“We got the results from your biopsy back… And they don’t look good… It’s cancer,” was all I heard the doctor say.
“What?” squeaked out my mom, “But she’s only 23. How can she have cancer?”
“I don’t know. I told the lab techs that they must be hallucinating.”
My journey with breast cancer began 6 months ago, in February. I am a high school drama teacher, so certain risks come with that profession 😉
I was walking down the hall one day, and a student booked it around the corner during class changes, jamming the corner of his massive math book right into my left breast. BAM! I got the wind knocked out of me and everything.
I returned to my classroom, doubled over in pain.
About a week later, I started to notice a lump forming right where the kid had run into me with his book. I didn’t worry because I thought it was just a bruise.
A month went by, and the lump still had not gone away… I thought it was just taking a while to heal, until my husband convinced me to go to the gynecologist to see if there was any thing seriously wrong with me.
I called the doctor’s office, where the secretary flipped out and told me to come in right away. I got one of my colleagues to watch my remaining drama classes and was able to go to the doctor that afternoon. I was greeted by a gynecologist (not my normal one) who told me on no uncertain terms that I had freaked out about nothing, and I would be fine. It would probably go away on its own.
I scheduled a follow-up appointment with my normal gynecologist anyway, just to be safe, and I returned to the office a few weeks later. My normal gynecologist told me it was probably nothing, but I should get an ultrasound of my breast anyway (in case there was something wrong).
I scheduled this appointment, and I was informed that my position at school was getting dissolved because they didn’t have enough funding already to keep me on full-time. (Gotta’ love the budget-cutting that goes on in the area of fine arts in the public school system *sigh*).
I went to my appointment for an ultrasound at the “Breast Center” for the clinic, and I was told my husband would not be allowed to accompany me into the examination room (RUDE!). The same day, I had an appointment with the surgeon to get the results of the ultrasound. The surgeon informed me that I had a cyst inside my breast, and I would need to get it aspirated to help it go away.
Seven doctor’s appointments later to get my cyst aspirated, and the surgeon was telling me she had no idea why it kept coming back. First, she tested it for infection, and second, she tested it for cancer. Both appeared negative.
While the surgeon had been aspirating my cyst, she had also noticed there was a small hematoma that seemed to be right next to the cyst, right in the spot where the student had run into me, several months before.
It was eventually decided that the cyst and hematoma needed to be removed, so I went in for surgery last monday (July 15). The surgery went well, but I needed to come in for a follow-up appointment on July 19th, one day before my 23rd birthday.
I came in for my appointment, and the surgeon asked how I was doing after my surgery. I told her I felt 100x better than I did with the cyst in my breast, and that is when she gave my mom and me the news.
WORST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER!
I just recently accepted a job at a different high school, so now I am working through the process of telling my employer about my situation and how to tell my friends (close to my age).
I read today that 0.08% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are in my age group. I don’t know how I beat the odds, but I sure did… in the worst way possible.
I have begun this blog because I want to be able to make sense of my situation. I have no followers yet, but I would love to hear thoughts and comments ❤