Be Real: It’s Not Breast Cancer…
(Strap yourselves in; this is a long one.)
For the past couple of years, I have been having regular mammograms (even though I’m not 40 yet) due to a cluster of abnormal – and painful – cells in my left breast. My doctors have been very proactive in monitoring this odd little cluster of cells, which were all within my milk ducts.
This summer, the cluster grew and I had an ultrasound with a fantastic tech, Bebe, at Beebe. The radiologist, Dr. Dahlke, took me into his office to show me how the cluster had changed and seemed to be more formed, causing his raised concern.
It was determined that I should have a biopsy, so I headed over to Beebe’s medical center about a week later to have the ultrasound-guided breast biopsy with Dr. Mike. This procedure was incredibly interesting to me. I’ve been writing about health for many years – first as a journalist and now as a member of Beebe’s marketing team. However, seeing how they can pinpoint a small cluster of cells and extract it is quite amazing … well, it is as long as you try not to remember that all of this is going on inside you!
The biopsy came back abnormal, so I met with Dr. James Spellman. He walked me through everything, including that he believed the cells were atypical hyperplasia – just abnormal cells – and not cancer. He was calming and reassuring.
We would remove the lump and I could move on with my life.
I felt good after I left his office. Easy peasy – let’s just get rid of this thing that has been causing me pain for more than a year.
On the day of the procedure, my mom was able to come with me. It was the second day of school, so my husband, Ryan, agreed to take charge of the kiddos and their schedules while my mom escorted me to the hospital.
I won’t go into too many details about the procedure because I don’t really remember much. What I do remember were all the amazing Beebe team members that I met throughout my time in the hospital. I went in, Dr. Spellman took out the lump, and by lunchtime I was getting back into mom’s car, headed for the pharmacy and then lunch.
Exactly one week later, I was back in Dr. Spellman’s office and he was handing me the best report ever – it was not breast cancer!
What a relief! I didn’t realize it, but it was like I had been holding my breath. I was telling myself that it wasn’t cancer for weeks – it surely could not be – but receiving the official report was just the best news of the day. And, to top it off, I got this amazing news on my mom’s birthday, so I was able to surprise her for her birthday and give her lovely news! A win-win!
My journey isn’t over. Due to the cells being there, I will need ongoing monitoring, however I will take regular mammograms and MRI scans any day over cancer treatment.
A Plan for Better Health
This whole cancer scare really caused me to evaluate my life and my health. It has been a rough year for me – my dad dying really just knocked me down and then my husband and I have been having financial rough patches and unexpected medical bills and car bills. So, it has not been great.
However, I am a positive person. I try to live on the bright side of life at all times. And, having this non-cancer really showed me that I can CHOOSE every day to take steps for my mental and physical health.
No one is going to do it for me.
One of my family’s favorite silly movies is “Storks.” It’s a story about how storks stop delivering babies and, instead, deliver products for Amazon-similar-corporation, Cornerstore.com.
One of the repeating lines in the movie is: “Make the plan. Stick to the plan. Always deliver.”
This line always gets me thinking about the benefits of having a plan, whether it is for your day, your life, and, yes, your health.
Anyway, the movie is adorable if you want to check it out.
Sticking to that plan for your health is difficult. I mean, obviously it is – you see people going on and off diets, starting exercise programs only to become lax again, losing weight, gaining weight, quitting smoking, going back to smoking, and on and on and on.
Obviously we humans have a hard time with the “Stick to the plan” part of that mantra.
Why? Why can’t we just make a change today and that change sticks forever?
Because we are creatures of habit and we are easily sidetracked. At least I am! It’s so easy to choose a quick and easy (and unhealthy) meal over a nutrient-rich meal. It’s so easy to say, I’m too tired today, and skip that workout or that meditation.
Our health is a series of small steps. And, we can take these small steps over a long period of time with the ever-present goal of improving our health.
My family and I are working toward a plant-based lifestyle. We do not aim to be perfect (because that gets you into trouble), we simply aim to eat close to the earth 90% of the time. Will my kids still be allowed to have the occasional Happy Meal – of course. I want them to be able to have all of the information and make their own informed decisions.
I recently joined Kris Carr’s (Crazy Sexy Cancer) Wellness Boot Camp and am loving her style of adding small health changes. This week we are focusing on eating veggies at every meal, so as I type this, I am sitting here with my spinach-blueberry-pineapple smoothie that I made at home. For lunch, I will have an all-veggie wrap from our amazing hospital café.
This is just one step, but it’s a step that I hope to take day after day. Eating nutritious meals is important to me because my health is important to me. I want to be around for a long time so I can see my kiddos grow up and so I can enjoy my life disease-free.
So, I will work to continue to set other goals and try other health trends out to see if they are a fit for my health and my lifestyle. Some other topics I hope to discuss in upcoming blogs include: Intermittent fasting, meditation, mental health related to toxic relationships, and creating space to have more do-nothing days with my kids.
I want you to think about your life and your health. Really think about it – close your eyes if you have to. If there was one area of your health that you could improve – what would it be? How could you improve it? What can you do today that will improve your health?
Then make your plan for better health and stick to your plan by taking small steps every day.
Love & Health,
- Be Balanced - Alexandra Keegan
- Grit & Grace - Amanda Aris
- Caring for Our Bodies - Angela Caswell-Monack, DO
- It's a Woman Thing - Bridget Buckaloo
- Navigating Our Health - Carrie Snyder
- Journal Gen X - Christina Deidesheimer
- Be Real - Rachel Swick Mavity
- The Nest - Reba Tappan
- Boomer Unchained - Susan Towers