In September 2012 I notice something funny is going on with my left nipple. It's red on one side and sore to the touch. I don't think too much of it but over the fall months it hurts when I bump it accidentally. By December I am looking at it intensely and although it's not getting worse, it's not going away. Time to go see the doc.
In January the doctor recommends a mammogram, e.c.g., etc. All tests come back negative, but he refers me to a specialist. A needle goes into my nipple and comes back inconclusive. A biopsy is recommended.
March 20th I have a biopsy.
March 21st I'm diagnosed with lobular breast cancer.
(Lobular cancer begins around the nipple and represents about 10% of breast cancers.)
I work that weekend (good, no time to stew) and go back to the specialist at the beginning of the week. A friend accompanies me — a second set of ears. She comes prepared with a list of questions (her husband went through cancer last year).
Doc recommends surgery with chemo to follow, and because I'm so young, reconstruction down the road. At the end of our conversation, he says, "See you on Thursday to sign the papers."
I'm bug-eyed. I only have 2 days to think about this?
We leave the office and I'm upset. My girlfriend settles me down by reminding me it's only to sign the papers. I still have 3 weeks before surgery, so there is some time to think. Surgery is now booked for April 24th.
And that’s when I start studying.