Listen to your Body

Also around this time ,my breast very itchy. Now if it was just the right breast that I had just had surgery and radiation on, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. But it was both breast and the left breast was the itchier of the two! I have read over the years that this can be a symptom of certain types of Breast Cancer but I have just been through almost an entire year of screening , mammograms and testing.

I know it sounds crazy, so crazy that I hesitated to even mention it to my doctor. She checked all my tests and told me everything looked fine. So I spent a fortune on creams for itchy skin and tried to put it out of my mind and move forward.

By this time it was Christmas. I had been diagnosed the previous February and than itchy breasts, I was finally starting to feel like myself again.

We had a wonderful Holiday. Lots of fun spent with family and friends. It was great! On New Years we toasted to year to come filled with hope and optimism. Our lives settled back into a normal rhythm. Anyone who has ever been diagnosed with cancer will tell you that you actually will crave normalcy and calm. Small things take on a whole new meaning. Like I was feeling great! Really great!

So along comes February. It was time once again for the dreaded mammogram. My appointment was at 9: 00 am. Why do I remember the time? I don’t know, I just do. All the old feelings of dread have taken over.

The Radiology tech takes my back to a “pretty pink room” again and I undress. I have been through this routine so often that I could sleepwalk through it. No I didn’t use any deodorant , cream or perfume today. The tech tries to make small talk but I am not up for any conversation ( which anyone who knows me will tell you that highly unusual for me). It is not her fault. I just want to get this over with and get out of here.

So the mammogram is taken and just like last year the Radiologist immediately request more images but this time they want them on my left breast. The original site of my cancer 25 years ago.

Are you kidding me? I can’t believe that this is happening again! I try to remain calm but I am freaking out inside. They want to take an ultrasound again like last year so they show me into another “inner waiting room.” This is a room that no one wants to be in. The other women in this room look as frightened as I feel. We are sitting there in our robes and we feel naked and exposed.

I am called into a room for the ultrasound. The doctor comes right in to explain that there is a mass in my left breast (the itchy one). NO ! NO ! NO! I can’t do this again.

I have no control and I burst into tears. The tech tries to comfort me while the doctor explains that I will have to have another biopsy. I ‘m trying to concentrate on what he is saying but I’m numb and I can feel myself shutting down. I don’t want to hear what he has to say. I just want to go home and crawl into bed and cry. Which is exactly what I do.

So it all begins again. The endless cycle of appointments, tests and surgery. Although this time will be very different.

I find out that my surgeon from last year just had surgery so her partner will perform the biopsy. I am very disappointed but there is nothing to be done about it.

The biopsy reveals that the mass is cancer. Surprise. Surprise. It is infiltrating ductal again and it is located under the scar of my original surgery. Since my surgeon removed all my lymph nodes on this side 25 years ago there is no sentinel node to check.

I keep thinking that this was the itchy breast. Was this my body’s way of telling me that something was going on? I picture my left breast waving up at me and yelling “Hey, don’t forget about me. I tried to tell you something was wrong!”

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