I remember the day my mom told me. She called my phone, frantic. She felt a lump.
“MOM, it’s nothing!” I insisted. I was sure of it.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. Upon having the lump checked, the doctor’s discovered that it was, in fact, breast cancer. Mom would have to undergo chemo and radiation in hopes of destroying those cancerous cells.
I tried to stay strong during the process - forcing my mom to watch funny cat videos on youtube during doctor’s appointments, bringing picnic foods to chemo sessions and giving her all my favorite hats and scarves to keep her head warm during winter…but I wasn’t the strong one. She was.
I called to check on her one evening on my way home from an event when she suggested I check myself. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what to look for. But I thought, might as well start now!
So I checked. Everything felt pretty normal until I got to the right side…and it was then I started to feel a wave of anxiety rush over me. There was definitely something there - something hard, but still small, about half the size of a marble, I’d imagine. I called my OBGYN right away.
I won’t go on with the details, but LONG story short, the doctor wanted to do a biopsy just to make sure it was benign (as she was near certain it was), which didn’t phase me too much. I’ve had knee surgery, orthoscopic procedures - could this be any worse?
Turns out, it was a pretty awful experience…everyone had downplayed the procedure, but it totally did a number on me physically and emotionally. Maybe part of it was being under local anesthesia or maybe it was seeing the procedure that got to me…or maybe I’m just a big baby. But it was rough to say the least. I sort of had a meltdown post-procedure and was so happy I had my husband take me to the appointment.
One of the harder parts about having the biopsy was that I didn’t really know who I could talk with about it…it’s not the kind of thing you just mention in passing. Knee surgery? That’s not really something you can hide. But this was so hidden and it seemed like I was oversharing when I’d mention it to friends, but I needed to connect with someone who’d been through it! And in telling others, I had hoped someone would say, “Oh I’ve been through that!”
Luckily, I mentioned it during a prayer request time at my church and someone came up to me afterwards who had also gone through it! It felt SO good to talk with someone my own age about the emotional and physical struggles that came with finding a lump on your breast, cancerous or not.
We heard back from my doctors the following week and great news - it was not cancerous! However, not everyone is that lucky.
That’s why I’m SUPER passionate about being proactive, doing routine checks on yourself and getting yourself checked by a professional when worries arise. And starting this Thursday, Kiehls (the skincare love of my life) is putting on several events to raise awareness and funds for the GW Mammovan!
A little about the GW Mammovan: their goal is to make life-saving, early detection of breast cancer possible for all women throughout metropolitan Washington, regardless of their ability to pay. This mobile unit travels to corporate and community sites, offering one-stop screening performed in a comfortable, convenient environment.
- Learn more about the GW Mammovan and breast health from Dr. Rachel Brem
- Tour the Mammovan
- Meet the DC Newsbabes, a breast cancer charity founded in 2008 by amazing anchorwomen in Washington, D.C.
- Enjoy complimentary 20-minute seated facials or hand massages
- Customers attending this event will receive a 15% discount on all purchases, except charitable products and value sets.
- Receive a gift from Kiehl’s when you donate to the Mammovan
- Refreshments and treats
Learn more about the series of events here! And if you're going through something similar or have any questions, please feel free to send me an email! I'm not a doctor by any means, but I'm happy to share my experience and I'd like to think I'm good with words, at times. ;)