October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My month of acute personal awareness of breast cancer was actually last March when I was diagnosed, and now every day is Breast Cancer Awareness day for me. I think it’s something all women think about and most are eventually touched by through someone we know. But even if it never actually happens to you there are sometimes little scares. Lumpy little scares.
I have always been lumpy. I think I was about 16 the first time I went to my GP with a lump that had been scaring the crap out of me for weeks until I finally showed my mother, who dialed the doctor’s office even before I had my shirt back on.
My doctor always examined my lumps very carefully and even sent me to specialists on a couple of occasions, but I was assured that lumpy breasts are normal for some women. However, my doctor and I had a deal that was as serious as it was simple: If I find them, I bring them to her, and she decides if they need further investigation.
Last March, 20 years and many benign lumps later, I noticed yet another little interloper in Lefty. It was a hard little almond-shaped thing and I wasn’t concerned. When the day of my appointment rolled around, it was a workday like any other – I had a mind full of to-do lists and was distracted by thoughts of anything but cancer. I sat in my doctor’s office believing this was merely the latest addition to Lumpy Lefty. Then she examined me and said, “No, this is not one of your normal lumps,” and my whole world shifted.
Or began to, and hasn’t stopped shifting since. To the left.