I’ve had a beauty mark on my left breast for as long as I can remember. In fact, I can’t remember a time before it existed. It’s part of who I am in some way, but over the past year I’ve grown paranoid. You see, it’s not symmetrical, and I often wondered if it may be more than just a beauty mark. The weeks leading up to my 36th birthday, I became even more paranoid. There was no reason behind my paranoia growing, but I decided it was finally time to make a doctor’s appointment to get it checked out. I’ve seen so many people diagnosed with cancer in my 36 years, and I’ve noticed the older I get the more people seem to be getting diagnosed. This alone was enough encouragement for me to put on my “big girl pants” and get my butt to the doctor!
Since I’m pretty new to Austin, I didn’t have a doctor to see, so I began scouring the internet for the best, female doctor that wasn’t ridiculously far from home. I don’t know if it was luck, chance, or fate, but I found a female doctor, with 4.9 stars, two blocks from our house. SCORE! I booked an appointment for the following week.
The day of my appointment, I was a nervous wreck! My husband reassured me that I would be OK, made me breakfast, and offered to accompany me to my appointment. I think he was scared too… Something about making the appointment made it more real. Before leaving for my appointment, I rubbed lavender oil all over my hands and took three deep breaths. Not only was I going to make sure I didn’t possibly have skin cancer, but I was going to a new doctor – that is always anxiety producing. I grabbed my purse and began walking to the doctor’s office. While waiting in the lobby, my nerves were soothed by sweet 80s music playing through the speakers. I was the only one in the lobby, but I still tried my best to keep it together – even having to go to the restroom once to collect myself. Not long after arriving, the doctor called me into her office to check-in and answer a few questions, prior to going to an exam room.
I broke down for the fourth time before my exam… What was wrong with me!? I couldn’t keep it together. I was so scared of a diagnosis, because cancer seems to be so common these days. It’s absolutely terrifying how many people actually get cancer, and with so many contributors – It’s so hard to know if you are avoiding everything possible to decrease your chances of being diagnosed. Was I ready for another diagnosis? I am just now getting to a good place with epilepsy. So many thoughts were racing through my head.
The doctor asked me to follow her to an exam room, where she began asking me in more detail about my family’s health history, why I was there, etc. Then, she examined my beauty mark – measuring with a ruler, looking at it under a magnifying glass, and asking me questions during the process. Then, she looked at me and said,”I think it’s fine. There’s no reason to be concerned, but we can do a biopsy if it would make you more comfortable.” (YESSSSSSSSSSS! I was seriously doing a happy dance on the inside.) I couldn’t believe the roller coaster of emotions I was feeling over something that wasn’t even a real diagnosis. (It’s a testament to how easily our minds can manipulate our emotions and actions.) Regardless if the diagnosis was real, the scare was real. I was relieved that it was just that… a scare.
While at the doctor’s office, I decided to get some blood drawn, to check on things and make sure all was balanced. (I have a confession… I hadn’t been to the doctor for a check up in a very long time.) In the past, I’ve fainted many times when having blood drawn, but I wasn’t taking care of myself then – still I thought it may be a risk. I mentioned my concern to the doctor, so she took me in another room with a comfy, recliner-type chair, where I could relax while having blood taken. You know how some nurses, doctors, etc. are so terrible at finding a vein? They poke in your arm & dig around until they finally find your vein – while you clench your teeth in agony. Luckily, I didn’t have to experience that this time! This doctor did a great job. (Thank you, Universe!)
After finishing up, she wrapped my arm in a bright pink bandage and told me the results would be ready in a few days. Once available, I’d need to come in to review the results. I told her,”No problem.” and walked home.
I felt like a ton of bricks had been lifted off my shoulders. That morning I felt so low, and now I felt as if I was on cloud 9. (Life… am I right?)
Spending the rest of the day with my family, we spent time in our backyard – playing fetch, taking photos, and talking about our plans for the future. Sometime in the middle of quality time, it hit me how life is so fragile. In the blink of an eye, everything you know can be flipped upside down or taken away – life as you know it can change. That morning, I thought I was going to be told my beauty mark looked cancerous and a biopsy would be necessary. By the afternoon, I felt extremely grateful that it was just a scare and not something worse.
I’m constantly reminded how important it is to be grateful for all aspects of life… the ups & downs. Every situation is a lesson, but we have to be open to learning.
Read the next part of this story: Another Diagnosis