Tag Archives: breast lump

Am I Old or Not?

Before I get to explaining the title of this post I will provide you with an update. I am five days post-chemo and for the most part holding up well. I have had fatigue and in the last few days some nausea has set in. I have lost some taste, which is for sure a bummer when it comes time to eat. Things I love no longer taste good such as my beloved Dr. Pepper or Whataburger. I don’t need those things anyway, so maybe it is a blessing. I pray this is how each infusion will go, but I am fully prepared for the symptoms to increase as I continue to receive treatments. This is my off week of chemo. I will go on Tuesday to have blood work done to make sure everything looks good and then next Tuesday will receive cycle two of four of the AC chemo.

Now to the title of the post. This will require some back story, but it is something that has brought a laugh to me over the last few weeks.

Eli, who will be two in December, was a complete and total unexpected blessing to our family. When I became pregnant I was a young 34 years old. At my first appointment with the OB she informed me that since I would turn 35 while pregnant that I became a bit higher risk. In the state of Texas, a “geriatric pregnancy” is defined as anyone pregnant over the age of 35. I remember thinking, man, I thought I was in prime child bearing years at 35. Who knew that made me high risk. Throughout my pregnancy my age was talked about on numerous occasions. They continued to use the term geriatric, which absolutely cracked me up. The pregnancy was fairly routine. I did end up having gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. All this combined with my “old” age meant I would be induced and have our beautiful baby boy at 37 weeks. No complaints from me as that meant three less weeks pregnant and it put him coming in just under the wire to be able to claim him on our 2018 taxes.

Fast forward to today. I was diagnosed with invasive ducal carcinoma breast cancer roughly a week after I turned 37. From the very first visit with the surgeon to the visits with all the other physicians who would treat me, my age was again a factor. This time for the opposite reason. You are so young. It is not common for someone under 40 with no real family history to get breast cancer. Actually, the median age of a woman diagnosed with breast cancer in America is around 62 with most diagnosis being those age 55-64. So I am a good 20 years too young for breast cancer. This just proves that cancer does not discriminate or follow any rules. We know that my genetics are not the cause of my cancer, but we may never know what did cause it.

You often hear that God works in mysterious ways and His plan is perfect. I truly believe this. At the time we laughed at the thought of “starting over” with a new baby. We had a junior in high school, a third grader, and a newborn. Who does that? Now, two years later, I know exactly why Eli came along. I feel God put him in our lives for three specific reasons.

First, simply, our family was not complete. God knew we needed the little firecracker to keep things exciting! Both of his brothers adore him so much and the feeling is mutual. His best friends are his big brothers. his dad and I are pretty fond of the little dude as well. He brings so much joy to our home.

Second, I do not believe I would have found the cancer had he not been born. I breastfed Eli for roughly 9 months. I would like to say i am fairly in tune with my body. When I stopped breastfeeding I noticed that things on my right breast felt different. I don’t know how to describe it, it was just not normal. I brushed it aside thinking it was my body trying to dry my milk up and that the harder spot was a clogged milk duct or something. When that lump began to become larger and more uncomfortable I questioned if it was related to breastfeeding or something else. I still put off talking to my doctor for longer than I should. Hindsight is always 20/20. I have learned that tumors like mine take years to be able to be felt by hand. This mass could have been there while pregnant and while breastfeeding. I have no idea if feeding Eli caused it to grow faster or if it just made me more aware of what was going on in my body, but thanks to breastfeeding this beautiful baby boy, I found the lump. It was still nearly a year later before I brought it to the attention of my physician, because, again, I was making excuses for what it was. I mean, I was too young to have breast cancer, right? When a few other things had been ruled out, I knew it was time to speak up. So glad I did!

And third, God put Eli in our lives to get us through this fight. Not that my other two boys aren’t worth fighting for, they absolutely are, but having another kid, especially one so young, makes you want to fight harder. I want to see all my kids graduate high school, start college, get married, and have their own kids. To do that I need a good 20 more years in my own life. God gave us Eli, so full of energy, to help fight the fatigue that chemo would bring. It is hard to sit idle when you have a 22-month old terrorizing the house. It is hard to be sad and down on yourself when you have an innocent little guy giving you “cheesy grins”.

