“This year has been one for the books. You see, December 26 of last year, I got the phone call that would change my life.
I found out I had breast cancer.
I had a giant, pain-in-the-rear tumor that had been slowly growing for years. YEARS.
I am smart and with it. I’m one of those moms who is always trying her darndest to make the very best decisions for her family. And yet, I missed a giant tumor.
I had for sure felt it before. But friends, motherhood (especially mothering young children) is so stinking busy. And, I was pregnant and nursing on and off for 8 years. My body was always changing, and I was keeping the small people alive. It was just so easy to chalk it up to ‘body changes’ and move on with my day.
One of my good friends had already been diagnosed with breast cancer at 28. I figured that was the ONE young person I would know who would get breast cancer. I mean, there’s a reason that mammograms start at 40, right!?
It was not even on my radar that my lumpy boob could be a cancer boob.
How naive I was. By the time I got my mass checked out, it was 4.6 cm and had spread to a lymph node. Ugh.
Since diagnosed, I have had 6 rounds of chemotherapy, 25 days of radiation, and a double mastectomy. Because the tumor was strongly estrogen and progesterone responsive, which is the case with most young breast cancer patients, I will be on hormone blockers for the next 10 years.
I’m not sharing this to freak you out or to worry you, but to encourage you to pay attention to your body.
The majority of you will not get breast cancer, and of those who do will probably not be young moms when you’re diagnosed.
But don’t be the young mom who does get breast cancer, but ignores it for too long.
Don’t be me.
Motherhood may be one of the most important jobs you’ll ever have. Whether you feel like it or not, you are rocking this mom thing. I know you are. Even as your kids smash goldfish into the minivan carpet or escape the house totally naked, you are doing an excellent job. Those tiny little monsters angels need their mama.
Breast cancer research has come a LONG way on the past 20 years, but almost everything that can be done still hinges on early detection, before the cancer has a chance to spread to other parts of the body.
So get to know your boobs REALLY well. Spend some time learning what they feel like.
Check up on them often. Have a low threshold for talking to your doctor about them.
Blocked milk duct that is lingering? Talk to your doctor.
Lumpy boob that is probably pregnancy-related? Make that appointment.
Totally explainable firmness that doesn’t go away? Let the professional take a look.
Tiny little bump that is probably a big fat nothing? Get it checked out.
I promise you, your doctor is ZERO percent annoyed when you ask them to take a look at a funky boob thing. Even if you ask them to check out multiple funky boob things. Even if they are all nothing.
I promise you, your mom friend/babysitter/family member is happy to watch your little people while you go get the things checked out. I know we moms love to put our babies first. When we do take time for ‘self-care,’ we are thinking more ‘spa day’ than ‘lump check.’ But it’s not a waste of time. As someone who thought all of these things, let me assure you, it’s much better to check it out than not. You are 1000% worth the time and hassle.
If you are reading this and you are a breast cancer fighter or survivor, I just want to say – you are incredible. I am humbled to walk beside you. You are strong and beautiful. You touch more lives than you could ever possibly imagine. And, your scars are so beautiful. I love you fiercely, even if I don’t know you, and pray for you often. I hope that you feel, as I have this year, that God is GOOD, that you are loved enormously, and that life’s simple pleasures are the very best.
This October, do more than wear pink. Become your biggest health advocate. Make time to get things checked out. Remind the fighters in your life how incredible they are. They are that amazing. And you are that important.”
For more information on breast cancer and the importance of early detection, visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
This story was written by Christine Childers as a guest post for Momstrosity. It originally appeared on their website and was republished with permission. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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