Not long ago, my routine mammogram came back suspicious. I examined myself repeatedly and found nothing out of the ordinary. But there was a certain sensitivity I somehow hadn’t noticed. Was it in my head? I distracted myself with a mantra: I am fearless and therefore powerful.
Two weeks later, I endured a repeat procedure, a more thorough and painful flattening of my left boob, followed by an ultrasound, performed by a technician, and again by a doctor. The doctor told me to come back for a biopsy the following day. He scrunched his mouth to the side and locked eyes with me. He said, “I’m sorry. We caught this early. It’s tiny.”
He didn’t say cancer. I reasoned with myself. I’ll be okay…I’ll be okay…I’ll be okay…
At home, I told my husband about the biopsy and failed to mention the rest.
Kody drove me to my appointment the next day and waited. In a back room, they took the tissue they needed with a needle and inserted a tiny titanium post to mark the spot of the tiny tumor.
On the way home, I said, “It’s cancer.” There was silence in the pause. “I mean, I don’t want this to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I know.” All of this happened on a Thursday.
Friday. Saturday. Sunday. Monday. Tuesday. I waited for the official word.
On Tuesday, the second day of school, I received a call that went to voicemail. A call from a voice who requested a return call.
It’s cancer, confirmed, tiny, and we caught it early.
At my first appointment for repeat testing and a second opinion, I met a woman, three years cancer-free. Similar diagnosis and situation caught early. She had flown to Houston from South Carolina for a follow-up. I have a quick drive across town.
And I have treatment options. Not all include surgery. One of my doctors, I can’t remember which one, said, “If you had to pick a cancer, this is the one.”
So, I feel lucky.
I’m waiting for my next appointment and thinking good thoughts.
I’m thankful every day is a new day, and I’ll be okay.