Insights from My Personal Journey
This month I was reminded again how breast cancer can sneak up on anyone. A longtime family friend went in for her routine mammogram and the dreaded news came back that the doctor wanted to do some more investigating. As it turns out, this friend had Dense Breast Tissue, aka DBT. I also had DBT. For years, you go to the doctor, thinking that you are doing what you are supposed to do for routine screenings. You are, that is, until you find out that when you really check into your past screening reviews, that they all say “inconclusive..no change.”
Whoa! That’s not what I was expecting to read. The room starts to spin and your brain is going a mile a minute asking question upon question. Your heart leaps into your throat and you just want to scream, “Why didn’t the doctors tell me this before?”
The next steps are an Ultra Sound with possible Biopsy and MRI. During all of this the world stops. Now you are presented with the fact that you might have breast cancer, but “oh try not to worry about it until the results come in.” WHAAAAATTT!? I think I will just detach my head from my body for the next few days, so that I won’t be sick with worry and fear..seriously!? And let’s not forget that you typically cannot keep this to yourself. There are loved ones that you need to share with. In my case, my husband, mother and sister were all on my immediate tear-filled call list.
This time, the time of what I call, “not knowing,” is beyond words a stress filled cacophony of emotions, tears and dread for everyone that is now waiting to find out your diagnosis. I will say to you, that know one can make you feel better during the “not knowing time.” The only thing that will bring any relief is when you get the call from the doctor. In my case, I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Ductal Carcinoma in my right breast back in 2011. Even though it wasn’t the news I wanted to hear and everything came crashing down, at least I had a diagnosis and would be looking at possible treatments, which gave me a little sense of control over my body again.
My friend ended up having a benign tumor, thank goodness! However, the trauma filled weeks of doctors, procedures and then waiting turned her world upside down. Thankfully, she now has a diagnosis and she and her loved ones can move on with their lives and heal.
I will say, please be kind to yourself if you are going through the “not knowing time.” Let others jump in to help, even if you typically don’t let them. They need something to grasp onto as well, and a simple gesture can be very comforting.
Stay strong and fight for your life!