I wish I could say that I started writing all of this down on the first day, but I didn't. I wish I could say that I handled everything just fine, but I didn't. I wish I could say that I have it all figured out, but I don't.
Nevertheless, I do want to recount things as they happened for a lot of reasons. One is to get it off my chest, literally. The other is that you may be sitting there reading this book because you have been diagnosed with cancer and are in a panic and no one is alive that you can talk to that will understand exactly what you are going through. I understand now why they have those millions of different support groups.
This is not the first book I have written. I have written others both on paper and in my mind. This one is a tough one though because unlike my others this one is about me, my feelings, my fears, my lack of control. My others were self help books for other people. This one is my own personal self help book for me.
Where do I start? Hmmm. Well, let's start at the beginning. I have always been pretty healthy. Not marathon runner healthy but healthy. I wasn't a druggie, not even prescription. I ate fairly healthy, or so I thought. I exercised when I thought about it, which wasn't all that often, but I wasn't a slob. One thing that I was and still am is optimistic. At least on the outside. Most people you meet when all of this is over will tell you that I am or was the most optimistically energetic person they know or knew --- depending upon the outcome of all of this. See, I told you it was on the outside.
I will tell you that I noticed the lump, a small one, a year before I really NOTICED the lump. A little background is needed here. In 2004 I treated myself to breast implants. Honestly, after the initial pain and getting used to them I can tell you that at the time it was the best thing that I ever did to improve my looks and the way I felt about myself. That's neither here nor there. But, because of the breast implants (saline) I had been instructed by my doctor to massage them regularly. It was during one of the massages that I noticed the small lump.
Years prior I had read or heard or been told that drinking a lot of caffeine was the cause of lumps within the breast. So I chalked the small lump that I had found up to the six or more cups of coffee I drank every day. I didn't drink the cheap stuff either. Starbucks was a regular hang out for me. And there were no fancy, diluted drinks in my order. It was always a tall, regular drip with no room for cream (bold). Anyway, the lump must have been extra caffeine hanging around my system. I went about my business and told myself that I would cut back on the java.
As the months went by I noticed that the lump would come and go (maybe I just thought it did). Well, anyway, one day I noticed that it had gotten a little larger. I had put on a few pounds so I thought perhaps that was the reason. Was I feeding this lump? I told myself that I would need to start exercising more and not eat late at night.
Okay, so now I have cut back on the coffee and started eating a little better. Not much cutting back on the coffee and not much eating better but hey, I still looked and felt okay.
Each time I stepped out of the shower I felt for the lump. As the days passed I was hoping that each time I felt for it that it would have disappeared into thin air. After all, I was a pretty positive person. You could will these things into existence and you can will them out of existence too. I guess I wasn't 'willing' in the right way. You can't will something out of existence if you are constantly thinking about it. Can you?
And so my story begins ….