Okay, folks, I'm going to get "real" here and share what's been going on with me, health-wise.
About a month ago, I discovered a lump in my breast. Needless to say, I was alarmed. I immediately scheduled an appointment with my OB-GYN. She then sent me to an imaging center for a mammogam and ultrasound. My hope was that it's simply a cyst. No such luck. It was solid. Next step: fine-needle biopsy.
The results of the fine-needle biopsy revealed atypical cells. What does this mean? Well, it doesn't necessarily mean cancer, but that couldn't be ruled out. Next step: a consult with the surgeon. I met with the surgeon and after she examined me, it was decided that I would have a lumpectomy and sentinal lymph node biopsy.
I had the surgery on a Thursday, went home that evening and spent the next few days recovering and waiting on my results. I finally heard the good news from the surgeon: benign and no pre-cancerous cells found. I do have Lobular Carcinoma in Situ (LCIS), though, which while not cancer, greatly increases my risk of cancer.
Now, I'm likely making this sound like a quick process, but it took more than a month for all of the tests, procedures and results. The waiting induced such worry and anxiety. I found that waiting for the results made me feel far worse than the actual procedures.
Next steps? Regular MRI screenings, rather than standard mammograms. And, apparently I'm a good candidate for Tamoxifen, a drug that has been shown to reduce breast cancer risk. I meet with the doctors tomorrow to gather more information on this treatment. I then have a follow-up with the surgeon on Thursday.
So, why I am telling you all of this information? Because if I can convince at least one woman to do a self-exam and seek treatment early, then I've accomplished something - at least in my little world. In today's age, with early detection and the technology available, many forms of cancer can be treated and people can go on living long, productive lives.
Moral of the story? Ladies, regularly examine your "girls." Guys, regularly examine your "boys." Live long. Be happy. Cherish everything!