In the beginning there was only my lump.
I don’t like lumpy waves, lumps in my mashed potatoes, lumps in my bathing suit or really any kind of lump at all. Especially one that’s “consistent with a tumour.” When my family doctor gave me that news by telephone, his strained words threw me for a loop! It didn’t turn out to be Fergie’s “lovely lady lump,” — whatever that is. It was breast cancer and I had a feeling in my gut. The one that I get when someone asks if I want to ride a roller coaster. I loathe roller coasters.
However, I always liked my body. I’m not a great athlete or particularly graceful, but at that time it had carried me reliably through 46 years of life. It produced two children, gave me great pleasure and trundled me around in a gym.
I’d always been healthy. Now a wretched lump in my breast threatened everything.
The first thoughts that whizzed through my brain were that my breast was the trouble spot. It was a nice breast, serviceable but not too fancy. My babies had enjoyed it. My husband sure didn’t complain. I was ignorant and had no idea that the ultimate danger in breast cancer went beyond a bra and that it was systemic and very, very dangerous.
And it was the threat of the spread of the disease. As for the wretched lump, my hands didn’t find it. At a yearly physical my doctor’s hands didn’t find it. The determined, intimate squeeze of the mammogram discovered it.
Follow-up confirmed it. My surgeon cut it out and radiation set out to mop up whatever cells were lurking behind.