Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How it all began.

Quite a few people have asked me how I found the lump. I guess I forgot to mention that in my journey so far. I was preoccupied with the fact that I even had a lump, let alone how I found it.

Ken and I and another couple that he works with were down in Vegas for a huge convention. The lucky wives were tag alongs, but SO happy that we were able to do just that! While the guys were at their courses and such, BB (I don't know if you would want me to rat you out! lol) and I were having a glorious time at the gym. After that, we went outside to sit on the chairs by the pool in the sunshine. It was so nice. Then we were asked to move out of the pool area because it didn't open until the next day. We were clearly going into the water in our runners and such...

Anyways, we were going to walk the strip that day, so we headed back up to our rooms to get ready to go. While I was in the shower (this is where Ken thought he was so funny!! He is, that's why I love him the way I do.) I was washing my arm pit and tit... sorry I had to... it rhymes and I was going to be an English major and I do love poetry. Anyways!!! When I was washing my "breast" I found the lump.

On a side note, anyone who knows me knows that my brain is all over the place all the time so there are often side notes interjected into every story. I DO NOT do self breast exams. I think that things found in the body are creepy. Yes, I know I am odd. Paranoid?? Don't know, but I know I am weird and I worry about a lot of silly things. One of my children in particular has fallen down the stairs a few 9 times or so and I can't/don't like to feel bumps on heads etc. (Yes I am a good Mom. She had eye problems which we finally figured out and she's been pretty much fine ever since) If you have a bump on your leg, I don't want to touch it.... I know, weird. Just like me. So for this reason, I don't do self breast exams. I figured that Ken would find anything that might not have been normal anyhow. ;) Like I said, don't read it if you don't like it.

Back to the shower. I knew that if it was squishy and moved that it would be ok. But it wasn't. It was hard and stuck in the same spot. At this point I felt like loosing it; instead I made a whole bunch of promises to Heavenly Father - I will be a better daughter of God, I will treat my family better, I will take better care of my body, I will read my scriptures everyday, I will serve others more often, I will stop eating sugar... the list goes on. I have not stopped eating sugar yet - seriously, what else needs to happen to get this through my head!!

With my body numb, I finished up my shower, got out and stared at myself for a while in the mirror. I looked terrified and pale. Ken wasn't reachable at the moment and I didn't know what to do. So I did what any normal person would do. Went to the computer and started to read... Luckily for me, BB phoned and asked what I was doing. Of course I was looking up breast cancer on the computer in my underware, what else should I be doing. LOL BB told me not to worry, she would be right up while I finished getting ready. I at least put my clothes on before she got there. She told me not to freak out until we got back home. I couldn't do anything about it down in the States anyways.

So I got ready and we walked and walked... by then end of the afternoon I had almost forgotten about it; forgot to tell Ken. That night I told him and he felt it and confirmed that it didn't move. We were both a little stressed but not totally freaked out.

We got home, hugged and kissed the kids. And just relaxed the evening with Mom and Dad Atwood. Not too worried about anything although it was obviously still on my mind. That night I had a horrible sleep that night and just thought it was because I was worried. The next morning I got into the duty doctor at 8:40am. I rushed out of the house looking like a mess, but I had brushed my teeth. :) I also got a really bad cough that came back while we were in Vegas. I just thought that was from all the smoke in the Casino's and on the streets. The Doc listened to my chest and said it was clear, but unbeknownst to me, I had a fever (one of the reasons I had such a crappy sleep). So she put me on antibi's, since I had been sick for about 3 weeks and then she felt the lump.

She said that it felt pretty smooth, unlike what cancer would typically feel like. But she told me she would send me for an emergency ultrasound just so I could rest my mind at ease. Also, I was very young and the chances of it being cancer were slim to none. About a week later the hospital phoned with a cancellation and I got in.

The ultrasound tech got the doctor to come in and take a look at it. He told me not to worry, the doctors usually take a look at things. I felt calm. After the Doctor looked at it, he told me it was a fibroadenoma and would like to set up for an emergency biopsy. It would be an ultrasound guided biopsy, not a big deal at all. There was also a lymph node that looked a little suspicious as well, but I thought that might have been because I was sick. He told me that 7 out of 9 biopsy's came back benign and because of my age, I should not worry. I seemed calm and he asked me if I was alright. I really was ok. If it was fine then nothing to worry about, and if it wasn't fine, then we would deal with it.

So I got in about a week after that for the biopsy. I didn't think it would be all that bad and it wasn't. Honestly the worst part was the freezing and that wasn't bad. He took three samples from each site and I was on my way.

It was spring break and we were heading down to Auntie Manny's for the weekend and then back up to Mom and Dad's for the rest of spring break. We were really enjoying ourselves and having fun. It had been so long since we were able to spend a lot of time at Mom and Dad's since Wy was in school.

Wednesday night when Ken came home from work he called me out at Mom and Dad's and told me that the Doctor's office had called about 8 times that day. I honestly thought it was just to tell me that everything was fine and not to worry. Am I dumb or what??! The office was already closed and so I was going to call in the morning. At 7:30 on the dot Ken called saying that the doctor's office had already called so I should call them back.

Dr. C was so nice (she always is!) and was asking when we were planning on coming back home. This kind of made me wonder why. Mom and I were standing in the bathroom together and Mom said something along the lines of "Just tell her. We are already worried sick!" Dr. C's tone of voice changed and she spoke very softly and concerned. She told me she didn't want to do this over the phone, that she really wanted to see me in person, but by then I already knew. She said that it wasn't good news and that it was cancer. She apologized because she honestly thought that it wouldn't have been. I don't remember much of the conversation after that. I heard "we will hit it hard with Chemo and Radiation..." at that my body went numb, hot and sick.

So we got everything organized at Mom and Dad's and headed back home. Back to an uncertain life full of worry and wonder.

We met with her when we got home to ask some questions and find out what would happen next. I told her that I don't do self breast exams and maybe I should have been. She told me that I would have been crazy to worry myself with doing this as I was young and there is no family history of this, this early. That made me feel better. It really was just crappy luck of the draw.

That is how I found out I had cancer. Of course there is still uncertainty, worry and wonder, but at least we know we are being looked out for, and that everything will be done to produce the best outcome possible... For me, a long, full life with my husband, children, family and friends. I don't want it any other way but also realize this is totally out of my hands and that I am being guided by my Father in Heaven.


  1. GV you are true gift,what great courage you have in talking about your cancer.I know the Dear Lord is not ,is always with you you have a job to do ,keep up the good work >Love you always auntie Rita

  2. hey G,

    thanks for sharing this with us. I hope you are doing and feeling good right now. I again am so happy to see you taking this so great! Laughter is the best medicine!! :)

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this story, Geneva!! I'm sure that I'm not the only one who has always wondered what to look (or feel) for. Boobies always feel weird!!! I totally admire your honesty and strength.
    Lots of Love, Linda xoxoxo <3

  4. Just wanted to say we love you, and I am totally your blog stalker! Xox Mel