I will not beat around the bush. I will not sugar coat this in any way at all. My husband has a lump in his left breast. He found it while drying off from his morning shower on Wednesday morning and never said a damn word to me all day.
When he walked in the door at almost 7PM that night he had this look on his face I have seen before. He barely said a word-and I thought “Oh shit he has lost his job.” I asked him that immediately and he just held his finger up as in “one moment please” unbuttoned his shirt and put my fingers on a lump. A big lump, not a little lump, but a big one.
I am sure I stopped breathing. I took him into the bathroom where I could see his chest better. I did notice some bruising close to this lump and we had worked hard the previous weekend so of course it could be a hematoma, but still, as a 16 year survivor who is heavily vested in breast cancer, I thought “Oh shit, now what?”
Being that it was after office hours there was nothing I could do, but I was on the phone first thing in the morning. I called our primary physician and got an appointment on Friday morning. Our doctor is a friend, in fact I grew up with his family in a suburb of Cleveland, small world.
Brian examined Larry, and said “You need a mammogram. In fact you need a spot specific mammogram and probably and Ultrasound.”
We live in a small rural area, and while we do have local imaging facilities, as far as Larry’s health is concerned I wanted the big guns. I called H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Institute and attempted to make an appointment. The chickadee on the other end said “I am not sure if I can make him one here at the breast center or if he has to go to Lifetime Cancer Screening to have this done.” She was supposed to call me back. 4 hours passed and I called Lifetime Cancer Screening read them the order for the tests and lo and behold she said “He needs to be seen at Moffitt (I knew that) and made him an appointment immediately.
I go to Moffitt annually. One of the newest and best breast cancer research doctors and breast surgeons is my very own doctor. Where else would I be taking Larry???
He has no problem telling people he needs a diagnostic mammogram. He has told his company, he has told friends, he says the words like they are nothing. I asked him if he is scared because he is not showing it, and he is, Larry never shows it. I am terrified. I know too much. I have been through too much. I am not sleeping. I sneak off into a corner of the house and cry at times. I am scared. I remember all too well how I felt when I got the news that I had microcalcifications in my breast and needed a biopsy.
My personal trainer’s husband had a mastectomy, his lesion was benign. A friend we caught up with yesterday at the Arts in the Garden at EPCOT told us her brother had a double mastectomy and his tumors were benign.
I pray Larry’s turns out the same. But you never know and that is why I have decided to write about this in our lives. Not only is writing very therapeutic for me, but I try to write to be informative to the public.
My family arrives later this week and I am so glad they will be here because I need them right now. My son and Larry are very close. And by the time they get here it may be all over and good news.
Then I will break out a very good bottle of the bubbly-we only drink very good bottles of the bubbly here -and we will celebrate life.
I cannot stress this enough now-any woman over 40 knows that they should have a baseline mammogram. I never stop preaching about that. Men, a lump in your breast is nothing to take a “wait and see” attitude about. Men do get breast cancer and a man dies daily of the disease. I know that we women top the stats in this disease but men need to be on alert also.
I will continue to write about our adventures in mammogram land as we know more.