I feel like I should preface this post by saying that everything is fine. I’m fine and healthy and other than the preexisting genetic condition that I talked about in this post, I’m as normal as can be. That being said, it has kind of been a crazy month. I feel like I have been off my blog game a little bit with everything that has been going on, so for that, I apologize.
In the post mentioned above, I shared that I’m a carrier of the BRCA1 genetic mutation, which dramatically increases my risk for breast and ovarian cancer. I am tested and screened all the time and plan to have a mastectomy this summer in order to take my risk of breast cancer down to almost nothing. But when you have this type of gene and you have a family history like mine, you are always on the lookout, always checking, always taking every precaution.
Well, about a month and a half ago I found a lump. I figured it was just a gland thing and that it would go away, but a few weeks later, it was still there. I called the high risk specialists that I see (who are my bffs by now– we chat way too much 🙂 ) and they set up a mammogram and ultrasound to get it checked out. In the week between setting the appointment and the appointment date, I found another lump.
This isn’t the first scare I’ve had since finding out I had the BRCA1 gene. A couple years ago I went in for a regular MRI screening and they thought they saw something. They wanted to do a biopsy but it happened to be a holiday weekend, so I had to wait four days– four days without any information other than there was something inside of me, the girl who is extremely likely to get breast cancer and whose mother and grandmother and great grandmother all had had breast or ovarian cancer– that needed to come out.
At that point I only had Connor and I spent four long days picturing him growing up without a mother– the worst possible place to go mentally, I know. But those four days were also very humbling. I had to really come to grips with the fact that God is in control and I am not. God knows my future and Connor’s future and Donnie’s future, and He wants His very best for us. Even if they had found cancer the day I went back in for that biopsy, that would be true. Fortunately, they didn’t see anything. They didn’t even end up doing a biopsy because there was nothing there. But those four days really made me face reality and realize that life is SO not about me.
So back to this past month and a half. It has kind of been like a mental wrestling match. On one hand, I was nervous about what this could be, and if I started thinking about the worst possible scenario for too long, I would get sad and scared. But another part of me felt like I had already been down that road and seen where it could lead, so while I was scared, I knew I just had to trust that whatever this was was going to be okay.
Almost two weeks ago I went in for the mammogram and ultrasound. And of course I took a selfie in the dressing room because that’s what you do when you’re nervous and don’t want to spend an incredibly long amount of time sitting in the waiting room with a bunch of women who are at least 30-40 years older than you and wondering what the heck you’re doing there. <— Run on sentence 😉
I had the mammogram and then went in for the ultrasound. Two different doctors looked at the lumps and said that they looked like completely normal tissue. Yay! But they also said that since the tissue was so dense I should schedule an MRI just to be safe. Boo. More waiting.
Fast-forward to Tuesday. MRI day. Besides feeling a little loopy due to meds they gave me for an allergy, everything went smoothly and as expected. When they called me on Wednesday to let me know that everything was fine, I can’t even begin to describe the relief I felt. Tears came immediately, and I felt like a huge weight had been lifted. I hadn’t realized how much this whole situation had been weighing on me. Thankfully it all came to nothing, but mentally, it has just been a huge roller coaster ride that I’m so thankful to be getting off of for the moment. Maybe my creativity will even come back now, lol.
When things like this happen, it makes me pray even harder for those women (and men too) out there fighting cancer or any other disease. They are so strong, and I can only begin to imagine the physical and mental battles they’re fighting each day. Just experiencing a tiny, minute little snippet of what they go through day in and day out has sort of turned my world upside down, and I fervently pray that God will bring peace and strength and healing to all of those situations.
As far as what happens next for me, I have appointments in the next couple weeks with my surgeons to nail down details and dates for a mastectomy and reconstruction this summer. At this point, I just can’t wait to get it over with! I feel like I’ve known about it for so long that I just want to be able to get past that chapter in my life and move on. I think it will also be a relief to not have to worry about scares like this one happening any more. Whew. Now with all of that out of the way, I’m ready for a fun, relaxing weekend, aren’t you?! Hug your loved ones tight and make sure you tell them how much they mean to you! 🙂