Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chapter One – The Now You See It, Now You Don’t Lump)

The lump came and went several times after that. It became such a regular occurrence I decided to ignore it all together. It didn't seem to grow any so why worry about it? I had heard from other women that if it moved around and wasn't painful that it was probably just a cyst brought on by stress and caffeine. The qualifications of stress and caffeine made me a prime target for these cysts so I went about my daily routine. After all, who isn't stressed? Most everyone I knew couldn't make it through the day with at least some form of caffeine. At least I didn't add sugar and cream to mine.

I thought about going for a mammogram just to make sure that I had no cause for concern, but those things hurt and weren't covered by the kind of insurance I could get as a self employed business owner. I recalled the last mammogram I had two years prior was not only painful but reminded me of a modern form of torture. Surely we have come farther along in technology not to have to squeeze painfully stretched body parts between two plates of cold metal while holding our breaths and allowing a machine using radioactive material to take a fuzzy picture. So for right now I ignored the 'now you see it now you don't lump' until January. In January, shortly after all of the holiday decorations had been put up and I began working on achieving my carefully thought out goals for the year I remembered that it was this time the year prior that I had thought of adding 'regular self breast exams' to my resolutions for that year. I had not done it this year either. I reached for the spot where the lump had been a year ago and felt it again. This time it was no longer the size of a small pimple. It had grown. The lump was about the size of a pea. Should I be concerned? Probably not. It would probably be gone by the end of the week. I'll just cut back on the caffeine. That should do it.

I forgot about the lump until a week later when I felt for the lump again and it was still there. Okay, maybe I had cheated a bit on the coffee. I'll give it another week and see what happens. Besides, I didn't have time to make time for an appointment…or was that true? I could make time to call and make an appointment. I just didn't have time to go to the appointment. Especially since it seems that you never get in at your designated appointment time and I don't like sitting out in a waiting room filled with sick people. I'll make the appointment and then cancel when the lump goes away.

I called up a doctor friend of mine who I knew would get me in as quickly as possible. Meria had always been one of my favorite doctors. She didn't even look like a doctor. She was pretty, petite and really loved what she did. I felt that going to a female doctor would give me a one up on this lump thing. She'd probably seen it a hundred times and knew exactly what caused it and how to get rid of it for good. I knew that Meria would see me and tell me something like, "It's nothing to be concerned about. Women get these all the time, especially busy women. Drink more water and cut back on your coffee. That should do it." I made my appointment for the next week and looked forward to being able to cancel it when the time came and the lump once again disappeared.

The week passed. The lump remained and I made my way to my appointment with Meria. After filling out the necessary paperwork and flipping through a couple of magazines I was called in. I hadn't seen Meria in a while so we made small talk about the weather, her practice and everything else besides my lump until she asked me to show it to her. I watched her face as she felt the lump with her fingers on both sides moving it slightly from left to right and up and down. In what seemed like less than a minute we were finished with the exam. Meria said, "It's probably nothing to be concerned about, but I would like for you to have a mammogram just to be on the safe side. Let's get you scheduled for one as quickly as possible so that you can put this behind you." I agreed to the mammogram and scheduled it for January 31st in Southlake, a nearby town.

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