It was a normal morning in November of 2008. I was in the shower getting ready for the day. I reached for my loofah (bath sponge) and shower gel. No loofah! It was across the bathroom in the tub and I was in a hurry so I just put some shower gel in my hand. As I moved my hand under my right arm, I felt a lump. I thought to myself…that’s odd. Then, I compared it to the left side and something was definitely different with my right side. I quickly got dressed and went to work.
By the time I was able to contact my primary care doctor, I had an appointment for the first week in December. My primary care doctor sent me for a CAT scan suspecting that it was lymphoma and a mammogram just to be on the safe side. I just had a mammogram in March and I was very vigilant to get one every year. During the mammogram, a lump was detected in my right breast and two suspicious masses in my right axilla (under arm). I scheduled a biopsy before I left. In the meantime, I got ready for Christmas and for Paige’s (my eldest daughter) graduation from nursing school.
On December 26, 2008, the on call doctor told me that I had breast cancer! He was very apologetic for delivering the news over the phone. Of course I was full of questions like… How bad is it? What stage is it? What now? He told me that he didn’t know how to read the pathology report but that he didn’t want me to worry. (Really? Didn’t want me to worry?) He went on to say that many of his patients were 10, 20 and even 30 years breast cancer survivors. An appointment was scheduled with a Surgical Oncologist for Monday. It was Friday and I had to wait until Monday to find out details. All I could think about was how would I tell my husband, children, mother, other family members and friends.
After I hung up the phone, tears streamed down my face. I sat in the front room and stared out the window and I prayed! I remembered a song that we used to sing in church when I was a little girl.
- Peace, peace, wonderful peace coming down from the Father above.
- Sweep over my spirit forever I pray in fathomless billows of love.
You see…I am a believer…a Christian…a person of strong faith and I prayed….
Telling Others of My Diagnosis
When Doug came home from work, I told him that I indeed had breast cancer. I don’t remember his full reaction but I know he told me that everything would be alright. We told the girls that night and I totally recall their reaction. Kelsey (17), my youngest, just sat there and looked at me and Paige (21), the eldest, said, “So you are going to die?” I replied, “I don’t plan to die. God will heal me.” The next night Doug and I went to tell my mom. I didn’t want to give her that news over the phone. Doug’s side of the family was in New Mexico so I had to tell them by phone.
When you receive a diagnosis of cancer, your life changes forever. It took years for me to be able to talk about my diagnosis and progress without tearing up. Now, I am ready to share my story and help others. One of my favorite verses is: 1 Timothy 4:16 (Living Bible) “Keep a close watch on all you do and think. Stay true to what is right and God will use you to help others.”
I am so thankful for the life saving loofah.
The life saving loofah is now retired.
I write about my thoughts, my hopes, my soul, my highs, my lows and everything in between. I share my journey through breast cancer and invite you to read my story in Keeping It Real.