Several days ago my left breast began to burn. It then began to ache. Then it started itching - deep inside. I checked for redness. None. I checked for discharge. None. I did not check the internet. No way.
I waited, waited, it got worse, I even prayed over it, blessing my breast that it would stop aching and heal. And then about four days into the pain, I pulled the office nurse aside; she pulled the doctor in, and on my four year post-treatment anniversary, he put a big black X on my boob, said, "Yes, I feel it," and sent me in for an ultrasound. I had to wait two days for that.
Damn I have had cancer. The fear of reoccurance, while tucked away and logically nearly impossible, is always there. I keep thinking that when I hit my five-year marker that anxiety will leave, for good. Oh I pray this is so.
So I had the ultrasound, and sure enough, there's a fairly obvious horizontal ridge/mass, right above my nipple. The radiologist came in to read it.
He said, "Yes, it's there. But it's not cancerous. About 5% of those who've had breast cancer get this. It's hormone related, and creeps up whenever it wants. It's worth keeping your eyes on, being aware, and I'm glad you came in, and that we now have a baseline to continue watching this. Get your mammograms, and we'll continue to monitor. Have a good day." And he left.
I turned to the ultrasound tech - "What?" She agreed, and said there really wasn't anything more to be done, this was something I'd need to live with, gave me some tiny ice packs for the next flare-up, "because there will be one," and told me to ice it and take ibuprofen. "But keep an eye on it, because we'll want to monitor this."
I did not ask any more questions - breathing a sigh of relief, but also knowing I had to process the "keep an eye on it, monitor this," phrase.
So today my breast is tender, the mass is there, and I'm remembering that every day, every day, every single day is a gift.