Look at the cheesy grin!

While one speciality might think I’m too old for babies and another that I’m too young for cancer, I know that God has a perfect plan for my life and I trust Him. The path may not always be clear and straight. There will be detours and obstacles, but we must trust in our Lord to get us to the end of the race.

What is the Meaning of This?

Trying to figure out all that has been going on with Carrie’s health has been overwhelming, to say the least. I am just a simple person that works in the information technology field that loves amateur radio, firearms, and serving in the Children’s Ministry at church. When Carrie showed concern about something she found in her right breast two months ago, I naturally did not know what to think. After a round of testing, the Dr. called Carrie on a Monday and Carrie did a three-way phone call as I was at work. The Dr. begins talking about malignancy and what we needed to start doing. I had no idea what that was. Turns out malignant is nothing but a synonym for cancer. What a great eye for the obvious, right?

I am very much a morning person. I would rather get up early in the morning and start the day. Carrie is just the opposite. She is happy with a 3 am bedtime and sleeping until 10 am if allowed too. Most of her emotions come out at about 2 am, but I am willing to listen. In one of the breakdowns early in the morning, she said what is the purpose? What’s the meaning of this? Everything happens for a reason, but what is the reason? First, I don’t know, but also I don’t buy into that. Something could happen just because or because of bad decisions. I believe that God will use things for his glory and our good, but I don’t believe that he is issuing hardships just for the sake of some specific reason. We are a fallen creation, and cancer is not out of the question. How did this come about though? Is this just some big judgment issued by the “universe”? No. I don’t believe that at all.

Is God grieved by illness? I don’t think so. He is in control of all things, even cancer. I thought about it for a while and then came across John Piper’s sermon None of Our Misery Is Meaningless. It explained it clear enough for me. It is not meaningless. “This light momentary affliction is working for you an eternal weight of glory, therefore don’t lose heart.”

I’m trying to go day-by-day. We are looking at up to 10 years before this is finished. We will go day-by-day until the cancer is removed and Carrie’s body is healed. This is part of that for better or for worse, right? We’re in it to win it and it might take six months initially, but we’re ready to fight this.


This Feels Different

One of the first questions Dr. P asked me was, “When did you first notice this lump”? I couldn’t tell her. I honestly had no idea.

I believe it was about three months ago. While in the shower I felt something that wasn’t normal. I began trying to self-diagnose. “It’s probably from stopping breastfeeding”. I had Eli in December 2018 and breastfed until roughly October of 2019. The feeling I had was as if a milk duct was clogged and I assumed it would improve on its own.

Another excuse I made was that it was hormones. I was having other symptoms of hormone imbalance and had convinced myself it was all related. I watch medical dramas on TV and love all things medical, so I know it’s nothing bad. Anyone who knows me well just laughed out loud. I know you did. I laughed while writing that sentence!

About three months ago I went to Dr P. for my annual gynecology exam. We discussed some of the symptoms I was having and those symptoms led her to believe I was suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). I began taking medication for that and a sonogram of my ovaries was ordered. I didn’t mention anything about the lump because I knew it was nothing.

COVID-19 hit right around the time of my scheduled sonogram so we opted to postpone the appointment. Finally, in July I scheduled the sonogram. It was negative for PCOS. Dr. P said I had every symptom but the actual cysts. We would watch it and take further action if needed. Text of my hormone levels all came back within normal ranges. Some on the lower side, but nothing of concern. It was something we would continue to monitor yearly at exams.

It was at this point, while sitting in her office, I thought I should mention the lump. Dr. P and I love to chat. She had been in there a while and was getting ready to walk out. She asked if there was anything else. I said, well actually, I have this lump on my right breast. She felt and said, “I definitely feel something”.

I felt she had the same level of concern I did. She said this is probably just a benign cyst. To be safe I want you to have a mammogram and sonogram of the breast. The imaging place is just down the hall. I gathered my things along with my referral and headed to their office to make an appointment.

“Our first available appointment is in two weeks, August 5th”. Thanks again COVID! The appointment was scheduled and I went along with life as normal. No concern about the upcoming tests.