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Beacon Senior News

Reactions to finding a lump

Oct 01, 2020 03:07PM ● By Cappy Hall Rearick

A lump in the mashed potatoes

I was in the shower performing my “when I remember to do it” breast exam when I found it—the lump I never thought would find its way into my body. Blood drained from my brain and rushed down to my bunions. Thinking maybe I’d just grabbed some fatty tissue, I told myself to re-check to make sure. 

There it was again. I flew out of the shower, soapy water soaking into the new carpet while I grabbed the phone and called my gynecologist, stuttering my need for an appointment immediately, if not sooner. 

I managed to get myself dressed, into the car and to the office of my favorite doctor. She is delightful, sunbeam-bright and totally professional. Plus, she tells jokes so I won’t freak out while spread-eagled in one of a woman’s most vulnerable positions.

That day I was the one making the funnies hoping she’d enjoy my brand of jocularity. But while I was telling her a new boob joke, her gaze became one of empathic concern. She offered me only a slight smile when, normally, she would have laughed at my joke. 

Clearing her throat, she said, “Let’s get you to a surgeon for a second opinion. We’ll make the appointment for you.” 

A second frigid blood rush overtook what was left of my rational mind. So what did I do? I ran out of her office with a serious craving for chocolate. Two super-size Crunchy Reese’s Peanut Butter bars. 

They called two days later to say I had an appointment with a surgeon I’d never heard of in five fret-filled days.

After thinking it over, I told myself that was good news. Had my situation been dire, they wouldn’t make me wait five whole days. Would they? Something else took the edge off my worry. My boob felt like a stubbed toe and Google said that pain was not a usual sign of malignancy. Denial being my happy place, I was willing to go with that.

By the time the appointed day arrived, I had thought about everything but my lumpy mashed potato. Deep down, however, there was still a glacially cold fear that the “Big C” had taken up residence in one of my girls. 

Nobody in my family had ever had breast cancer. Nevertheless, I did occasional self-exams. I gritted my teeth while enduring modern medicine’s equivalent to waterboarding—the mammogram. I gulped vitamins and ate tons of cruciferous veggies. Cancer wouldn’t dare show up in my boob when cauliflower, kale and broccoli were my three best friends.

Thankfully, while the lump I discovered was very scary, it was not cancer. But it served as the wake-up call I needed in order to realize the importance of monthly breast exams.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Call Women's Wellness Connection to see if you're eligible for free breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Delta County (offered through the health department) - 874-2183

Mesa County (offered through Marillac Clinic) - 298-7765

Montrose County - Get free help with screening and resources through Montrose Memorial Hospital by calling 252-2893 or email [email protected]