A Spark of Fear

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First off, I would like to say, this is not an advertisement for my story, Boob Von Voyage One Woman’s Story.  However, if you have read my cancer story, I’m here today to tell you, there is always something that can spark that fear, even years out from your first diagnosis.

2008, a routine mammogram showed two small tumors in my left breast. When my doctor called and said it was breast cancer, I’m sure my response was like so many women’s, or maybe not. My first thought was, “F…. me.” I know, not very lady like but then cancer doesn’t care. My second thought was, “Okay, let’s get rid of this.”

A couple of weeks later, after biopsies, ultrasounds, numerous doctor’s appointments, mastectomy, reconstruction and I left the hospital cancer free.

Skip forward, September 2015, four months short of completing my 8th year, bam! A lump! “Holy crap! That wasn’t there yesterday!” I could feel the fear coursing through my body, as I stood in the shower. “Wait a minute! Calm down. That’s my left breast. I have no breast tissue there. What the hell?”

This was on Friday afternoon and on Monday afternoon I was on the table in my doctor’s office showing him what I had found. He agreed with my husband and myself that we were feeling my implant. It was trying to leave home. The question was if it had ruptured.  MRI ordered.

Now, my worry was with silicone leaking into my body. Again, not a happy thought but after talking to the manufacture of the implant and researching, I decided I wouldn’t get all upset until we see what the MRI had to say.

Imaging office at the cancer center calls to make an appointment for me, but since I have not talked to my doctor yet, they won’t discuss the situation. Not allowing myself to panic, I pull up my MRI report my medical network. There it is, the spark. The words that give birth to fear that I haven’t felt since 2008. Always, in the back of your mind, as a cancer survivor, there is that knowledge the cancer could come back. I’m lucky enough or dumb enough to be able to box that fear up and only let it out once a year when I have my mammogram on my natural breast. After I get the results, I box the thought up and leave it there for another year. I have life to live.

I read the report quietly in my office after I printed it. “Implant has ruptured.” I had already figured that out by the strange shape my breast is now showing. I read on. “There is an oval mass with…..”  My heart skips a beat.  A mass? “Deep tissue mass.” “Possible lymph node.”

Not wanting my mind to run wild, I give the report to my husband who is a combat medic. He calmly tells me it could be my lymph node reacting to the silicone leak, but he reads the report three more times. I’m trying my best to not let this spark turn into an uncontrolled fire of fear.

I tell my daughter and a few close friends and we all wait two days for the ultrasound.  I found it ironic that all of this happens in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Yesterday I have the ultrasound and the doctor doused the spark and pending fire with a smile that spreads to all of us. The MRI did show a mass and they couldn’t tell absolutely if it was a lymph node. They wanted to make sure. It was a very healthy lymph node.

I have won the cancer lottery twice now! I’m not real happy with the rupture of the implant and having to replace it but compared to what could have been, I’m feeling very blessed and happy.

I’m waiting now to see a plastic surgeon, which we will then decide if I will have the implant replaced. If not, I’m hoping they can save my tattoo. And that little bit of worry is much easier to deal with than wondering if they can save my life again.

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