In November of 1997 at the age of 24, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Several months before I was diagnosed, I had given birth to my third child, a son. I was excited and so happy to have a full term and happy bouncing baby boy.
One day I was lying down on my couch relaxing while my baby was having his nap, when I looked down upon my chest and noticed a lump protruding out on the left side of my breast. It was hard and not moveable. I asked my boyfriend at the time to look at it. He said should see the doctor right away. So called my gynecologist to schedule an appointment. I wasn't really concerned about the lump, even though history of breast cancer ran in my family. I felt that I was too young to go through that. My thoughts were only older women get it.
I went to my appointment alone and not having any worries at all. I had given birth just months before and like with all my pregnancy thought it was Breast milk built up, lumpy Breast. The nurse had me get undressed and wait on the bed for the doctor. The doctor came into the room and said exactly what I felt and thought, that it may just as well be breast milk built up. He asked me to lay down and as he moved the garment I was dressed in to the left side, he took one look without even touching it and left the room. He returned a minute or two later and asked me to get dressed and said that he wants me to go down the hall to a surgeon he had called to be seen now. I did as he said with no thoughts or worries yet.
i left his office and went two doors down where I was greeted by the receptionist. She asked me to sign some papers, the routine new patient paperwork. After completing it I was escorted to the exam room. I slipped into yet another gown and waited. The doctor walked in a very old Asian doctor. He examined the lump as I sat and said I need to remove the lump. That's all he said and I asked no questions.
The day of the surgical procedure everything went fine. I left the same day and went home. I thought ok the lump is removed and everything will be fine. Little did I know that it wasn't. I recieved a call from the surgical department asking if I was fine and if the sutures was draining anything. Of course no and I felt fine. The end of that conversation had me questioning my health when the nurse said best of luck to you an take care of yourself. I had a gut feeling something was wrong, but Cancer was far from my mind.
three days after the procedure, the receptionist calls for me to come in at that moment. I asked why? She says the doctor wants to check the site to make sure it was healing fine. I go in and I wait in the exam room. The doctor comes in with a smile and asked how I was feeling and of course I was fine and said so. I can recall in slow motion that dreadful day. He asked me to lay down and as I did he put his exam gloves on then removed the gauze and said it looks good and smiled. He then turned around and said I can sit up and proceeded to wash his hands. As I sit facing his back, he turns to wipe his hands dry, throws the napkin in the rubbish can then puts his right hand on my left shoulder, making no eye contact and softly says to me you have Breast cancer. Even though he was talking all I heard was those words. I saw his mouth moving but all I heard was buzzing. I didn't cry. It's as if all my emotions left my body for a few minutes. After the buzzing had stop I heard him say I had 10 days. I said what in a jaw dropping expression. Apparently the whole time he was speaking and I heard buzzing he was explaining my options. I had10 days to decide on partial removal or complete removalof the breast. So I had to decide on a lumpectomy or mastectomy.
After leaving the office, baby in tow, I sat in my car. I looked at my baby Feeling lost and confused. I had not taken in all the news yet. I was in shock and disbelief. Here a mother of three kids, one just months old. Cancer was like a death sentence. I had three family members die from breast cancer. Nothing good ever came of this disease in my family. Thoughts of how do I tell my kids, my boyfriend and my parents? Who do I tell first? Still no tears, just worrying about my family and how they were going to deal with this.
I drove to my parents home first. I tell my parents that I have Breast cancer and I have to have my breast removed. My father said how? Your so young? How could this happen. He had a look of disbelief while my mother sat down and cried so hard. Still I was not able to cry even though she was. The pain I saw in my parents made me feel so bad for them. I felt like I'm bringing grief to people I love. I still had yet to tell my boyfriend and kids what I had a what I was going to have to go through. Telling them was a whole different level of how I was going to say it without hurting them so. But there is never any way of breaking news such as that to the love you live with and two children that are old enough to understand that mommy could die.
The tears started to flow with the thoughts of telling my children and how I was going to do it. The ride home from my parents wasn't long enough to come up with a way to say it without hurting them. It was that moment I cried so hard cause the love I had for my children was strong and it was them that I was able to cry.