Noting the unusual

Back in June after a day of fierce gardening, I noticed that there was a bit of dirt in my bra and that the skin of my left breast looked a little unusual. I didn’t think much of it, especially since this chemo gives me a rash sometimes, and I take a long time to heal from cuts and skin irritations these days.

After two weeks it hadn’t gotten better. In fact it was a little worse. I know that it is possible to have more than one kind of cancer at a time, and that unusual looking skin could be a sign of breast cancer, so I called my family doctor and got a phone appointment. I then went in for an in person appointment which lead to a mammogram. After the mammogram I was told I’d meet with a surgeon to discuss the possibility of a biopsy.

In September 2021 I had that appointment with the surgeon. It wasn’t until after I was at the appointment in the Cancer Centre that I learned I would have the biopsy that very day. I’m glad I didn’t have a lot of time to think about it! The surgeon was right: this was so much easier than the lung biopsy. Just a steri-strip, and a waterproof bandage that stayed on a week. It healed up very well. I had to wait another week for results. It could have been breast cancer, or lung cancer which had spread, or something else.

I didn’t tell anyone until September, and before publishing this I had only told a handful of people, including my kids. I’m not sure why. I think maybe because there has been so much grief and uncertainty in the world, and I did not want to add to it unnecessarily.

As I’ve reflected on it, I’ve had a growing conviction that it’s important to talk about it. I want to tell you now because early detection matters. It matters that we pay attention, and when we notice something, it matters to go to the doctor. Lung cancer doesn’t usually give the opportunity for an earlier stage diagnosis, but many other cancers have much better odds. We need to pay attention and if we notice something unusual, we need to act on it.

Early detection matters

I’m very happy to say that they didn’t think it was cancer back in September, but they have continued to follow it since there was a possibility that it was a rare disease, but just this past week the surgeon said it seems to be after-effects from the radiation done in October 2020.

Good news! I didn’t realize how much stress I had been carrying about that until I received this news and noticed my body relax. I’m very thankful and want to share that good news with you.

Thank you for journeying with me and for so many uplifting messages. I’m humbled by the ways so many people care, show kindness, pray… many people have said they pray daily for me. It makes a difference. So much appreciation, so humbled … thank you!

4 thoughts on “Noting the unusual

  1. Relieved with you. And encouraged by your story. Tests are never really fun, but they are worthwhile and can indeed be lifesaving. Amen. May nothing else “show up” where or when it shouldn’t and may you heal and stay healthy in all ways and very thoroughly!

  2. Hi Jill thanks for sharing this part of your journey. I am so glad for you that they have ruled out breast cancer and that it is one less stressor for you now. Early detection does matter. For me, I had a routine mammogram that found two very small stage one breast cancer tumours. That led to a lumpectomy followed by a plan for reducing the recurrence with radiation on my breast. When they did the CT scan to plan for the radiation, the lesion on my lung, which needed up being stage IV adenocarcinoma, NSCLC with Mets to my vertebrae, was detected. Absolute shock as I was feeling well and had planned to return to work the next week. My breast cancer surgeon said that my tumours wouldn’t have been detected thru palpating and that I was a “poster person” for mammogram screening. Maybe my lung cancer would have been found earlier too if I hadn’t dismissed the frequent feeling like heartburn and anxiety in my chest, which I now recognize as the lung cancer. Take care Jill. 💕

    • Correction above “ended” up being lung cancer, not “needed” being. Always read fully before posting 😜

  3. Thanks for the update Jill and PTL your breast tests are clear. Prayers continue for you as always.

    ((hugs)) Marcia

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