Written on August 28th, 2015…
So I guess I should start writing..It’s 2am and the mind is fully awake. I just know that is what I’m supposed to do. Over the past month, I have experienced quite a shift of awareness. And I have cancer to thank for this.
Last November, I found a lump in my left breast. It didn’t surprise me or shock me, I had started to get lumps in my late 20’s. When I felt very the first lump, there was pure PANIC, “Holy shit! I have a lump. It means I have cancer! My life is over! I’m dying!” This is when I began to use The Work of Byron Katie to question my stressful thoughts about lumps. Guess what I discovered? A lump is just a sweet, innocent, speck of nothing. It’s the label I put on the lump that took me down a hysterical emotional rollercoaster. The silly mind had just made a mountain out of a boobie lump. Other than what I was thinking and believing, I was perfectly ok. Doing The Work allowed me to stay present and peacefully move to the next steps.
I would always get each lump checked out by professionals and they all ended up being either a cyst or swollen lymph node. I was told ~ yes, I have lumpy boobs and this is normal. I learned how to monitor them and they seemed to go away over time so I learned how not to freak out when a new one was felt.
Well, this November lump didn’t go away. It got larger and larger and then about 6 months later, I noticed another lump in my left armpit. So I went the non-traditional healing route ~ Breast Thermography (note: this is not the center I visited). Breast Thermography is a way of taking digital photos that measure the heat in the breast tissue. Because anything cancerous is inflammation ~ it will show up as heat on the images. The naturopath can then determine if a lump is likely to be cancerous or not. There is zero radiation, which really appealed to me. I had done Breast Thermography on the very first lump I detected back when I was 30, and the results were congruent with traditional medical doctors as well ~ just a swollen lymph node. So, I trusted this process.
The naturopath did not detect any heat in the new, larger lump, nor in the armpit. My estrogen did look a little elevated. He said they were likely swollen lymph nodes or a cyst and recommended lymphatic drainage therapy ~ a homeopathic remedy taken 3 times per day, and 3 sessions of lymphatic drainage to stimulate and drain my lymphatic system. He then said to come back in 6 months for a follow-up.
But after 2 months, there was no change in the size of my lumps. I asked him if I should get an ultrasound to make sure it’s not anything, and he agreed it might be a good idea. I honestly couldn’t tell if he just didn’t know what to do with me anymore since his therapies weren’t working or if he really was concerned. He didn’t know a place to do an ultrasounds which I thought was kind of bullshit.
I’m self-employed and without health insurance. I started calling around to see if I could get an ultrasound somewhere and what the out-of-pocket cost would be. I felt frustrated, inconvenienced, & annoyed that there wasn’t a clear answer. I was pissed at myself for not having insurance either ~ this is the exact situation of why people get insurance ~ to find peace of mind in unexpected events.
Then I found an angel in a woman who has been in my life for 8 years, my mother-in-law, Elaine. I had known she worked in a doctor’s office, but had no idea what kind and she jumped at the opportunity to support me. She literally swept right in and held my hand throughout the entire process. Before I knew it, she was setting up an appointment with one of her nurse’s for a manual exam free of charge; the doctor could then refer me to a clinic for the ultrasound.
During my manual exam, I learned that perhaps my lump was a little bigger than a regular lump looked at by doctors. When the nurse saw me turn to my side and the bulge popped out of the side of my breast, she immediately got the head doctor to come take a look. She agreed that I needed to get it checked out asap. The good news is that the lump in my breast was not fixed, it could just be a fibroadenoma. It worried her a bit that there was another lump in the armpit though. Angel Elaine made my appointment for a mammogram & ultrasound ~ apparently the clinic refused to do just an ultrasound by itself because I am over the age of 30. I had mixed feelings about mammograms and wasn’t crazy about the exposure of radiation. However, I heard that the combination of these two tools are my best option for giving an accurate diagnosis of what’s going on in my body.
After the doctor’s visit, the lumps started to make me anxious again (or rather, my thinking about them did!). I continued to question my stressful thoughts about them and decided to give them a cute new name: Lulu 1 (breast lump) and Lulu 2 (armpit lump). This just made me giggle 🙂 Now I could take my Lulus to get an ultrasound and mammogram. My new little buddies.
Up until this point, I didn’t experience much stress. I figured, I’ll save my freak-out until there is actually something real to freak out about…the doctors are just making sure it’s nothing to worry about. The biggest stress that showed up for me at that point, had nothing to do about health, a diagnosis, terminal cancer. It had everything to do with MONEY.
Next: questioning stressful thoughts about medical expenses.