Monday, October 10, 2005

Pink M&Ms!

Pink M&M's!
Originally uploaded by gluoma.
It was time for bed, so she began the routine. Went to the bedroom, got undressed and took her shower. As she stepped out of the shower her husband noticed the look on her face and asked what was wrong. "I think I found a lump on my breast under my arm, but I'm not sure."

She was diligent. Every month on her birth date she would give herself all the required self exams to ensure that she would never be the one who found anything amiss. Somehow in her head she felt like if she never missed an exam she would never really need one. Did that make sense? No, not really, but it was a superstition of hers. "Be prepared and you'll never have an emergency" type of thinking. But this time it wasn't working. She knew it, her husband knew it and the first thing the next morning the doctors knew it.

Luckily she had the kind of insurance that allowed her the luxury of a professional and complete exam the very next day. She went in, sat in the waiting room and convinced herself that she was just silly, over thinking or perhaps even just feeling something that was normal and she had missed previously. It was her turn and she went in.

The doctor did his exam. He consulted another doctor. She did her exam. Both of them looked straight at her and told her the nurse was scheduling a mammogram and that she would go down stairs, get the mammogram, wait for the results and bring them back up stairs for evaluation. "This is it.", she thought. "This isn't just me, they feel it too." Her heart sank a bit. She wanted to call her husband; but this was before cell phones and he was at work anyway. How could they talk? "It will be o.k.", She told herself.

She went in, had the mammogram, and waited. All the way back up stairs she wished she knew what she was looking for as she looked at the film of her breasts. She went in and the doctors looked and searched, mumbled something to each other and then came back over to her. "We're going to go ahead and take a needle biopsy. There are a few spots on both of your breasts, in several different places that we are concerned about. The biopsy will help us determine which direction we need to go." She was stunned, but o.k. "I can handle this. It's going to be o.k.", she kept repeating in her head. She actually felt calm inside.

She laid down and the doctor took a small needle and over and over again drew samples of her to be taken to a lab. After the third poke she began to cry. Not loud and weepy, just the tears came without warning or control. Just a few, and it bothered her that she was this upset. Inside she thought she was o.k. It was like her body couldn't take the idea of it all. There wasn't any pain, there wasn't any evidence to suggest anything really "wrong" yet and still the tiny little stream of tears flowed down her cheeks. "This is really stupid." she told the doctor. "No, no, believe it or not this happens all the time. It's a release. It's o.k." "But I'm not scared or anything. It doesn't hurt. It's just..." "Weird.", the doctor interrupted. "Yeah. I feel really stupid." "It's o.k. It's your body and we're invading it with all kinds of terrible news right now. But it will be o.k. You're doing fine. Just a few more."

The tests came back inconclusive. "You'll need to recheck every three months." It seems there were three good sized lumps, "baby-pea size" under the right arm in the breast tissue, and five others in the left breast that she had missed completely. Smaller than the others, but still there. They would check every three months to see if the lumps would grow. The cells weren't normal, but they didn't look cancerous either. "My luck, even my cells aren't normal." she thought. She went in faithfully every three months for two years, then every six months, and now faithfully once a year.

That's S'mee. I always have told myself that if it did happen I would handle it this way and that. But when I had to get real about it -all the planning flew out the window on wings of fear and dread. I am the girl with the abnormal cells. I am the girl with very good luck. I got myself off (most) caffeine and I stay diligent.

There are many people for whom luck isn't an option. And lest we think this can only happen to the gals, think again. It is called breast cancer, not female breast cancer. I have a dear friend who went through the whole male end of this and there were all kinds of emotions that came along with a disease that is primarily focused on one gender, and it wasn't his. He also took the Big C by the horns and did what needed to be done. My sister in law lost her mother to this disease and then twenty years later both of her breasts. They need your support along with millions of others.

This month M&M Mars is promoting pink M&Ms. Donations from every purchase will go directly to the Susan J. Komen Cancer Research fund. Go grab some pink deliciousness and enjoy helping a good cause.

add to sk*rt


chronicler said...

Cool! Pink M&Ms! I have to go buy some!

I wasn't around when that happened to you. Sorry. I could have told you though it wasn't anything. The genes aren't in our family. We have other great trials awaiting us. I just underwent the mammogram of all mammograms. Try as they might they could not find a thing. I did tell the tech though that I knew the machine had been invented by a guy. She said really? I respnded yep, if a guy had to put his testicles in here it wouldbe a whole different procedure!

chronicler said...

After sleeping on my comment, I have to add that your story is very compelling. I did not mean to belittle your story at all. It is a scary event in anyone's life and it is a story I wish we could say is unique. Hopefully we will move forward with research so our family memebers or anyone's family members will only be able to experience it by reading someone else's story.

It is also that I am a minimalist. Nothing really bad is going to happen to my sisters. I have had the one great tragedy (one?!??) of my life.

s'mee said...

I take no offence! Like in the post, I thought if I just do this or that I will be immune! We all hope for good things. Thanks for caring, I love you!

Bek said...

My mother in law was diagnosed a few months ago. When they went in for a lumpectomy, they decided to biopsy some trouble spots on the other side. It turns out that the other side has a really agressive, but different form, of cancer. Whe had a double mastectomy a few weeks ago and has not been able to start chemo yet because of continuing infection. It is terrible to see someone like this. It is ironic that this happened in October, now that I am aware of it I see the ads, the fundraisers and awareness campaigns everywhere. How did I not see them before?

Thanks for your story. It is nice to know that people come out the other side. Where can I get some of those pink m&m's?


s'mee said...

R, Your mom is my hero! It can be so rediculously difficult for everyone involved. Hang in there and love each other and when it gets really nuts, have good cry - it helps! : >

The M&Ms website tells us that we can get them places like Target, Walmart, KMart, yada yada yada.

Now, just to get all freaky deakey on you, but after reading your blog...we were at Disneyland the same day! WOW!

Lisa M. said...

Thanks S'mee.


Pinky pinky pinky candies. I so love anything chocolate!

s'mee said...

s'mee too!

Bek said...

Do you mean this trip (over the last weekend?). IT WAS CRAZY!!!!!

It is nice to know that other people read my blog. Someday I will get ambitious and start doing food blogging. I am such a foodie. I am currently obsessed w/ cupcake websites. :)

s'mee said...

O.k., this is how dull I am. When I read your blog I found the post about d-land that you wrote on the 16th of Sept. DUH and thought , "hmmm that's wierd, thats the day we went!"... then after seeing this comment knew I did not go last week end so I went back to your blog to find my mistake. Thor and I have passes so we try to get there often. HOWEVER, You write that you went to d-land in we went there in feb.(2nd Tuesday) o.k. so this is turning out to be a really stupid thing, but what the heck, lol i'm an idiot! haha! So no, I wasn't there last weekend. (Thor and I are planning a secret getaway there VERY soon...shhh, don't tell anyone!)

BUT, if you are into food you need to pop over to Food Chronicles, she's amazing! and can get you linked up to all kinds of good info! Her link is in my side panel.