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…