Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Be a survivor
4. If it is cancer, I don't want to know it.
5. Why bother? If it is cancer, I'm going to die anyway.
I'm pretty familiar with the first three, because I used them myself. I was moved to action only when my gynecologist asked what I was waiting for.
I think the fourth goes through everyone's mind -- for a few minutes, anyway. If this is your excuse, you need to recognize that not knowing isn't going to make it go away. You need to acknowledge your enemy before you can fight it.
As for number five, this is the most incredible of all, and yet I have heard perfectly sane and otherwise rational women tell me this. My response is, "Really? I'm still here."
You might well ask yourself, if you suspect something is wrong, "What's the worst that can happen?" First, you may have your fear confirmed by a doctor. On the other hand, you now have an ally.
You may have a needle aspiriation to check for cancer cells. This is painless (at least, I never felt it). And, it may come back negative and you can go home and kiss your husband or lover and carry on with your busy life.
If it is positive, you may have a biopsy/lumpectomy. This requires surgery, but there is a quick recovery and little scarring. You may miss a day or two of work, and then put your experience behind you.
If the biopsy shows a more advanced cancer, you have a choice of partial resection or a mastectomy. You and your surgeon will sit down and talk about the pros and cons. The days of radical mastectomies are in the past except in very advanced cases -- which yours isn't, because you caught it early.