Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Lump in the Breast

It’s crazy how in an instance your life can change. Two weeks ago my biggest concerns were related to high jump and my dissertation proposal. However, that quickly changed when I discovered a lump in my breast in a random check.

Having dealt with the emotions, I felt it was important to speak of this experience candidly on my blog. I feel no shame and least of all desire no pity. However, if I can make one woman begin to conduct regular breast checks for lumps, I will have succeeded in my goal.

When I discovered the lump I must have sat on my bed for 20 minutes grappling over what I had felt – “Was this really a lump?” “Is it serious” “Is it cancerous?” “How can this be, I’m too young to find a lump?!”

What I had felt was small, but quite distinct; and it felt hard but rubbery. This was something, I had never felt before! And although I didn’t meet the criteria for being at risk for breast cancer, I certainly wasn’t arrogant enough to believe I was impervious to it. Quite the contrary.

I was terrified, and for once, I really was truly confronted with my own mortality, as well as what was really important to me. I have been a long supporter of breast cancer research and its victims, but, hadn’t ever really contemplated the possibility that I could be a face of breast cancer… until last week.

Now, not all lumps are cancerous. In fact, there are four main types of lumps, and many women will have lumps in their lifetime that are not cancerous…. This I learned as I immersed myself in a crash course in breast lumps and breast cancer.

Still, when you are undergoing tests to rule out cancer it can be a terrifying experience. After having some tests performed my lump is apparently just a lump. THANK GOD! Definitely, good news I can handle. Still, just to be safe, we’ll be keeping a close eye on Ralph.

I am so incredibly grateful for these results! And in my moment of gratitude I couldn’t help but wonder about the women who aren’t so fortunate and how they are making steps to treat not just a lump…. How their lives will change? Will she be successful? Will she live a full life? Or is her battle longer and larger than she planned?

I don’t know much but I know that if actions can prevent breast cancer (i.e. a healthy lifestyle) or can aid in early detection, I will engage in these actions. I’ve certainly learned the importance of regular breast checks! Historically, I’ve never been regular with checking for lumps…. possibly delusional by my age and such. But, that was being foolish! Breast cancer does not discriminate against age or race.

Like clock work I will ALWAYS conduct regular breast checks. I hope you and your loved one will do the same. After all early detection is your first line of defense!

A forever changed woman,
Nicole Wendy Forrester

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