Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mapping the Terrifying

"I think I felt something in your breast last night."

I was undressing Meg, getting her ready for her shots, when Ryan said those words to me last Friday. It was the doctor's office that made him think of it, he had wanted to mention it to me the night before, but we had fallen asleep too quickly. We were already stressed (taking a baby for shots will do that to you), and now the room was super charged with anxiety.

"What do you mean? Which breast? How big?" I handed him the baby, and reached into my shirt, hoping the nurse wouldn't pick that moment to reappear. I put my hand behind my head, like I had seen on the charts in my gynecologist's office, slowly palpating the tissue. Ryan came over to guide my hand, showing me exactly where it was. Meg, thinking we were playing a game, reached out too. Pretty soon, the entire family was copping a feel, and I was almost positive the nurse would forget to knock first before coming in.

We couldn't feel anything. It wasn't until that night that we figured out it was a vein that occasion gets a little bulgy, but for several hours, I was in a complete panic. What if I has cancer? What would I do? What doctor would I see? What would my insurance cover? Who would take care of the baby? How would I know what treatment options were best? I felt like I was just told I possibly would have to go to Asia, without knowing where the hell Asia is, or what I would need for the journey.

And that's when I remembered about Navigating Cancer. My bloggy friend Snotty had just told me about it, and asked me to write something for it. I said no, I had no cancer experience, and the only thing I could write about was how much I hate awareness ribbons. Now, I found myself poring over the site, looking at all of the information, and feeling a bit calmer. This is an amazing resource, not just for cancer patients, but for family members as well. Really, I don't know why, in this day and age, someone hasn't thought of something like this before.

So, I am writing about this. First of all, because I am just so glad I am not going to an oncologist this week, waiting to hear if I have something deadly in my breast. Second, because I know people who have, and I know how they could have used a site like this. And third, because now the power of Snotty scares me. If you, or a loved one has cancer, check out Navigating Cancer.

Actually, check it out anyway. If nothing else, it will comfort you knowing that it's there.

It did me.


Kim said...

Could you warn your mother before she reads this? Cause the beginning was scary enough for the rest of us. Geez!

Anonymous said...

Nice post!

Anonymous said...

I have (apparently) lump breasts. I'm 31, and have gone to get them all mammogrammed (fun!) three times so far. It is terrifying, but it is also good to know that so much work has been done on cancer, and the odds of it turning out ok are so much higher even if it does turn out to be the big "C".

I'm glad yours wasn't!

Cate said...

gross. Your first line has just been added to my list of things I never want to hear.

kys said...

I've never heard of that site. Thanks for the link. And the reminder that I need to do my monthly exams. I never do them. Literally never. And my mom had breast cancer.

DC Diva said...

Great site Libby. Thanks.

So glad yours is nothing!

Badass Geek said...

It is a great site, isn't it?

Vic said...

Cancer terrifies me. I'm checking out the link. Thanks, Libby.

just making my way said...

Thanks, Libby. I has a thyroid cancer scare last year that I think I'm still in total denial about. Mostly because the biopsy turned out to be negative. But I really don't know what I would have done. You're "trip to Asia" metaphor is perfect.

Thank you for posting this.