It was three in the morning as I lay in bed staring at the dark ceiling. It is a regular routine for me to be awake at that ridiculous hour. I followed my usual habit of laying there staring at the ceiling for about twenty minutes then getting up and wandering through the quiet house, eating some yogurt or a granola bar. Then head back up, taking an herb my husband keeps on hand to relax the mind, and fall back into bed hoping for sleep.
This particular night was the same. Nothing new. Nothing different. I was just laying there listening to the creek drifting out of my sound machine next to the bed. Then I felt it. It was a small pain that ran in my left chest and I reached with my right hand to give it a rub. You know how a quick massage can chase away those little mysterious pains that invade our bodies? That’s what this was. Just a mysterious little twinge.
There it was. I felt it. The dreaded lump. The one every woman quietly worries over throughout her life. Like Mount Everest it seemed to leap from my breast in its vastness. My breathing stopped. I’m sure my eyes must have dilated and I honestly think my heart leaped into the next room. Then something kicked in upstairs and I fell into a full blown state of panic. Within thirty seconds I had run the gamut of dying tomorrow to the whole thing being a cruel trick of my imagination. Quickly I did a double, then triple, then quadruple check. Yep. It’s there. Bigger than life, or possibly even death itself, a lump. I was panting. My heart thrummed in my ears while my body vibrated with out of control nerves.
As the horrific scenarios rolled through my mind an idea formed on the outskirts of the disaster. I needed information and I needed it now. It was four ante meridiem, and the doctor’s office wouldn’t open for several more hours. For once in my life I was thankful for the internet. I have heard that it is the worst place to go for information about medical issues, but this was one instance I didn’t care. I combed websites for any little clue as to what I had and after nearly three hours I came away feeling a little less panicked. The reel of my life stopped running in fast forward. I could postpone calling an ambulance and wait the hour left to call my doctor for an appointment.
I did get in to see my doc and he is quite sure it is a cyst that has accumulated fluid around it (thus the size of Mt. Everest). He is in the ninetieth percentile of surety. It is that last ten percent that keeps me on edge. I am constantly tempted to get back on my computer to learn about that other ten percent, but I have resisted the urge. The internet contains vast amounts of information on everything related to breasts whether they hang from a woman or a man. There are hundreds of thousands of links that are filled with the good, the bad, and the misinformed. Since I found “Mt. Everest” three days ago I have mostly ignored the internet. It is just too much information. I am working to stay on the normal side of insanity. I have tests coming up soon that will give me the answers that I need. Until then, I have resolved not to let this sap my life away. Why let it? If I fall into the category with cancer then I will do what I have done all my life…cross that bridge if I come to it.
*Post publication note: As it turns out this was breast cancer. You can read my story under the cancer tab.