Sunday, October 18, 2009

Feeel Yourself

In October of 2005 I had my regularly scheduled mammogram. And all was fine.

In February of 2006 I was lying on the couch watching the tellie. My left arm was swung over my head and my right leg was swung over the back of the couch. I don’t remember what I was watching, but it must have been pure veggitative goodness – I don’t come by that level of relaxation by watching the news. Had it been this weekend, the DVD bliss would have been disc two of season two of Californication. Wowza.

Last summer? Sundays were marathons of America’s Next Top Model.

Evenings were all seasons available of Dexter, Weeds, True Blood, and The Tudors.

But February of 2006? I have no idea what I was watching. Not a clue.

What I remember was an itch in my left armpit. A rub and a scratch and an impulsive thought that the position I was in might be better for a breast self exam than the usual sitting or shower positions.

So while I vegged on the TV, I felt myself up.

On the outer banks of my left breast, nearly in the area of armpit itself, was a strange, hard little lump. About the size of an olive pit and equally dense, it surprised the hell out of me. I sat up flushed with adrenaline.

Lumps and bumps and fear of the “C” word were not novel experiences for me.

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1976 when she was forty-nine and I was nineteen. She had a radical mastectomy, cancer in several of her removed lymph nodes, and two years of chemotherapy.

She is 82.

My older sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. She was 47. She had a lumpectomy, radiation, and five years of Tamoxophin. She opted out of chemotherapy as she has multiple sclerosis. Although chemotherapy might have upped her odds of beating cancer, it would have devastated her physically and most likely she would have wound up in a wheelchair. Something she had avoided by taking excellent care of herself.

My sister is 56.

In February of 2006 I was 49 years old. I sat there on my couch feeling that little seed inside my breast and thinking I was right on schedule to follow the female footsteps of the women in my family.

Part Two tomorrow.

Click on the pink ribbon in the side bar to help someone get a mammogram. It is October, breast cancer awareness month…

28 comments:

The Crap Blog Detective said...

This blog not about reconnecting with your creative side. It is about you telling about breast cancer.

Beth said...

Perfect reminder to feel myself up. Having lost a parent to cancer, I am religious about check-ups and self-exams.

Can't wait to hear the rest...

Cairo Typ0 said...

I had my first mammogram this year. My mother was scheduled for a lumpectomy the following week.

Thanks for the reminder to feel myself up.

Jeff D'Antonio said...

Thank god you found it when you did. How many women haven't found their's yet because they never checked?

Ladies, please PLEASE get your mammograms.

I clicked the ribbon.

otin said...

I am glad that you are posting this! I wonder how many women who read your blog will check themselves thoroughly after reading this!

only a movie said...

Ah you're doing a good thing by posting this.
xo
Wishing you a boring weekend full of vegetative goodness.

ds said...

Thank you for this; it is an important reminder. Hope you are having a completely vegetative weekend!

Em said...

A friend of mine celebrated her final chemo treatment last week - she's 38. Younger and younger. Thanks so much for your post.

America's Next Top Model rocks.

blueviolet said...

Thank you for posting this. We all know we should be checking ourselves, but stories like yours make us do it.

I'm sure this brings back a mix of emotions for you. (((hugs)))

Kristan said...

This is going to sound weird due to the subject matter, but great beginning. Writing wise. You've totally got me hooked.

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

I don't know about others, but it's really powerful for me the way you wrote this in a play=by-play. It gave me chills.
I need to schedule my very overdue mammogram...

Amy said...

Thanks for sharing this story. I know it is very private. I can't wait to read the rest. Have a great Sunday..

Ann's Rants said...

Tears in my eyes. What a legacy...of strong strong women.

Warm regards,
Ann

Smart Mouth Broad said...

It is great that you are sharing your story here, Pseudo. I don't think any PSA could do what your real life story telling will do to tell women to do their exams and have their mammograms. Hugs, SMB

Twenty Four At Heart said...

Every time you share your story my heart races and my gut clenches with anxiety. Every. Time. It is an important story ... and it's so important to keep sharing it always!

Raina Cox said...

I have my Well Woman exam Thursday, so I'll be getting felt up by a total stranger. Whee!

Not The Rockefellers said...

Such a powerful story...

Peace~Rene

♥ Braja said...

Part one is hard enough.....

Sprite's Keeper said...

I'm going to feel myself up tonight. John will probably want to watch. :-)
Very powerful Part I, Pseudo!

bernthis said...

I get my mammogram but self exam is not something that I do and so I thank you for the reminder

bernthis said...

I get my mammogram but self exam is not something that I do and so I thank you for the reminder

Bernie said...

I have had cancer of the breast twice and I can say that your message is very timely and everyone please listen. Getting cancer early is the key to living. I had the first one in l880 and the second in 2002 and both early enough so that I didn't have to have chemo. So please self exam and have your mammograms taken care of immediately.

Joanna Jenkins said...

This post took my breath away. It sends a powerful message. Thank you.
xo

starrlife said...

Good timing! How'd you know I'm getting my annual tomorrow am!?

Gaston Studio said...

Yes, a great reminder for self checking, feeling up, whatever you want to call it, just do it!

Can't wait for part 2.

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Wow. Very powerful Part 1 Pseudo! Thank you for sharing - I'm anxiously awaiting Part 2!

blueviolet said...

I just can't imagine that kind of limbo! Horrible!

Hit 40 said...

Big Hugs to your sister!!! MS and cancer!!

...I just felt myself up!!