I think for most people, you only start to think about life – for real – when you are faced with the reality of your existence, and the fact that the life you have lived is all that will summarize your existence. You think and breathe, but your mind is in a constant state of disbelief because you can’t actually comprehend that this could and would happen to you.
You don’t think it would ever happen to you because you are you. Your life is good. Not a care in the world. This is the stuff that happens to other people – to people you know; to strangers that you read about in the news. But never you. Boy did I get a wake-up call!
When the doctor told me that she felt lumps in my breast I thought one thing. Cancer.
You don’t just find lumps and ignore that prognosis. I didn’t understand what exactly was going on because I am someone who makes sure to go for any annual check-ups. I am talking about: pap smear, blood-work, breast exam …etc., and this is just to rule out anything and everything. When it comes to my health or the health of my family and friends, I don’t play. I am always the one to sound off on that topic because the struggle is real. I don’t need to speak from experience, but I understand the personal and life struggle especially when someone is given a fatal diagnosis. There are too many things in this world to ignore especially when it comes to one’s health, so I personally do not chance it, and neither do the people closest to me. So, when I heard what my doctor was saying, in my mind, I was thinking, “But we just had a check-up last year. What do you mean you feel a lump? What kind of lump?”
It didn’t sink in, and it still hasn’t. But the reality of just how serious this was hit when I told my mom. To say she was shocked and worried is an understatement. As any mother would for the love of their child, she went into full on mommy-worry-mode (which is above your head and close to touching the clouds). The severity of what I had told her hadn’t fully hit me until she started asking me why I hadn’t told her sooner. I had known for all of less than five hours and she wanted to know why I’d not told her as soon as it happened. *stupid look on my face…ummm*
Why didn’t I tell her? She has been through hell and back over the course of the last year and a bit, and we all have, but I wanted to find out what was going first before I talked. I didn’t tell her I think for the most part because I didn’t want her to worry. She is my mommy and I wanted to spare her any sort of unnecessary worry especially if it turned out to be nothing. But now she worries every day about me. And she didn’t have to before as much.
I’ve gone for ultrasounds and tests but I guess the full magnitude of this didn’t hit me until I was talking to my friend who almost died in a shock flood. He managed to get out of his car as the water was rising and run to safety just to watch his brand new Audi get washed away. Life gets real when death almost knocks at your door because since then, he has taken a whole new perspective on life because he realized that you can be gone in a split-second while you had made all these plans for the next five to ten years. Life got real for me right then. I was in tears in seconds and at first he thought it was something he had said (which in part it was) but it made me realize just how real my situation is. And I was able to understand how my mommy felt when I told her. Scared s***less.
Now, I think about tomorrow. Not really trying to plan for next week or next year just yet because anything can happen. I am trying not to take anything and anyone for granted and it’s not that it just took a few lumps in my breasts to make me realize this, but almost losing a friend while going through this experience, made me realize that life is to be lived to the fullest. Enjoying life’s great gifts, and don’t spend too much time worrying about tomorrow. Living for now is what made me realize that as much as you plan for the future, anything can happen between now and the future, so you have to make the most of what you have.
Since the discovery of the lumps, I have had surgery to remove them and gone for follow-up tests. And while I had a subsequent scare later this year, after finding more lumps and going for tests and another breast exams, I still was able to come out on the other side. While my tests came back negative for cancerous cells – twice; not everyone has the same kind of outcome. I was “lucky” I guess. But you can never put much trust on “luck”. God, The Father saved me. For a purpose. And now I am following my dreams and searching for a greater meaning to this thing called LIFE.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While this month is dedicated to raising awareness for breast cancer, everyone should be aware of breast cancer every day of every month. As someone who personally went through such a traumatic experience, I urge every woman to check their breasts for any irregular lumps and bumps. And when it doubt, making an appointment to see your doctor for a check-up is the next order of business.
It took a fatal prognosis for me to realize what exactly mattered in life, and what I wanted for myself, friends and family. I want to enjoy life to the fullest, and experience love and great laughter. I want to be happy doing the things I love.
Yᵒᵘ Oᶰˡʸ Lᶤᵛᵉ Oᶰᶜᵉ
I still have ongoing tests but these are just check-ups every six months or so. I just go in to get checked and get a breast exam done for free. And for anyone in Canada, use your resources and go get checked out. You have nothing to lose until you one day get a fatal diagnosis because you were too lazy to go get checked out… And by then it could be too late. Until I know for certain that I am out of the danger zone, I will continually to go get checked out and make sure that I check my self too. Taking that into regard, you have to live life and enjoy it for what it brings – good and bad.... N. xo