeed LOOK like a fibroadenoma, it was only through biopsy that they determined otherwise. Every doctor was shocked to say the least. I’m not saying this to scare you, although I’m sure you have a lump in your throat right now, but only to be aware, which you made very clear in your post and I LOVE IT! We all know our own bodies the best and we MUST be our own advocate! Everything you have explained and all the odds are in your favor, 80% of all breast lumps are totally benign, but I just wanted to tell you my experience because mine was clearly not. And I don’t think I could sleep if I didn’t at least tell you my experience! I’m so sorry if this has caused you worry or anxiety, because that was not my intention at all. I’m so proud of you for sharing your experience, because it is through posts like this that some other woman may have the courage to go get checked out and possibly save her life…go you!!! 🙂

    1. Erica, you’re right, your comment DID freak me out, BUT I’m happy that you wrote to me.

      I will def. mention this at my follow-up breast surgeon appt. in two weeks. Thank you! [e-mailing you now]

  3. Hey miss! I’ve been thinking about you a lot, I wanted to post some words of support yesterday but I just couldn’t come up with the right thing to say (weird, right?).
    Anyway, thank you so much for sharing your story, I know it wasn’t easy.

    I’m glad all is well (I knew it would be!) and I send you 10 million hugs 😀

  4. Thank you for sharing how surreal yet scary this situation must have been.

    Just one note to add. Men can get breast cancer too although it is much less common. We should take care of the men in our lives just as much as they take care of us.

  5. That was a very brave thing you did writing about it on your Blog! Thank you! Every woman should read this and do those self exams! Thanks for being so honest! ~ Take Care

  6. I’m so glad it was non-cancerous! That is such a scary experience! Earlier this year I found a lump in my breast that was painful. I went into my doctor and she wanted me to have an ultrasound. They couldn’t get me in for about a month, and that month was so stressful. Not knowing is so scary. Fortunately, my lump turned out to be benign. But it has made me a lot more diligent about doing self exams. When all of this happened I was 23, I’m 24 now. You can never been too young to start checking. I hope everything works out for you! Thank you for sharing your story!

  7. You are a brave soul. I know, because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been mammogrammed, ultrasounded, pricked and even operated on to remove benign cysts. I used to obsess about it b/c I too have to get checked every six months (I have fibrocystic disease). Finally over the past five years I’ve become peaceful with it. I’ve learned to love my “busy breasts” and accept the ongoing aspirations of fluid, checkups, waiting for results, etc. It’s a pain in the ass but I’m so thankful it’s always ok! Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. I am so glad it came back with good results! When my mom was diagnosed with cancer one of her comments was that it is far scarier to think about having cancer than it is actually have cancer… I agreed with her then (and now)

  9. Wow, that’s really scary. I thought I felt a lump a few years ago, which was super scary since I have a horrible family history (my mother and her mother are breast cancer survivors, two of my grandmother’s sisters are not, and my father’s sister had breast cancer as well). I went to my mother’s surgeon, who didn’t feel what I did but sent me for an ultrasound and MRI to prove it to me. She was right, thankfully. I started getting mammograms last year as well (at age 30, due to the history). I really liked the surgeon, who I saw through St. Peter’s Hospital at the time; I don’t know if she’s also affiliated with Albany Med or not. But the most important thing, which someone above told you in different words: You are your own advocate. I’m glad you’re seeing a surgeon; go with a list of questions and concerns and make sure everything is answered before you leave! And stay well!

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