Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The "C" Word

I know! Day 2 on this dusty old blog. Well...there is a reason. I like to think of this blog more as a place for self-improvement instead of self-expression. Yesterday I talked about lies we tell ourselves and also about my addiction which is FOOD. I also admitted that I am a stress eater. Any amount of stress (and I always have stress which explains a lot) and I am looking for the yummiest thing I can find to comfort me. Thus I guess the name....Comfort Food. Well yesterday...I jumped a big hurdle with stress eating. I was highly stressed and yet I didn't dive for the cookies. In fact....I did just the opposite. It was as if all hunger or desire for food shut down. Fear not...I am sure my appetite will be back in full swing soon, but for now.....food is not even on my radar.

So why all the stress? Because once again I am dealing with something I hoped I would never have to go through. The "c" word has come back into my life...and no....I'm not talking cheesecake. I am however referring to cancer. I can't even say it out loud and I can barely type it. But here is what has come to pass. I am like a pitbull on crack when it comes to being hyper vigilant about cancer screening. My mother ended up with four primary cancers and two of her sisters along with one of her brothers have had breast cancer. Mom and another brother also had colon cancer. As we have gotten older.....I have had several cousins who have had breast and colon cancer. After watching my mother fight through, suffer through and eventually die from this horrid disease it has become a great fear of mine....especially while my kids are still young. I have though been tested for both the breast and colon cancer gene and both came back negative. You would think this would give me peace of mind....and it did until Jan. 1st of 2012.

The first of every month I do a regular breast exam and on Jan. 1st, I thought I might have felt something in my right breast. Not being sure and not wanting to truly admit I might have felt something....I thought I would wait a week and check it again. Sadly my little lump was never far from my mind as a local news woman who had fought breast cancer for 7 years died this week and it was pretty much all you saw and read about locally. So yesterday afternoon after I got off work I decided to check again and see if I still felt the lump. I did. Was it bigger? More prominent? Was it the same? I had no idea. All I knew was this is the month we are suppose to take David to Shriners Hospital and I didn't want this standing in the way. I called my doctor and said I had found the lump. I was not due for a check up until February but the nurse immediately scheduled me for a diagnostic mammogram on Friday (yeah I know....Friday the 13th) and a follow up with the doctor on Monday. In medical time this was very swift. In patient time....it is an eternity. Thus my new stress.

So here's the deal. Reality tells me that I have been vigilant in keeping up with screenings and testing and if this is something....then chances are very good that it has been detected early and I will be fine. There is also the possibility that it is a cyst or some other benign foreign lump. This is not the first time I have gone through this. In 2008 I found a lump doing a self exam. I went to my doctor and he too felt it which prompted him to send me to a breast cancer specialist. By the time I got to her...the lump was gone. I guess I was hoping that between the 1st and yesterday that is what would happen to this one. No such luck.

A little side note. When I first started doing self breast exams....I always wondered if I got a lump if I would be able to feel it. In fact...I highly doubted it. Apparently though...after years of doing so, you know immediately when something doesn't feel like it should. So don't scoff at self exams!!!!!!!

Added to all of this....I have an extremely creative mind.  Most writer/artistic types do. So now I am questioning everything. I have dealt with left side pain for several years. I even had a CT a couple of years ago and the doctor feels that is is muscle related (duh...I lift David all the time). Muscle relaxants do seem to help and yet my mind is questioning whether it is something worse. Possibly something related to the breast lump. I have known so many people who were fine and then gone because cancer was unknowingly growing inside them and spread. Ridiculous? Of course....well maybe....but I am alone with two kids and their future is what I have to worry about. They have already lost so much and Z has had more put on his plate since he was four years old than any kid should have to deal with. So yeah! I am a wreck...and a bit bewildered that I am not breaking land speed records to find the closest McDonald's. I guess I am just trying to face life head on and deal. A Big Mac will only make me fatter and....I will still have a breast lump. Why compound the issue?!

So....I know I am not the only one who has/is going/gone through this. I know many facebook friends and family members who have been right where I sit today...wondering and waiting and yes....fearing the worst. Some walked out of their doctors office in relief and others had a battle a head of them. All that I know though (other than my mom) are still here and fought their battles with grace and courage. I have no idea if I will be one of the ones crying with relief or one with a battle in front of me, but which ever way it goes....I am sure you all will hear every little detail. And let me thank you in advance for reading and commenting. In case you all didn't know it....you all have become the support that I need and you have no idea just how much it is appreciated. And if you get a chance.....if you could keep my family in your prayers because Shriners is so important for David....we would surely appreciate it. Thank you all.


  1. keeping positive and healthy thoughts for you and your family!

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  3. You and David remain in prayer. Stay positive; you have and are doing exactly what you need to do. LOVE that your being hypervigilant. No other way to be about it. In such, please remember my lesson learned....even if they tell you (mine was even in writing) that the lump is 'just fibrous', get a SECOND opinion. Sorry...not what I want to write in support, but you know my story. If further study then is needed, tell your Dr. you want a sentinel node biopsy. That you INSIST upon it. (http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/detection/sentinel-node-biopsy)

    I trust you will be fine. Please know you can add me to your list of many who are here for you...& that includes celebrating good news!

  4. LIsa, Here are the facts:
    1) you do regular exams
    2) the lump was not there last month
    3) therefore, IF it is bad news, you caught it early
    4) the left sided pain.....if related to cancer, muscle relaxers do NOT help
    5) Medicine changes so much that you may not go through what your mom went through
    6) You don't smoke
    7) Your reaction is perfectly normal but TRY not to let your imagination get away from you
    8) I don't think the amount of time it will take you to go to Shriners and back will make a huge difference in your care (and if it does, they are really good about rescheduling)
    9) I will be praying for you (and I'm sure many others will be also)
    10) Please keep us posted