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Another lump makes fear take over funny

There is no other way to put it—I am scared. I feel that I have lived on the edge of death for so long; breast cancer and chemo takes over your entire life, and being ‘cancer free’ after all that is joyous. But now I have found a lump in my right breast. The breasts I have just had reconstructed.

I thought that things were looking towards the sky, and now I feel like the bottom has fallen out from under me. My heart is beating too fast, and my thoughts are erratic. Do I have NO control over my world anymore?

There are those who tell me that millions of women go through this all the time and I know this to be true. That doesn’t make it any easier for me to deal with. From the time you feel that lump under your fingers, you wait and wonder about what’s going on.

What are the chances of getting breast cancer again? They vary depending on a wide variety of factors. But recurrence usually happens within three to five years of treatment. I am no longer comforted by being cancer free. I am terrified of doing it all again, and wondering if I have the courage and endurance to do it all again. I feel trapped within a realm of fear that I have no control over.

Those who know me, know I have a great need to be in control of my life; it would seem that this is not to be the part I control. I know it’s normal to feel this way—at least, that’s what all the literature I read says. Literature also says that I have to fight the fear of recurrence. I don’t know if I have it in me anymore.

If I develop cancer in the opposite breast of where I had it before, it’s not really a recurrence, it could be a completely new and different kind of cancer. Do all women who have had cancer go through the same torment that I am feeling right now? My friend Stacey Calvert says that she went through it for several years after her mastectomy, so maybe I am partially normal.

Maybe what I’m feeling with my fingers is scar tissue. Maybe it’s a calcified cyst or even something totally different. Maybe it’s nothing, but I can’t think in lines of maybe. I can’t wrap my brain around anything but the fear of the possibility of cancer.

My grandmother has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer also. My sister Starr had her thyroid removed last year because of cancer. Studies show that there MIGHT be a relation between breast cancer and thyroid cancer. Might be? We can shoot people into space and we can’t figure that out if there is a link between cancers for sure yet? Three aunts, myself, my sister, my grandmother—all six of us diagnosed with cancer. This is within the last two years. Scared? Hell yeah, I am scared.

I got a great letter from my insurance today about being cancelled, which is not really their fault, but still doesn’t make my stress level any less at this moment. I feel like a bomb has gone off in my life. I know there are women out there who share my fears, who have walked or are walking the same path I am travelling down right now. I guess I want you to know that it’s okay to be scared, it’s okay to shake so hard at the idea of going through chemo again, of losing the hair you’ve just grown back again, of wishing that you were finished—even, sometimes, if being finished with cancer just means being dead.

So was there anything to be scared of? I still don’t know. Once I arrived at the doctor’s office, he not only examined that lump, but found another one near it. I’m going to have to return for both lumps to be analyzed before I will find out if my cancer has returned.

As women, from the first time we ever feel a lump, we have to fight our way through the fear. That is always easier to say than it is to do. And we wait. Always wait.


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Jinx Beshears Jinx Beshears is a southern transplant to North Idaho, and shares her confusion with the Pacific Northwest Lifestyle in her column, Jinxed. When not writing, or living, her outlandish stories, she's generally lost somewhere in the mountains with her dog, Aspen.

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