Birmingham, MI, late July 2008.....The nagging, painful ache encompassing my left ribcage had reached such a point that I thought perhaps if my fingers traveled over the area, I could find the source of this discomfort....and I did. Under my fingers at the edge of my left breast was a well-defined, firm mass...or was it just my imagination?
It had to be my imagination, because I certainly didn't have time for anything else. In fact, I had not even had time for a mammogram in more than four years. Yeah, yeah, I know, where was my head, what kind of nurse am I? My mother had had a miserable existence during her 17-year battle with breast cancer, died at age 59, exactly my current age. I knew the statistics, knew I was at the highest risk for developing it myself, but stubbornly and stupidly I chose to follow my own path and ignore it all. My divorce had been brutal, my depression severe...I didn't care and despite knowing everything I should do for my health, did nothing.
Initially I tried to convince myself I had felt nothing, because we all know what we ignore will go away....not! I checked in on it several times a day - it was going nowhere and in fact, seemed to have a smaller companion right next to it. At least three weeks must have passed before I was convinced it was real and summoned the courage to call my doc. I learned that when you mention "lump", things move very quickly.
August 12 I had my exam, August 13, a mammogram, ultrasound and subsequent biopsy and the following day the phone call no woman ever wants to receive, "Sue, I am so sorry. You have ductal carcinoma." My head was throbbing, my ears were burning and my chest was aching worse than ever. My younger daughter (the one responsible for setting up this blog for me) was sitting next to me and if she hadn't been, I know I would have boohooed longer and louder.