What Happened When I was too Busy for a Mammogram

I had skipped my last two mammograms. I didn’t mean to. Life was busy and breast cancer didn’t run in my family. Surely I wouldn’t get breast cancer. Besides, I already had a disease attached to me. 

In January of 2017 my left breast felt different. There was not an obvious lump, but I had the sensation of letdown that you get when you are breast feeding. I did what any reasonable person would do and I googled my symptoms. I decided I probably needed to get checked out, but then rationalized it was probably a weird nerve thing related to MS. Crazy MS! 

Then my daughter got engaged. That still, small nagging voice kept reminding me that I had skipped two mammograms. “Don’t blame everything on MS.” I reasoned with myself that I would go after the wedding. Deep down I knew something was wrong, but I wasn’t going to do anything to spoil that precious moment in time for my girl. 

Laney got married in September. October came covered in pink ribbons. A local campaign called “Treasure Your Chest” was all over town. A co-worker bought a table at the luncheon for that campaign and brought all of the ladies a T-shirt back with that slogan. We all wore them on a Friday with jeans, while snapping photos and enjoying a casual Friday. I glanced down at the words across my chest. That inner voice said, “You are not treasuring your chest.” I made an appointment for a mammogram that day. 

After the mammogram, I waited for my “all clear” letter. It didn’t come. I was sitting at my desk at work when the phone call came. I almost wanted to say, “I’ve been expecting your call.” 

After a biopsy came the news. I had cancer. And the whirlwind began. On December 11, 2017, I was diagnosed with triple negative Ductal Carcinoma in Situ. Thankfully, it was non-invasive. 

I had a lumpectomy in January, followed by 6 weeks of radiation. I rang the Bell of Hope on Good Friday and was able to proclaim “It is finished.” 

I realize every day how very blessed I am. I learned a lot on this new journey we refer to as “Just a lump in the road.” One of the most wonderful things I have taken away from this cancer journey is that there are far more good people in the world than I realized.

“I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.” – Maya Angelou

 

Karen

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