Friday, September 2, 2011

Knowing is Better

So far, the time between getting a biopsy and getting the results was the absolute worst. Of course, it didn't help that the lovely Korean doctor doing my biopsy told me there was a "high probability of malignancy". Imagine being left with that for almost a week?!? Maybe she was trying to prepare me for the results but all it did was freak me out.

The crazy thing is that when we got the results I got the exact answer I was fearing most during that week and after about 2 hours of living with this new reality I felt better. My heart was no longer pounding, I wasn't sobbing all over Paul and I wasn't pacing around the house. I don't really understand it. Maybe it is as simple as now I really know what I am up against - there is no more hope that maybe it is just a weird lump. I have to accept that I really have cancer and in accepting it I can begin to deal with it.

The reason I mention this is that I think people sometimes avoid going to the doctor because they don't want to know if something bad is going on. I can understand that and I know first hand the stress you feel while waiting to find out the awful truth. But I can also say, with complete and total sincerity, that while having cancer is the absolute pits knowing about it is about a million times better than worrying about it. Especially because now I'm doing something about it - not sitting at home worrying about what I might have to do. I'm formulating a plan that involves snooping on Ethel, finding out what she has been up to and getting in some reinforcements to get her the hell out of dodge.

"What are you trying to say, Laura?" you might be asking. Well, friends, let me tell you. I'm telling you this so you don't put off going to get something checked out that you should. And in your case, it probably won't be cancer so just go already!

The other thing I wanted to mention briefly, while I'm standing here on my pulpit is this: DO BREAST SELF EXAMS. I got so unbelievably lucky because guess what, I don't do them. I don't do them because I always figured I was way too young for breast cancer. I meant to start, down the road.

I just happen to have a cyst in my other breast that doctors have been keeping an eye on for years. That cyst is just a run-of-the-mill, benign thing; not even worthy of a name. In Canada they never even bothered to check out ol' Righty because my long time cyst-friend is only in ol' Lefty. God Bless Korean health care - I almost stopped the ultrasound tech when she started since I was so used to ultrasound people ignoring my right side. That is the great story of how my cancer was found - by accident! Maybe I wouldn't have noticed the lump right away even if I was doing BSE, it's still pretty small. But I can assure you that many women find their cancer this way. And I am living proof that (though statistically unlikely) young women get this disease.

So do me a favour - go feel yourself up right now. And once you have done that, keep doing it every month for the rest of your life. Do it as a personal favour to me. C'mon, I have cancer, you can't deny me this one!


  1. Thanks Laura for your insight, this blog, your laughter, and your demanding instructions haha! I look forward to reading each new post and I think it is very cool that you are doing all this. :)

    I will now go feel myself up, as per your request! Lol

    Xoxo Nat.

  2. You totally played the "I have cancer so do as I say" card. I respect that.

  3. Besides Breast Self-Exams being useful, it's also fun to play with boobs. Hey, if you're not into it, ask your partner too! I've heard about women saying that their partners found their lump before they did...

    Not only does being felt up feel great, it's now considered useful too!

  4. Brin said...

    Hi Laura, Cat gave me this link so I hope you don't mind me creepin on it from time to time -I guess she got tired of me asking how you are every second day!
    I am finding your account of your experience extremely witty, informative and very well written. Your message is so important and I'd like to admit that I was one of those scaredy cats who felt something suspicious and ignored it... for a long time. Long enough to almost disappear up my own ass with worry and anxiety. I just didn't want to face what I feared so desperately. I finally gathered the balls to do it and yes, it was good news. But if it weren't I would have been facing a much worse situation than if I'd just faced it instantly. I regret it and agree whole heartedly with your demand.
    I think about you often and hope the next 5 years treat you kinder than you might be anticipating.