Sunday started just like any other day. My husband has been picking up a ton of overtime lately to try and get us ahead and save for the new house we so desperately need for our growing family. I’m exhausted from being home with the baby and waking up all through the night. We were arguing because of my exhaustion and lack of patience, and then he went to work. Again. I went about my afternoon, taking care of Little E, straightening up the house, etc. At one point I went to readjust my left boob in my bra (like all women do at some point during their day), and that’s when my life as I knew it came to a screeching halt.
I felt a lump.
Let me give you a minute to let that sink in. A lump. And not a small one. This sucker is about 3cm x 3cm.
Suddenly, our petty fight was put into perspective. A little lost sleep was the least of my worries.
This is what all women fear their entire lives. And while I don’t have a history of breast cancer in my family, I did not (and do not) take this discovery lightly. I cried. A lot. Feeding my almost 6-week old baby and crying over his poor little face while I imagined all the things I might not get to do with him. Praying that I would be there to see him grow up, get married, have children…
I imagined all of the worst case scenarios possible. A double mastectomy, radiation, losing my hair, withering away to nothing while my husband looked on, helpless. I imagined things progressing quickly and him having to raise our son alone. And what would happen to my daughter? Would he get visitation for her if she went to live with her father? Would my husband ever see her again? Would she know her brother at all? I’m crying as I type these words because I’m imagining it all over again and it destroys me.
T worked a double that night so we didn’t fix our fight that day. Monday, I went for a walk with Little E and a dear friend just to get out of the house. I didn’t mention my discovery at all. I got home after T had already left for work – another opportunity to talk about it gone. Late that night he told me he was working another double. I told him we needed to talk. He thought it was about the fight. I had to tell my husband via text message what I had found because I couldn’t hold it in anymore. He said all the right things (just like he always does) and switched his shift for the following day so that he could accompany me to my 6-week postpartum checkup, where I would relay my findings to my doctor.
The next day, we went and he held my hand. I told my doctor about the lump, he checked it, and scheduled an ultrasound for two days later. It was one of the longest waits of my life.
Yesterday I went to the hospital bracing myself for the worst news possible. First, they took me back for a mammogram. (It’s just as bad as every woman says it is. I promise.) The only consolation was that I would know something before I left the hospital. The tech took pictures of both breasts, just in case, and then I was able to put my hospital gown back on and wait for the ultrasound. When it was finally my turn, I walked back unsure of what they would discover. The ultrasound tech took her pictures and the first thing she said to me about it was, “That looks like a lymph node.” My heart dropped. Once cancer gets to the lymph nodes it spreads like wildfire. Finally, the exam was complete and everything was sent to the radiologist.
As I waited in that room for her to come back, my mind wandered again to my husband and son patiently waiting for me. I can honestly say this was one of the scariest weeks of my life.
Turns out it’s just a cyst. Nothing to be concerned about and probably brought on by all the hormones from just having a baby. I got really lucky. This time.
You hear all the time that tomorrow isn’t promised. You agree, like the post on Facebook, maybe even share it, and then you don’t think about how fragile life is again until you’re presented with your own scare. This was my wake up call. My “live for today and make the most of it”, “appreciate everything you have because it could all be gone tomorrow” moment. And it worked. It scared the ever loving sh*t out of me. But I’m gonna hold my baby a little tighter today, hug my husband a little longer, and smile a little more because this time I do have tomorrow.