Friday, October 03, 2008

A Survivor's Journey, Part 1

So I always feel a little weird about self-identifying as a breast cancer survivor. I mean, technically speaking, I am: I had breast cancer, and I didn't die! Sure, there was more to it than that, but not a whole lot. I haven't blogged about it much - if at all - because for me, it was about as far from an Epic Adventure as you could get!

But I guess with it being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all, I want to describe my experience with breast cancer, mostly because it is very different from the HUGE ORDEAL that comes to mind when people imagine that disease.

It was about midway through the fall of my third year of college; I was 20. I went to FSU, and while I wasn't a total party hound, I generally put off doing homework until 1 or 2 AM, while sitting around in my T-shirt and sweats, until I couldn't keep my eyes open.

I've never been the neatest or most organized person in the world, so when I started noticing stains on the front of my shirts in the morning, I figured it was a bad combination of poor coordination, late nights, and caffeinated beverages. So I cut way back on the Cokes and going to bed earlier. The problem was, I didn't start noticing any changes. Maybe the stains hadn't come out? I began to suspect that there was more to this.

Then one afternoon I came back from... I don't know, the gym or something, and I didn't have a class so I lay down for a nap completely dressed. When I got up, I noticed that somehow I had spilled coffee on the INSIDE of my sports bra. ???! So, yeah, something definitely wrong with me, and I had no idea at all what it might be.

More than a little creeped out by this, I dragged myself to the campus health center to meet with The Girl Doctor. I suffered through the indignity that is the Annual Exam (which I really think was the low point of the whole experience) without saying a THING about my strange symptoms, and I might've run out of there without mentioning them, except I remembered that the symptoms were the reason for that whole rotten ordeal in the FIRST place. So when The Girl Doctor asked if there was anything else that I needed, I said, "Well..."

I told her what I had seen, she had me lean back on the table again (at least I didn't have to put my feet in the stirrups - ugh!!) and she started poking at my boob! AND IT LEAKED! "Does that hurt?" No, it didn't hurt, but OMGWTF?!!!

It SO didn't help that she noticed that one particular area seemed to be... ah... more affected, let's say. "Wow, it's really comin' out, isn't it?"




Oh GOD. That is my BOOB, not some overly large and fleshy pimple! I was mortified.

Anyway, it finally went from gush to tinkle to nothing at all, and she'd taken a sample to send away for testing. I was so glad to just get out of there. Seriously. I felt like I was escaping when I stepped out the door. Thank God that's over.

Only it wasn't.


Melissa B. said...

OMG, must have been terrified! If this happened in college, I can only assume (and hope) that you've been cancer-free for a good long while. Thanks for telling your story to us.

Melissa B. said...

2 things...did you see that Laura Bush lit the White House pink the other nite in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month? My friend Veggie Mom over at Eat Your Veggies! has a cool snap on her site. One other thing, Dearest Clix...BTW, please don't forget S x 3 tomorrow. Gotta good one for ya!

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