When you get the call that you hope you will never receive in this lifetime, “you have cancer.” What follows that is a lot of static in your head. “Did I really hear what I thought I heard?”
This was not the way the conversation was scripted.
Maybe I should start even further at the beginning?
My breast itched, has itched a lot, right on the nipple. But, I have really sensitive skin. It is probably eczema. So, I waited until my next round of doctor checkups and mentioned it then.
I had my mammogram following the appointment and it was normal, had my standard yearly blood tests, nothing unusual. Went in for my appointment. What a silly thing to mention, “My nipple itches, is there anything we can do about it?”
Maybe it is just me, but it seems like a trivial embarrassing thing. What a little princess, her nipple itches so we better get some medicine to stop it.
My doctor listened to me and actually got me an appointment with dermatology that same day. Pretty impressive and thank you Mayo clinic.
So, up I went to dermatology where the very nice Dr. Ulanawa talked to me about eczema and a plan of attack. We mentioned Paget’s disease but neither one of us thought that was likely as it is a very rare form of breast cancer and my nipple only showed a slight roughness very similar to an allergy.
A month later I was back for a follow up. It is interesting how our minds play games of denial. I almost cancelled it, it looked better to me. I even mentioned that when I went into the doctor who agreed with me and said, ‘let’s do the biopsy anyway. But we will plan on doing skin patch testing next.” I expected a negative, just being overly precautious.
But, that is not the way the story decided to go. I got the phone call and I knew something was up when it was the actual doctor calling. But, even then I thought it was for my other biopsy. But, she said the words, “you have Paget’s disease.” It is better for worse that she didn’t use the “C” word? The big scary cancer diagnosis?
Only 1-3% of all breast cancer is Paget’s Disease, I guess this is my way of not being normal.
When people say they hear white noise or static at times like this, I now understand what they mean. It takes time to focus back in, to be able to hear again.
Now the wait to hear from the surgeon and set up the next steps. I should be focused on my important presentation. I should be focused on my meetings.
You go from fear and tears to feeling like nothing is wrong. You search on the web trying to understand and fluctuate between this will be an easy fight to scared to death for your life.
The calls to the loved ones are hard. They handle it with strength, but you still have a hard time saying the “C” word.