I Found a Lump & What Happened Next Surprised Me

I Found a Lump & What Happened Next Surprised Me by 2groovymoms.com

I found a lump in my breast.  And I did something I never thought I’d do: I ignored it.

Instead of addressing it, I started rationalizing why I shouldn’t go to the doctor.

  1. I’m too young. Mammograms aren’t recommended until age 40.
  2. I don’t have a babysitter.  The doctor’s office has a policy against bringing children if they’re not patients.
  3. I’m invincible. I mean, I’ve lived dangerously most of my life and I haven’t died yet, so, yeah, obviously, I’m Wonder Woman.
  4. I can’t afford a co-pay.  It’s only $25, but I need those bucks for my daily chicken biscuits.
  5. My mind is playing tricks on me. I recently saw a couple of TV shows that mentioned breast cancer and they’re probably making me think I felt something when I really didn’t.
  6. I was scared to touch it to see if it really was a lump. Would touching spread it?
  7. I don’t want to look like a hypochondriac idiot. I’ve taken my baby to the doctor so many times and I swear when I leave they’re mumbling, “This lady’s so dumb she doesn’t know a common cold from a heart attack.”

I’m joking, but not really.  I felt a tender lump in my breast and I surprised myself by pretending I didn’t feel it.

Then, one day I heard a radio commercial about HIV, saying that people don’t want to get tested because they’re scared to know their status. I thought to myself, How ridiculous is that? Why would someone be afraid to know if they were sick?

Duh!

I was doing the exact same thing by ignoring this lump.

Listen, I know cancer is real.  I have friends who’ve experienced it and I can’t go anywhere without seeing a pink ribbon or a Komen ad, so I had no excuse for being so ignorant about cancer.  In that moment, I decided to make an appointment.

The doctor checked one breast…then the other…and she felt nothing unusual.

(Have you ever complained about a weird noise coming from your car, but when you get to the mechanic the car sounds brand new?  Yeah, that’s how I felt.)

“I swear I felt something. Really. I’m not crazy,” I told her.  She was so nice about it; she believed me and explained that the tightness, warmth, tenderness, and lumpiness were probably due to hormonal and menstrual changes. She said that cancerous lumps are usually pea-sized and not painful.  She counted the visit as a free annual checkup, so I didn’t have to pay after all.

Much ado about nothing perhaps or better safe than sorry.

But that was not the most surprising part of this experience.

As I told my mom about my foolishness, she listened, then quietly said, “I’m getting a biopsy next week.”

…………………………Huh? What?

She explained that she found a lump months ago and ignored it (!) but during her annual checkup, the doctor found something and wants to examine if it’s benign or not.

So, now we wait. No more procrastinating or pretending or rationalizing or hoping.  Just waiting for the facts.

If you’ve ever been through anything similar, then you must know the “lump” it leaves in your throat and belly.  The waiting and the not knowing can be dreadful or it can be enlightening.

People, I’m here to hold your hand or really to hold your arms and shake you awake.  I get it.  As mothers, we sell ourselves this “Be strong” nonsense that tells us to work harder, don’t cry, be selfless.  Here we were — my mother and I — two educated women who were scared to go to the doctor for goodness sakes!  It’s good to be optimistic and positive, but do what’s necessary to know the truth about your body.  Do self-exams to get to know your breasts.  Learn how they feel when you’re on and not on your period.  Consider getting a 3-D mammogram annually so that the images can be compared to determine if there were changes.  (My mother can barely feel the lump that the doctors found, but it appears clear as day with the 3-D image.)

Bottom line: if there’s something you can do to stay healthy, you should do it without questioning it.

17 comments

  1. Shea says:

    I ran to the ob/gyn about 2 years after my son was born for the same reason. My father has cancer all through his family so I freaked out. It turns out that it wasn’t a “lump” but I was so scared up until she confirmed I was fine, so I understand how you feel. I hope all works out with your mom but I believe your going to the doctor just opened up one more door for you two because had you not mentioned your experience, she probably wouldn’t have mentioned hers. Maybe your scare was divine intervention so that you could know what she’s going through. You can pass the wisdom on to your daughter as well and as yourself to talk to her about what’s going on with you, no matter how scared she may be. Have you ever heard of Rae Lewis Thornton? She’s had AIDS for about 20-25 years now. She was educated attractive, and only dated wealthy, educated, accomplished men. She thought that anyone below six figures couldn’t meet her standards and thought she was only giving her body to the highest degree of men. It turns out one of those “clean men” gave her HIV. She too thought she was too smart and clean to have been so irresponsible and have contracted a disease that would endanger her life. She’s still around and encourages us to be tested no matter our educational and/or financial status. My point is what you were thinking is common with we females, but I still applaud you for getting checked out. It’s much better to be proactive and find out what’s happening rather than sitting back allowing it to happen to you. This was a great post!

  2. Heather says:

    Hi. I followed you from the SITS Facebook page. I’m Heather, a three-time cancer survivor. As of last month, I celebrated the 17th birthday doctors said I wouldn’t live to see. I’m here to tell you and anyone reading this to email me if you need someone to pay for the co-pay. I am thinking every possible good thought for your mother and I am so glad you went to the doctor. Without our health we have nothing else. Nothing. It is first, always. Awareness and education are key and I thank you for spreading both. – Heather, Life of a Traveling Navy Wife

  3. Katie @ Cup of Tea Blog says:

    I’m so glad it turned out as nothing – but I completely understand your thought process. I tend to ignore things because I don’t want to go into the doctor and waste their time… that’s my crazy thinking. I think we moms actually have amazing intuition with our bodies – we know when something’s not right, but then real life kicks in. Too busy, other things to do, don’t have time to get it checked. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  4. LifeAsAConvert says:

    This post hits home with me. I found a lump in my abdomen and ignored it for a while. As soon as I went to the doctor I got a look that I did not want to see from them. It’s better to go and hear you are crazy then to not go and end up harming yourself more.

  5. Madaline says:

    Great post! I definitely have been avoiding any self check – not because I’m lazy but because of what I could potentially find. Any time I’m really afraid of something I just ignore it as much as possible – and I hate going to the drs! I am so happy your lump turned out to be a false alarm!

  6. Mama's Happy Hive says:

    This was a super good read! Thanks for the reminder to stay healthy and go to the doctor when in doubt. I am so glad your lump didn’t turn out to be anything to worry about. I hope that your mother has the same outcome as you did!

  7. Alli says:

    You’ve talked me into scheduling my yearly mammogram. I missed last years because they always come back fine. I’m making the appointment tomorrow. Thanks for the reminder. Praying for your mom!

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