It started as a lump while I was nursing my daughter. I insta-googled all possibilities and was immediately reassured that the chances of lightning striking the northeast corner of my chimney was more probable than me getting cancer. My midwife suggested getting it checked out because no one wants a lawsuit on their hands and I adore her too much not to listen. The doctor who did the ultrasound gave me a rather annoying pat on the head and said it probably wasn’t anything but why not rip a chunk of tissue out just to make sure? As appealing as that sounded, I opted for a vacation in Portland to watch my sister graduate from college and to eat lemon coconut saffron ice cream every day. I came home to our mail carrier delivering a certified letter requesting that I make my biopsy appointment or risk possible jail time. The jail time is a slight exaggeration but I did start to feel the gravity of the situation. My next simple check up became a mammogram (not fun when you’re 6 months pregnant!), another ultra sound and a painful biopsy. Yes, I cried and yes I blamed it on my hormones but that male doctor obviously didn’t realize the effects of stabbing a wildly hormonal woman on one of the most sensitive parts on her body. His request for me not to cry and placing a tissue over my face was slightly offensive but now makes for a better story.
I was hoping for a really impressive ace bandage wrap that would get me out of dinner and dishes duty, but all they gave me was one of those teeny, tiny circle band aids. The kind that you give kids when they haven’t really hurt themselves that badly but want to pretend it was a big deal. I picked up a Real Simple magazine (personal fav) while I waited for the doctor. Unfortunately, I turned to the worst article ever to find its way into a breast diagnostic center. The title was somewhere along the lines of “Why Men Leave Women with a Terminal Illness.” Of course I decided to read the whole depressing article. Dr. “Violent Biopsy” was taking his sweet time, which afforded me the space to read this article about a man called “Dan” and his bastardly ways. He left his wife the day before she started chemo, informing her he was having an affair and moving to the other side of the country. With that conclusion, my doctor re-entered and informed me that the lump looked suspicious and that he was going to push the test results so we would get them the next day.
Upon arriving home from my appointment, I blind-sided my husband and told him he better not leave me if “suspicious” turned into “cancer”. He assured me that I am stuck with him no matter what I tried to pull. I concluded the evening googling things like “suspicious looking” and “is it possible that a pregnant 31-year-old can get cancer??”. There are only so many credible medical websites and once I ran out of those, I started in on the yahoo answers, where people who have never gone to medical school answer complex and scary questions about life altering illnesses. Word to the wise: wait ’til you talk to your doctor and only use yahoo answers if it’s a question about cooking or how to get ketchup out of your white sofa.