Today is an important day in the Mexican community -- and is a great excuse for the rest of us to get margarita specials at our local Mexican restaurants. It celebrates Mexican victory over the French in the Battalla de Puebla in 1862. I'm not from Mexico (though my brother-in-law is), and I can't drink -- so I guess it's just another day for me! Still - celebrate and be happy.
The quote that came into my mind this morning was one that Dr. Robert Schuller always used to open his services. As the sunshine poured in my kitchen window, I thought: This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalms 118:24).
Before you go thinking that I've gone holy-roller or ((shudder)) right-wing, just remember that today is the day I go for my doctor's visit about the lumps. I'm scared; oh yes, I'm scared. But I'm trying to remember that we don't get to choose what happens to us. We have no control over many things that happen in our lives. Any sense of control is just an illusion.
I have a good attitude. I've looked at both sides of the coin. I realize that 80% of lumps are nothing (cysts, etc.) and that the odds are in my favor that this is nothing. But as I told my sister and my husband, the reality is that many women are diagnosed each year with breast cancer (and so are men). It can be a deadly cancer if not caught early, but I'm very early in the game. Yes, I'm a little late on getting my mammogram (by 6 months) and haven't been good about breast self-exams (BSEs), but all of that is going to change. I'm going to stick to the recommendations, because the thought of having breast cancer is SCARY. Out of all the people I have known with breast cancer (or lumps), they are all still alive, but some, like my husband's aunt, went through radical mastectomies back in the day. She survived. Another friend is a two time survivor. My mother-in-law had a lump that turned out to be a cyst. My therapist had a couple of lumps that turned out to be due to too much soy consumption. So...I'll be okay, too.
Yesterday I went to church for the first time since 1994 (unless you count my mother's funeral in 2006 or my jaunt over to the local Catholic church the day that Pope John Paul II died). I found a local non-denominational church that has a large church in Gaithersburg but is meeting in the conference center of the local Holiday Inn right now. I suppose they are building their Frederick community and will eventually build a church. I never expected to see so many people there. They had a full band, two big screens that showed the words to the songs as we went along (better than handing out hymnals, I suppose). The best thing was that it was a complete melting pot of people. All nationalities and races, all walks of life. I enjoyed myself, and yes, I prayed for healing. I feel a little desperate right now in my fear. But I trust that it will all come out okay. I'm prepared, either way.
But I want to encourage all of you reading this blog - men and women! - to do your BSE today. The methods have changed from the recommendations I had been following from way back when. Go to the Susan G. Komen foundation's web site here and scroll down a little. On the left side there is an online breast self-exam video that shows you exactly how to do this. It's a far cry from the little cards they used to provide. Isn't the Internet wonderful? We are never alone or without the information we need. It's as close as our fingertips.
Use those fingertips today to do your BSE. I hope you find nothing this month and every month, but be healthy.
Peace - D
11:20 am update:
I saw my doctor and she confirmed a mass. She said it didn't make her hair stand on end but that it was appropriate for me to be concerned. She ordered a stat diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. I went straight over to the hospital's outpatient center and they are working me in at 1 pm. She said that it could be a clump of cysts or ... and I can't remember the second thing she said it could be. She told me not to freak out. If I don't hear from her today, I'm to call her. She can pull up the results on the computer system. I can also ask to speak to the radiologist about the films.
Next step could be another mammo in 6 months, or it could be a biopsy.
Will post again later. D