Friday, October 19, 2012

{My STORY} checking the "girls" & keeping the FAITH


We continue our series this week talking about

Today was supposed to be the last post in my series on Breast Cancer Awareness.
It won't be. 
I planned this week to be about awareness & ending it with a story of how I had my FIRST mammogram & encouraging people - if not just ONE person - to get checked themselves. I wanted to take just ONE WEEK to devote to being an advocate for encouraging other women. To honor those we have lost to this horrific disease. To raise awareness & to get people to check their "girls". 
I BEG you to please take this seriously when I say to check the "girls" - it could save you grief, being anxious, frightened & most importantly - save YOUR LIFE!!!

But my story changed this week. I do not have an end to my story . . .yet. 

I have a lump. Yes THAT kind of lump. 
The kind you hope to never find. 

I have had it for over 2 years. Please don't judge. My excuse for NOT getting it checked out looks like this: too busy taking care of everything else . . . husband being laid off & working our butts off these last 2 years to survive . . .NOT having insurance for the last 6 years since being laid off from my old corporate job . . . having the FAITH that I didn't feel 'sick' so it must be nothing . . .then TRUSTING that God was taking care of me since I did not have the means to do so, worrying about 'other things' taking all of my time . . . .I just had to BELIEVE in that. I did. AND still do.

So what changed? Why did I get it checked finally? A little over a month ago, I was dealing with my step-father being BACK in the hospital for what we hope is a final surgery from a horrific motorcycle accident he was in last summer. He is GREAT now. AND then I find out the next day, my BFF from high school was at the SAME hospital having emergency surgery for a brain tumor they just found. Thank GOD they were only 2 floors apart so I could visit both of them easily & spend time with my friend. One week later, I am burying my BFF from high school who was the SAME age as me. I watched her kids cry hysterically for their mother, taken way too soon, at her funeral & was reminded LIFE IS FRAGILE! 
Things like this have a way of making us 'wake up'. Questioning our own mortality. I decided right then & there at that funeral that I was NOT going to leave my little girl without a mother, if I could help it. What if my lump was a ticking time bomb and I'm ignoring it? What if I should have had it checked right away? Then I became SCARED. What if I had just royally screwed up??? 

Good news is . . . my husband got a temporary 'contract' job recently that enabled us to purchase insurance, so I don't even think the ink was dry from the insurance card being printed, we received in the mail & I was calling my doctor. 
I told her what was going on. She asked a lot of specific questions. Characteristics of what I had & what it was doing. Then she said - I think you should come in right away. WHAT?? This was last Thursday & I couldn't come in that day so I had to make an appointment for first thing Friday morning. So for a whole day, I was convinced I was dying. Convinced I had screwed up & was going to leave my little girl behind. You know how we do ourselves . . . think the WORST, beat ourselves up for it, replay all the 'what-if' scenarios in our head, over & over & over & over until we make ourselves NUTS! I cried. ALOT! Then had to find the strength to put my big girl panties on, suck it up and tell myself it will all work out - I have FAITH!

Friday morning. I saw my doctor (who had squeezed me in between appts) & she did a physical exam. She confirmed I definitely have SOMETHING but it did not fit the 'typical' signs of cancer. Wheeewwwwww - boy did I feel better! I was overjoyed (to say the least) - I had not screwed up. YAY! Then she says - well I want you to schedule a mammogram for next week AND an ultrasound so we can confirm what it is or isn't. Ok - here it comes . . .getting a little nervous but still ok. Because my brain told me -'well if she THOUGHT it was cancer, she would be sending me right away.' But my gut was going ' what IF she's wrong???'. {sigh} THE mind games our heads play with us, are so annoying!!!

So yesterday, was my day to get this all taken care of, confirmed I was fine & put this all behind me right? LOL . . . yeah not so much.
I had my first mammogram - which by the way, is NOT scary at all. Geeesh all the horror stories you hear . . . NOT that bad. The tech of course, couldn't say much but she thought they would tell me TODAY if they DID find something to worry about. Ok (sigh of relief)  . . . I can deal with that.

Next up . . .to the ultrasound room. I had been there before. It was the same place I had seen pics of my little girl 9 years ago - it wasn't bad at all. I got to watch her taking pics and then I SAW it! It was a NASTY mass of evil-ness. Honestly what I had been feeling was a hard lump, about the size of a nickel & it would move a little when I would check. The only time it hurt or caused me discomfort was when I would press on it. From what I have been told . . .MOST cancerous lumps will NOT hurt. So that was what I was going with right? Wouldn't you? So when she is taking picks with the ultrasound machine, I expected to just see a dark lump-ish image appear on the screen & that's it. Because ya know, that's ALL I felt! Not the case, it was a much larger area & it was 'mass' looking. Then I got a little nervous. So I asked if she could tell me anything based on what she was seeing. She proceeded to tell me what cancer is typically NOT, how it compared to mine & then rattle off all these other 'long-I-have-no-idea-what-she-is-talking-about' names of things it COULD be. I was so confused. At this point I am thinking I am fine. There IS definitely something going on but maybe not so scary & she DID say that a radiologist will have to look at these closer to see what they think. So I got dressed & she told me to meet her back in the room when I was done & then she was sending these over to the radiologist right away so they can look at them. What? The other person who did my mammogram said that I "might" get some results later on in the day as they were extremely backed up. So when this girl says she's sending them RIGHT NOW . . . .yup . . .you guessed it, fear sets in again! Why does she feel the need to send them right away? Did she see something? What is she NOT telling me? If I was fine,  I would be waiting like everyone else right? 

