My birthday comes at the end of January, and, now that I am a little over 40, it’s also the time when I’ve decided to have my annual mammogram. I had my first one last year.
This January I was very, very anxious about my health. I have been having some gastric issues for a little over a year and some pressure on the left side of my pelvis. After being basically ignored by a couple of doctors, I changed my primary doctor and he ordered a pelvic ultrasound.
That test revealed some sort of large mass — never a word one likes to hear — and it was unclear what it was. Around the same time I reported dutifully for my annual screening mammogram.
They called me back, another call no one likes to get. They said I had to return for another mammogram and an ultrasound.
I was terrified and immediately hit the Internet, looking for information about how often a mammogram callback results in a breast cancer diagnosis. I was relieved — only a little, really — to find that many people get called back after a screening mammogram. The test is imperfect, I was happy to find.
Naturally, I did a self exam and decided that I was having normal breast changes. I made a mental note to schedule my next screening mammogram after my menstrual cycle so that my breasts aren’t so dense for the test.
But, it turns out, I’ll never have a run-of-the-mill screening mammogram again, ever.
Turns out, I have breast cancer.
Right now, I am writing this, bald, after two chemotherapy treatments.
I have really grappled with whether I wanted to blog about this. I have lots of mixed feelings about it. But I’ve decided to go ahead and share my experiences. Mainly, I hope that they will bring comfort to others on the journey.
Next installment, the mammogram follow-up appointment. But now, I have to go put my two adorable cuties to bed. No more time for cancer tonight. So, sorry cancer, you’ll have to wait. I’ve got stories to read, cuddling to do.