Is it or isn’t it?

23 11 2009

I am adopted and I am fortunate in that I know my biological parents, but my biological mother was adopted as well, and I know nothing of her family.  So, for medical history, I have only a paternal side.  Not that cancer seems to care much nowadays.  I know people who have led the perfect healthy and active lifestyle who were stricken fatally before their fortieth birthday.  I know people who smoked, drank and lived obese but devoid of cancer until old age took them in their nineties.  It’s indiscriminate and I stand as much of a risk as the next person for pretty much any cancer but testicular and prostate.  It’s knowing that I don’t stand immune that had me knelt over the porcelain throne half the evening.

I check my breasts once a week, sometimes more often.  I’m only 33, but better safe than sorry.  And if safe gives me an excuse to feel up my breasts, then where’s the downside?  Last night though, I found a lump.  It was by accident though.  I had grazed my hand over my left breast and felt the bump.  I went to my bed and laid on my back.  I began the circular motions, pressing and rolling the skin beneath my fingertips, trying to find what I felt again.  And I found it.  It was an inch in diameter, in the upper area of my breast, near the armpit.  I say it was, but it still is.

Just putting the memory to words here makes my stomach turn over again.

I’m jobless, with no insurance.  And October was the month for free breast exams.  I’ve already googled and found that non-breast cancer awareness month checks are free only to women over fifty.  I’d have to wait twenty years more for those.  What I know of breast cancer doesn’t give me that type of a time line.  I can’t rationalize the cost of an exam.  What if it isn’t breast cancer and I use money we don’t have for a unnecessary exam?  But what if it is and I am wasting limited time in wondering?  The statistics say that it likely isn’t breast cancer.  Four out of five lumps are not cancerous.  Less than 7% of breast cancer victims are under 40.

It doesn’t matter for now what the statistics say though.  My bank account balance says it isn’t an option.  And for now, it speaks the loudest.

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