Many people have asked how I found "The Lump". I'll start there.
Early October I was out for one of my last outdoor runs before the brutal cold takes over. It was one of those days when you just take everything in, appreciate the world's beauty, and yes...even turn off the iPod. These are the days that I feel especially in tune with my body. And this is the day that I first noticed my lump. It started as tenderness. Then when I got home, in the shower, I did a self-exam. I felt something very small- I wasn't sure if it was anything at all. I ended up making a doctor's appointment. I continued to feel tenderness that week and I knew that the culprit was either my left breast or my heart- which in my case, seemed way more practical. I am by nature an anxiety ridden, over-worked, worrywart.
The outcome of my doctor's appointment became a funny story to tell everyone when we shared our exciting news. "So, little ol' worried Athena goes in thinking she has breast cancer or an onset of a heart attack and finds out she is newly pregnant!". After examining my breast and giving me an EKG my doctor noted The Lump as natural changes in my breast due to pregnancy. I then proceeded to go to my prenatal appointments. My first appointment I told them my funny story about The Lump.
A couple weeks later I noticed my little lump had grown and was hard, the size of a marble. I told the nurse about it and she again said it was part of pregnancy. This happened twice as I watched The Lump grow. It wasn't until mid-December when I laid in bed that I came to the conclusion that I knew my body best and that I needed to get this checked out. It had grown to the size of a quarter in such a short time. The next day I had an appointment to exam my breast. I spent all of Christmas worrying about my results and when the call came in the Friday after I could barely answer it. Then I heard her say those words...."I'm so sorry". That's really all I remember.
I'm telling people this because through other stories like mine I've learned that it is very common for breast cancer to be noticed at a later stage in pregnant women due to misdiagnosis and thinking it is a natural part of the pregnancy. Please remember, don't put all of your trust in your doctors...you know your body best. Pregnancy Associated Breast Cancer is becoming more common due to women waiting to start a family later in life. You are not being a "worrywart" if you bring up something that concerns you when you are pregnant, you are being careful. My Oncologist told me that "I found it in time". Not early, but in time....due to my persistence. I'll take that.
Pictures from my fall run