Thursday, September 25, 2008

My big scare. By Stephanie age 32.

So I've been walking all the time and the place I walk the most is very heavily wooded. I had a huge amount of bug bites on both of my legs and on my arms and so when I was putting on deodorant one day and felt kind of ouchy about it, I figured I had gotten a bug bite under my arm.

Yes, I know that sounds crazy. But it made sense at the time.

It didn't feel better for a few days, so I looked at it again and noticed that it was red and raised and kind of bumpy. I felt of it and I definately felt a lump. Not a bug bite, but a definate, sincere, raised lump.

But I didn't freak out, you know? Why would I. It's just a lump under my arm. Could be a million things, right? Of course.

That night I was doing my civic duty as a woman and the daughter of a breast cancer survivor and feeling myself up.

And then I felt a lump.

It felt sort of the same as the one under my arm.

I felt again, just to make sure. Because, see, I'm kind of paranoid about breast cancer. I have been for a long time. I didn't want to see something that wasn't there.

I felt it again. It was there.


I still didn't panic or freak out. I went to bed. The next day I went to work and as soon as the doctor's office opened I called them and said, "I need to come in, I have a lump".

So they asked me to come in the next day.

So I did.

And the doctor?

Found a total of three more lumps. In addition to the two I had already found.

And then the doctor?

Said, "How old was your mom when she was diagnosed?"

And I heard myself say, "Forty".

She said immediately, "Let's get this checked out right away".

I sat in the examining room, waiting. I could hear the nurse on the phone outside the door of my room. Scheduling an appointment for a mammogram. I heard her say,

"She's only thirty-two," and there was a pause and then, "Her mother was forty when she was diagnosed".

I have never in my life felt so alone and so young.

The next morning I went and had a mammogram and a breast ultrasound. I was the youngest person there and I felt very alone and scared. In my mind I felt like it was nothing, but I kept having these nagging doubts.

Turns out it WAS nothing, but I found out that I am at an increased risk for breast cancer, based on how I answered questions on the assessment I was given. A normal woman's risk of breast cancer in her lifetime is 12%.

My risk is 25%.

I asked my doctor if there was anything I could do to improve my odds, and sadly, there is nothing. I have the double whammy of having both parents have cancer and the misfortune of having a mother who was diagnosed very young.

The worst case scenario for me, at this point, is that I catch something very early.

I'm going to make sure that's the worst thing that happens.


Emma in Canada said...

Oh, how frightening! And yet, how great that you are so aware of your own body and so proactive.

CPA Mom said...

You know I just had my first mammogram too. Thanks for "holding my hand" that week. I'm glad we are BOTH good.

The only thing would be to cut them off BEFORE the cancer strikes. Seriously how sad is that. They feel like ticking time bombs!