Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ladies: Check Your Girls

Two things:

1) This is not that funny. In fact, aside from a couple of slightly chucklish moments, this won't be the typical wacky story that you will usually find here. But I am writing it for a very, very important reason.

2) I am actually starting the story with the end of the story, so you know it has a relatively happy ending.

At around 11:30 a.m. this morning, the phone finally rang. The caller i.d. was the one I had been waiting for.

Franklin Memorial Hospital.

I had literally been sitting beside the phone since 6a.m.

This call was going to change my life. No matter what the person on the other end had to tell me.

"Your ultrasound and mammogram look normal." She said.

The feeling of relief was indescribable. I hadn't been able to breathe for the last 48 hours.

"THANK YOU!THANK YOU!THANK YOU!" I am pretty sure I was crying and laughing at the same time.

Shorty after the nurse from my doctor's office called to explain that I still needed to consult with her and decide what I wanted to do about this "normal cyst."

A normal cyst.

These are words I never really thought about. Words I never thought would make me so happy that I have the life that I get the privilege to live. Words that will allow me to sleep tonight. Words that reminded me that every single day is a gift.

Words that thousands of others were praying to hear.

And they didn't hear them.

They heard words like "abnormal."

"Mass."

"Tumor."

"Treatment."

It's all about early detection, folks.

On Monday night, I was doing a relatively random self breast exam.

I've always done them. Not exactly monthly, but every once in a while I do a quick check. I've never felt anything out of the ordinary until two days ago.

A lump.

I checked again.

Yup.

Again...

Yes.

Shit.

I started shaking. I broke out into a cold sweat. I went into the bedroom and asked my husband to see if he could feel it.

His face said it all.

He could feel it, too.

"I'll call my doctor in the morning." I said as calmly as I could.

He finally fell asleep.

My mind drifted to the worst case scenario. Then to the lighter side of things and I started imagining that maybe my hair will grow in straight and blond and I could end up with nice, big, perky implants after all was said and done. (That was one of the funny moments, people...of course I wouldn't get big ones...)

I barely slept.

Tuesday morning I paced in front of the phone until I knew the doctor's office was open. I always hate to think I am the first caller lighting up the phones, but this time I could not have cared less. Someone needed to feel my boob. I was not taking no for an answer.

Thankfully, the fantastic staff a Pine Tree Women's Care in Farmington, made it possible for me to be seen that morning.

I jokingly told the receptionist that I was hopeful that the doctor would tell me that when "you lost your final marble it just landed in your ta-ta." I thought it was pretty clever in the face of sheer terror.

She laughed, too.

As I waited for my doc to come in, I started thinking of my prior visits:

A couple of strep throats.
A kidney stone.
Migraines.
Routine "lady" visits. (AKA: Paps).

Nothing compared to this.

She came in and got right to it.

I watched her face as she felt the prominent lump, too.

She checked both breasts. The other one was fine.

She left the room so I could dress, and I lost it.

I just sat there and cried.

When she came in, she cried a bit, too. She explained that I could have a mammogram and ultrasound as early as yesterday afternoon. Could I do it, schedule wise? Abso-f*&^ing-lutely.

Mom and Dad to the rescue again as Nick and Kiki were both home from school with crappy colds, it was lunchtime...My dad picked up the kids and my mom hurried so she could come with me.

Soon I was preparing for my first mammogram.

At age forty, I know they are necessary.

I was hoping to put it off as long as humanly possible.

I was shaking.

Now.

I am not going to mention any names, but the amazing person that was going to perform the mammogram is a person that I have known most of my life. She asked me if I minded if she did it? Or would I prefer someone else?

I told her without question I wanted it to be her. A friendly face and "chit-chat" was exactly what I needed to get through the procedure. If you are reading this, TCF~"Thank you from the bottom of my...ahem...heart."

Ladies, the mammogram is a piece of cake. Get it done. If you are of the age...and have not had one...GET ON IT.

On to the ultra-sound, where at this point, I was so emotionally exhausted I could hardly stand.

Again, a friendly face talked to me as she took pictures of this "lump."

"Has anyone ever told you have very dense breasts?"

heehee.

"Why, yes. Yes, in fact..."

just.kidding.

We looked together at the images, and although she couldn't say for sure, her tone indicated that she thought it looked like the "good" kind of lump.

I burned that image into my brain and googled all night.

I knew that I would have the answer. In my gut I felt that it would not be bad news. But there was that possibility.

I called my sister.

I told Julie.

My husband could barely speak.

Waiting.

Googling.

Praying.

Willing that phone to ring.

Whatever they say, I vowed to live the best I can.

Love my children. My husband. My family. My friends.

Be the best person I can.

Exercise.

Help.

Eat well.

Quit dieting so friggin much.

Live like there is no tomorrow.

Fix the goddammed swimming pool.

RIING.

"Is this Kristen?"

"It is."

"Your mammogram and ultrasound are both normal."

And here I am.

The thing is, I found that lump during a self-breast exam.

I NEVER expected to feel anything.

But if it had been cancer, it would have been early enough to treat.

If it had been cancer, I would have fought with every fiber of my being.

I have been inspired by people who have survived. I will pray for those same people even harder today.

Ladies:

Check your girls. Do it tonight, this morning, whenever you get done reading this.

It's all about early detection.

Now I'm gonna have some CAKE!!

Thanks For Reading.

funny.crazy.love.

4 comments:

  1. You should now eat cake daily.

    I love you, you know
    xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  2. So glad everything worked out for you. Eat lots of cake, and keep laughing. you are worth it....
    Angela aka Mrs Smith

    ReplyDelete
  3. Laurie Gosselin HowardJune 9, 2011 at 8:52 PM

    Kristen, I had my first mammogram when I was 35 because as you know, my Mom had breast cancer. So the doctor had told me that I should start when I turned 35 and they did find a small mass but it was nothing and it would go away so I won't need another one until next year. So glad everything worked out for you as well. It may hurt to have one for a second but that second could save someone's life. Great story with an awesome ending. :)

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  4. I will never forget when they found a mass and my doctor told me "your going to have to get used to the word CANCER" ... my world stopped and for two hours I sat in my doctors office, alone, while they made the many appointments for blood work, CT and PET scans, biopsys, ocologists, endocrinologists... They asked if I wanted to call a family member. I couldn't. I had to get myself under control before I could even think about telling them.

    That's how the hell began with me.

    ReplyDelete