Breast Cancer Awareness Month kicks off this week, and business owners, along with city and county officials are painting the town pink. Breast cancer is a terrible thing – duh – and it has hit too close to home a couple of times for me.
My cousin, Melissa, who was my best friend from the time we were in diapers, thought she was having back problems, and went to the chiropractor again and again...but no relief. Eventually, she had a doctor at the hospital where she worked take a look at some X-rays, and there were tumors. Fast forward...it was breast cancer.
Over the next six years, she fought cancer like a girl. Like only a girl can. But eventually, cancer took her life. I still miss her, every day.
Then just a few years ago, I found a lump in my own breast. I immediately went to the doctor, and was sent to get a mammogram and sonogram to find out what was going on in there. I had to wait a couple of weeks for that appointment. Then I had the tests, and I had to wait a week to find out what they saw. It really is true what they say...the waiting is almost as bad as finding out that something is wrong.
Then I finally got the call. They told me I had two cysts, and I would need yet another trip to the doctor to have the fluid taken out to find out if there was anything cancerous about them. I was incredibly nervous waiting for that appointment.
You see, I’m a bit needle-phobic. I’m the crazy lady that passes out when they try to take blood. I’ve been banned in two states, so far, from giving blood. They don’t like how pale I get and the fact that there’s a liability factor that comes into play as I hit the floor.
Did I mention I don’t like needles?
And that Monday morning, I was not looking forward to having a super-sized one coming at me. I told them they’d have to knock me out. They laughed. I told them I’d pass out. They patted me on the arm and said, “You’ll be in a reclining chair for the procedure, so it’ll be all right.”
As the staff taking care of me watched my face get paler and paler, to the point that my freckles really stood out, they began to take me seriously. I have to say, passing out is better than that laughing gas you get at the dentist’s office. Works every time.
The results were “muddy.” I had to have a biopsy. I looked forward to that one even more.
Long story short, I had the biopsy and it was benign. Thank God.
All in all, having a scare like that really puts things in perspective. It reminds you just what is truly important in life, and how you can’t take any part of it for granted.
So to my fellow chicks out there, remember to do your self-examination each month to make sure your “girls” are healthy. And remind each other to take care of this.
We’re all in this together.
You can reach Angye Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org.