Then we met back in the room & said she wanted to discuss my "plan". Huh? MY "plan"? What the hell do I need a "plan" for if I am not dying??? LOL - oh our minds do a number on us don't they? . . . . So basically she said that they are recommending that I meet with a surgeon next week so they can get a second opinion on what is going on & they are the best at determining plans for the patients. He will look at everything - my scans & do a physical on me to see what he thinks.  . . . .LOL . . . .ummmmm a surgeon? . . . a 2nd opinon? (I don't remember getting a 1st one but ok) . . . and there's that "plan" being talked about again. {sigh}
We chatted for a little bit & she explained that I shouldn't worry because she doesn't think it's "c" but the radiologist will confirm that as well as the doctors. This team of surgeons is right next door, she will be there too as she works with them, blah blah blah . . . not gonna lie! My mind just left - I hate to say it but I really don't remember a whole lot of what we were talking about AFTER she said to meet with a surgeon next week. I think this is a survival technique for me - who knows!
Here is what I took from this "chat" . . . .I feel like I am in good hands. This office is VERY thorough & these surgeons pretty much know everything about these issues literally from the inside, out. She said that they just do this as they do NOT want anyone falling through the cracks & the more opinions we get, the better for me. Ok seems logical. I am good. Seriously. Wasn't scared - decided to go right to the middle on this & NOT think one way or another! Btw - radiologist confirmed her suggestion of meeting with a surgeon. Again - not sure what that means but here we go!

So as I drove home & was trying to wrap my head around all of this, I couldn't help but wonder WHAT is the reason this is all happening to me?? Have I NOT been through enough in the last year? Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, I do not feel sorry for myself. I do not want pity. I am going to take this experience and USE IT! I honestly thought, like I said at the beginning of this post, that today I would be wrapping up this week all nice 'n tidy with a big pink bow & moving on. But I am not. I will have to keep you updated - which is fine.

Maybe the reason fo me going through all of this has NOTHING to do with me at all. I truly BELIEVE that God uses EVERYTHING - good and bad to see Him at work. Maybe someone reading this (if anyone is- lol) NEEDS to go get checked ASAP and I will convince them to go. I thought about NOT sharing any of this so publicly but figured this blog is about sharing & building relationships & so why not. This is MY blog & I want to share with my friends. Because MAYBE just MAYBE someone along the way will get comfort out of me writing about this. Maybe someone will get their 'girls' checked now after they put it off for so long and this was the 'push' they needed. Maybe someone just needs to know somewhere that we are all human. Life happens to everyone. Good and the bad. But we can choose to get pissed about it or we can use it to do something GOOD with it. Regardless of what happens to me, this will NOT define who I am. I am still Laura. Will it change me? HELL to the YEAH on that, because I feel like I am part of this breast cancer family now - no matter what I find out - cancer or not, to me I will always feel connected & passionate about this topic & this issue because I have FELT that FEAR, the UNKNOWN fear. I am still scared! Can I relate to all of the survivors? No of course not & I am in no way saying I do - just the unknown parts & I hope I never do, as that would mean my story will continue for awhile & although knowing me, I would tell you that story,  . . .I really don't want THAT to be MY story. I really am praying MY story ends next week. After next wednesday when I get the answers to what is going on I hope to tie up the story with that pretty pink bow & move on. 
But until then, please - I am BEGGING you, do yourself a favor and check the 'girls'!!! Not later, make your appointment NOW! Encourage someone you love to do the same & above all us . . . ALWAYS support this cause because you never know when you may be one of them.
To be continued . . . . xoxo

Read the results from my testing here


  1. Wishing you were ending your week long post with a pretty pink bow wrapped up but at the same time am glad that you got yourself to the doctor as soon as "you" could. I cannot imagine walkin around knowing you should be seen by a professional and yet not being able to for so long and yet being so strong. God and your strength will pull you through whatever this journey may be. Prayers being sent your way!

  2. Lifting you up to our Lord's Feet - knowing that healing is coming! Don't worry - you know that's not YOUR JOB to do! Take it from a gal who has "been there done that" can make it thru - USE the experience like you said - all happens for a reason - we might not know it yet - but you will someday - I do now! XO Hugs! Here for ya any time day or night! 8)

  3. I'm so proud of you...for going to the doctor...for facing the unknown...and for sharing your story! You know I'm always sending love your way, my sweet friend! xoxo

  4. nothing but positive thoughts and support and love coming your way!!!!

  5. Oh Laura...thank you for sharing your story! I'm thinking of you, praying for you and sending you lots of love & encouragement. I'm so happy you went and had it checked out and now I pray you will get good news!


  6. Sending BIG hugs your way, you are in my thoughts and prayers

  7. Laura, I am hoping and praying your story ends well next week as well. Thank you for the busy mothers we often tend to neglect ourselves and this gentle reminder is important for all of us!

  8. Thank you for sharing your story. My grandma didn't go in and get checked and she died of breast cancer. I'm glad you finally went in and I hope your story inspires many women to get checked. Prayers for the best outcome for you.


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