Phewwwww! In case you haven't already heard.....I AM FINE! No....not in the bragging sort of way. I am fine in the my girls have no lumps sort of way. Maybe this means I will actually get a good nights sleep tonight full of no dreams or at the very least peaceful dreams.
As scared as I was....and I was definitely scared....the clean bill of health made all of the fear worth it. It also gave me some good life lessons and I am about to preach a little to all the wonderful women who read this and the wonderful men who read this who have women in their lives that they love.
I found my lump by doing a regular self breast exam. I am a firm believer that women should start these as young as possible. The reason for this is that whether you realize it or not....your fingers get to know your breasts. Once a doctor gave me some kind of a gel filled bag and said that in it were lump/knots of varying sizes. He told me to feel around on the bag until I could find all the lumps. I was only able to feel the largest one. The rest were undetected. He said this bag was a facsimile of a woman's breast. I felt then and there that if that is how hard it was to find breast lumps...I would never even know if I had one. I was wrong. The more exams you do....the more familiar you are with what should and shouldn't be under you fingers. Twice I have found lumps and twice they were actually something....just not cancerous tumors. The first time was a cyst that just burst/dissolved on its own. Today there was actually something there but it is just under the skin like a small clogged duct. So in both cases my fingers did feel something that was there and shouldn't be. Because of all of this....I will continue to be vigilant in my self exams (I do the 1st of every month).
Second...when you reach the age of 40, regardless of how clean your family history is....get regular mammograms. If you have a active family history of breast cancer, your doctor may advise you to start even earlier. While mammograms are not particularly a fun way to spend a half hour or so.....they can be life saving (especially if you are not great at doing the self exams). For those who have as yet to experience a mammogram: in a screening mammogram an x-ray machine is used to take pictures of your breasts. Before all is said and done, your girls do feel quite squished (I am now a AA thanks to this mornings activities) but the few seconds of discomfort are worth it to hear the doctor say "All is well." After a screening mammogram you are then allowed to leave and your results are sent to your doctor. If you do feel a lump or something is found on the screening mammogram, then a diagnostic mammogram is done. A diagnostic mammogram is much like the screening only a little more in depth making sure to take pictures of the suspicious place. Following the diagnostic you are ask to wait until the radiologist reads your films. Usually if there is a question following the films a sonogram is done on the area. After the radiologist reads those too....then you are invited back and the radiologist gives your their findings. This is usually followed by a follow up visit with your doctor in which you and your doctor discuss the results. If something has been found then a biopsy is usually done to determine whether it is a cyst or a tumor and if a tumor what kind. If it is the worst case scenario then you and your doctor form a game plan to remove the tumor and get you healthy.
The important thing to remember is that breast cancer and colon cancer are two VERY curable cancers because with proper screening, both can be caught in early stages and survived. Late stage cancers that have gone unscreened and undetected are the ones where the mortality rate is very high. As women....we owe it to ourselves and the other women we love to keep up with these screenings. If you are a man....let the women in your life know just how much you love them by encouraging them to stay proactive with their health. A few minutes once a month and a half hour once a year really isn't too much to do to ensure a healthy future and peace of mind.
Okay the lesson and preaching are over. I am fine and David gets to go to Shriners on schedule with a healthy mama! Now it is time to get down to the business of getting really healthy and changing less than stellar habits. Still through it all....I have been a good little Weight Watcher girl even though I have not had the desire to workout this week. Next week though....will be a different story. I plan on changing my destiny one day at a time!