Hey there. I’m not really sure how to write a blog post, but here we go. I’m writing this blog because I am a young adult with cancer, and it is young adult cancer awareness week.
I was already pretty aware of cancer before I was diagnosed in July of last year. I was aware because I have been working with the LAF for the past 9 years, and because I lost my Dad to cancer when I was 20 years old. I was aware enough to immediately go to a doctor when I felt a lump in my breast last June. I was aware enough to ask for a mammogram because that lump just didn’t seem right.
The problem wasn’t with my awareness, the problem was that my doctor wasn’t aware enough of young adult cancer. I was told that I was too young for a mammogram (I was 33). I was told not to worry about it, that the lump was hormonal. I was told to “keep an eye on it” and come back in a month. At the time that was music to my ears. I remember feeling relieved, and a little silly for being so concerned about the hormonal lump in my breast.
I kept my eye (and fingers, and mind) on the lump for the entire month of June. It was still there every day getting bigger. It was still there when I shut my computer down after a long day at work. It was still there after yoga class. It was still there after my hilly run. It was still there when I joined friends for good food, good wine and good conversation. It was still there when I lay in bed at night worrying.
As instructed by a certified medical professional, I waited for a month. At the end of that month it was still there. I was aware enough to seek a second opinion, and I went to a different doctor. When the second doctor felt the lump in my right breast, she looked at me with big, brown, worried eyes that I will never forget. She told me that she was very concerned, and instructed me to get a mammogram and ultrasound ASAP. Fortunately, the second doctor was aware of young adult cancer.
Three whirlwind weeks later, I found myself lying in a hospital room, surrounded by family, friends, flowers, cards, compassion and love. And finally the lump was gone.
Be intuitive and listen to your body.
Be brave enough to seek a second opinion.
Be present in your daily life.
Be aware, and