Wednesday, June 29, 2011

TMFFS: Cancer/Adventures in Hypochondria

I learned a long time ago that WebMD & I are not friends & that, in fact, when it comes to self diagnosing, the interwebs are not to be trusted. Self diagnosing, in general, should be discouraged (unless you are or were once a doctor).

The following excerpt from one of my facebook friend's pages is precisely why:

OMFG my right breast has been itchy, so I asked that on Yahoo! & by the sounds of it I might have breast cancer....OH LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I seriously thought it meat like someone is thinking of you!!!!!!!!! DOES ANY GIRLS KNOW????

I was quick to dismiss my lonely FB friend's status as nothing more than another ploy to get attention since every 3 days or so, she insists that some inane occurrence is really the cosmos' way of informing her that she is being thought of. She once asserted that the hair on her big toe was growing longer because the object of her affection was thinking of her. (& also, I tried to find that post for TMFFS but couldn't).

In general, I've always been kind of skeptic of cancer: it seems like everything causes or is a symptom of cancer.

This post has potential to get really lengthy so I'm just going to skip ahead to the part where while performing a self breast exam in the shower, I encountered a dime-sized lump on my right head light.
So yes, I felt a my breast.

This was a couple of weeks ago & having just found out that I was not kicked out of law school, I was determined not to spoil my 24th birthday with any bad news. I did not schedule to see a doctor but instead forced female friends and relatives to cop a feel & let me know what they thought. Without missing a beat, each reluctantly prodded around and then would come to the lump.

"Please go see a doctor." I must have heard that one phrase twenty times before I actually followed that advice.

My doctor was nice enough; a young guy employed by my school who maintained eye contact and ensured that my smock covered my nipples during the exam. I had mixed feelings; I definitely didn't want my doctor to find the lump but also didn't want to seem like a hypochondriac.
"There is definitely something there. I'm going to write you a referral to see an ultra sound technician."
& I guess maybe I went pale. The doctor continued, "It could just be a cyst or a part of your breast that's just naturally more fibrous or dense. Try not to worry about it too much until after we see the scan. I want to see you back here once your results come in; let's say two weeks?"

I spent all my time  a little bit of time over the next several days freaking out on the inside.
I wasn't really sure how big of a deal to make over the whole thing; it's not like I was dying. Nothing was even confirmed. But that couldn't stop me from worrying about it.
Later that week, while having drinks with Fatty, the topic came up.

Fatty: So, have you heard anything yet?
Me: No but my third appointment is Tuesday so I'll let you know.
Fatty: Listen, I just want to tell you that if you do have cancer, I'll shave my head for you.
Me: What?
Fatty: You know, because chemo makes you lose your hair. & we're best friends so I'll shave off all my hair too.
Me: Ha, it would be kind of exciting not to have hair. I could wear a different wig to class everyday. As a matter of fact, if I do have cancer, I'm spending my entire refund check at a Korean wig shop & going bananas with the colors and styles.
Fatty: Hey, no, shut up. You're missing my point. & my point is that I'm a good friend, you bitch.
Me: I know you are.
Fatty: Thank you.
Me: I'm really lucky to have people like you in my life, Fats.
Fatty: That's better.
Me: But hey, let's not start planning so far ahead. I'm sure it's going to be okay. I'm still young, I hardly ever eat microwaveable popcorn and  I've never even been to a tanning bed.
Fatty: ...What are you talking about?

& then we were interrupted by a homeless guy who bummed a cigarette from Fatty and spit on my arm while telling us how pretty we were. He also gave me fifteen cents which Fatty smacked out of hands before proclaiming, "That probably has feces all over it!"
To which I responded, "Fatty, that guy can hear you! He's impoverished not deaf!"

& two days later, my ultra sound results came back with no sign of any significant masses, malign or otherwise.



  1. I'm so glad you're okay!
    And I thoroughly enjoyed your conversation with Fatty. If I had cancer, I would definitely take the same wig route.

  2. lol thanks, i feel relieved too. haha fatty is a little pistol.