"Worry does not empty tomorrow of it's sorrows, it empties today of it's strength."
-Corrie Ten boom
The other day my favorite girl in the land, Phinney, sent me a link to The Breast Cancer Site. They have a program running right now where you can help ladies who either have no medical insurance or who are low income receive a free Mammogram, just by visiting their site each day and clicking the appropriate button. That's right...every time you click on the "Fund Free Mammograms" button, or make a purchase at The Breast Cancer Site's store, you generate funding for women in need. It was ironic, Phinney's email came to me at an unusual moment, and a timely one, see I had just made the decision to schedule an appointment for myself to have a Mammogram. It seems that I have a lump in my left breast that wasn't there a month ago, and it is a pretty good sized one, which means it has grown rather quickly.
Yikes. Things might be getting a while lot more interesting for me. I first found it early last week, and immediately went into some very comfortable denial. I am prone to cystitis and therefore that is what it must be, or so I had decided to think of it. By Tuesday, I thought I better talk it all over with Alan. He is pretty level headed and he would more then likely tell me that it was nothing. Nope! He didn't let me off the hook. What a thing to discuss on Valentine's Day. Sigh. Wednesday, I went to see my therapist, and I took my portfolio book with me to show her the new photos I have done lately. It was a wonderful attempt at manipulating the conversation onto a safe topic. Somehow, I ended up telling her about my fears. Silly me. Another someone who wasn't willing to let me off that hook. I promised her I would make an appointment for a Mammogram sometime in the next month or so, as soon as I got my courage up. She was not pleased. :(
I went home, cried some, looked up some Breast Cancer facts on the Internet and called and schedule an appointment for about a month from now. While I was doing my Internet search a good friend "Dan" signed on, and we chatted for a few minutes. He asked me how I was feeling, and I mentioned, in passing, what was going on for me. It was the first time I actually told a friend. He got pretty angry with me. Someone close to him had been diagnosed with Breast Cancer several years ago, but she was lucky, they caught it in time and today she is doing wonderful. "If she would have waited another couple weeks for the Mammogram, it all could have gone a lot worse. These things change quickly Carly." Sigh. He had been the harshest one of all. He spoke straight. Before we signed off he made me promise to change the appointment. Since I promised him I would...I did. My new appointment is in 2 weeks.
It's just that it has been so much the last few years. One thing right after another. Can I handle this also? God, the thought of the test alone has me scared to death. Will it be painful? My current condition of Fibromyalga sends these missignals to my nerve endings telling me I am in pain, when it fact if it wasn't for the condition, it would be a minor annoyance and not the overwhelming aching I have most days. So, when I have my test, will it be unbearable or like I said, a minor annoyance of pain? Sigh. I have had some time to think it all over, and if it is cancer I really only have one option. Face it! Be prepared for additional changes in my life, so many brave women have gone through this, what right do I have to be a coward about it? So, with resolve to take things one step at a time, I got out my Breast Cancer awareness pin, put it on, and circled the date of my appointment on my calendar.
No illness will ever define me. I want to write. I want to take photographs, I want to be the kind of woman that people will be able to say one day, "she always tried her best." It makes me sad to think I might lose my hair, but I guess I could wear hats. It makes me sad that it will be difficult on Alan and Elvis, but they say we will handle it. It makes me sad that I might have to lose time in my therapy with Sarah, but she said we can have sessions over the phone and maybe the Internet. It makes me sad there might be one more reason that I can't take pictures, but like a good friend once told me, I can try setting up the tripod in the bedroom. There is just no good reason to not take care of this, except for the fact that I am scared to death I won't be good at it. Does that make sense?
OK, here is what I need from you. If you have ever had this test could you please leave me a comment and tell me what to expect? How long before I get the results? If they need to do a biopsy...how bad will that be? Please tell me whatever you feel comfortable sharing with me. Help me be more educated on this so I can take some of the fear out of it. The fear of the unknown is my greatest fear. I can hear the word cancer, as long as I have some idea where I go and what I need do next. And one more thing you can do for me...go and click that little button at The Breast Cancer Site everyday for those women who aren't as lucky as I am. Tell me I can do this. :(
February 16th, 2006
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