About one year ago today, I was lying in bed after a fun vacation day in Orlando, and found a lump. Then I made Bill feel it, and though I tried to go back to our Disney vacation, I knew in the back of my mind that I had a situation on my hands. I could see it in his face. My husband is not a worrier, and he didn't go crazy with worry starting that night, but I knew this had registered with him as something to worry about. I could just tell, even though he said nothing (other than, "whatever it is, we will take care of it.")
And as we all know, it WAS something...but it even felt like something from the start. A hard lump, (it seemed to be a bit smaller than the size of a quarter, if a quarter was a sphere) way inside my small and saggy breast. It only took one more appointment for me to know for sure (my GYN is not a worrier, either, but he had the same look that Bill did), and one more appointment for me to get firm confirmation. None of the mammogram or ultrasound technologists or the radiologist who performed my biopsy even had a look of hopefulness, or offhandedness, about what was going on. They didn't tell me what they thought, but I could tell from their faces.
So, without anyone telling me that I should expect that this was breast cancer, I was expecting it, just from the look on their faces. But though I was expecting to hear the words "breast cancer", I can't say I knew what breast cancer treatment would be like. Luckily you have time to learn these things as you go along!
So now, one whole year has passed since those first looks on people's faces. Here I sit, knowing more about breast cancer than I ever thought I would know in a lifetime (and of course, it's still not enough...when someone asks me for advice, I still don't quite know what to say, because each situation is so different, each cancer is so different - even within the realm of breast cancer). What do you do when you are given the all-clear - no more appointments (or at least, far, far fewer appointments), surgeries, chemotherapy, baldness, wigs, hats, hats, and more hats, more surgeries, and more strange bra situations than I ever hope to have again? I'm sitting here with a different-looking chest, and crazy hair, but I'm in the same seat, and the same person that I was a year ago.
I guess what I can do is embrace life. Try to make a difference (however it all happens, because I still don't know quite how I will make the difference I want to make in the world). And HOPE HOPE HOPE that I don't ever get those looks again!