I haven’t had much of a presence on the blog the second half of the summer. Part of my time, as I’ve mentioned, has been taken up preparing to send my only child to college. But another issue has derailed me—temporarily.
In July I had my yearly mammogram. I got a callback to recheck an area that was unclear. I wasn’t too worried; I’d had extra mammograms before, which have always turned out to be benign.
Well, there was a cyst, and it was benign. But there was also another area, a section of breast tissue that didn’t look like a tumor but didn’t look normal either. It wasn’t anything we could feel, and it didn’t show up on ultrasound, but the mammogram was unclear.
I met with a surgeon who recommended that I have a biopsy. There was an 80 percent chance it was benign. Surgery went well, and despite the 3-inch incision, there was very little pain.
A few days later, while we were away registering our son for college, I got the call.
But once we got past that initial, terrifying word, the news wasn’t all bad. Good, in fact, in context. Stage 1, slow-growing and unlikely to spread. Caught early. Very small tumor, less than 1 cm. No family history–at all. I had a second surgery, to make sure the tumor margins were clear and to check my lymph nodes to make sure the the cancer hadn’t spread.
The next calls were all good news: no cancer in the lymph nodes, clear margins on the original tiny tumor. Therefore, I have no need for chemotherapy or further surgeries. I’ll have radiation that will reduce the small chance of recurrence to pretty much nil, and I’m taking preventative medication.
Right now, I’m rocking the sports bras. My breast is tender (all right, incredibly sore, after two surgeries in a week), and spectacularly colored. But those conditions are temporary, and better every day.
Tom has been my anchor. He keeps me positive and focused, and reminds me there’s no need to panic. My son is as calm and collected as he always is; he knows that his mom will be around to bug him for a very long time. My friends have surrounded me with love and positive energy.
My surgeon says that when I’m 80 I’ll look back on this time as a difficult blip in my long life. I hope I can use this experience to give back some of all the love that I’ve gotten, and to use my time for things that matter.
We’ve been focusing on the positive these last few weeks, not to ignore the reality of cancer but to put it into focus. So, to repeat the phrase that has become our mantra, it’s all good.