the battle begins

Photo: Joshua Tree National Park, February 2012

On June 21, 2020 I was having my morning shower and as I moved the sponge to wash under my arm, I felt something new.

Something strange.

Something hard.

Was it a lump? Is this what a lump in your breast feels like? Impossible! The first impulse is to deny its existence.

Yet the seed holding the truth sprouted in my brain. Worse yet, my intuition awakened to this impossible possibility.

What did I do next? Well, I looked online, of course. I looked to that great and terrible and clumsy source of medical information. I wanted the false comfort that false oracles provide and I indeed took some comfort reading that 80% of breast lumps are benign and even better, many are a result of hormonal fluctuations and are likely to disappear month to month. Whew!

Plus, lest we forget, the global pandemic. I had been working from home for 3-months and hadn’t been on public transit since mid-March. Had been ordering in groceries and only leaving the house for essentials, and even then, no more than once a week. Being a good foot soldier. I did not want to go to my doctor for a multiple of reasons, including, yes – Covid.

So, I waited.

And I wondered.

And mostly, I tried to push down the flicker of fear.

I finally broke down in a zoom with a colleague who’d had breast cancer wedge itself into her life the summer before. I confessed I had a lump and I was scared to know the answer about mine. She encouraged me to go to my doctor as soon as possible. And still, I waited a little while longer until I woke up one day in late July and knew it was time.

From that point on, the conveyor belt began moving and I hopped on. And I haven’t been able to hop off yet. Or, as another dear friend says about her own Stage 4 battle with neuroendocrine cancer – it’s a dance, and the job is to out-dance that nasty MF.

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