Our lives are hectic, to say the least, which makes it difficult to meet all of our obligations between work, children, after-school activities and more. We’re all guilty of putting others, like our children, before our own well-being from time to time, and sometimes that means skipping an annual doctor’s appointment that just doesn’t seem like a priority. For me, it was an annual OB/GYN appointment I skipped, but fortunately, it’s a mistake I won’t make again.
When I went in 2007, it had been two years since my last visit. I’ll never forget how calmly my doctor asked me to give her my hand, and how instantaneously I knew why—so she could show me exactly where she felt the lump. She told me it was most likely a fibroadenoma, a common form of noncancerous tumor, but an ultrasound later showed it was not only larger than most, but also oddly shaped. So despite my doctor saying not to worry, all I could think about were those irregularities. Prolonging my fear was the fact that one week after finding out about the tumor, I found out I was pregnant. At just six weeks along, I’d have to wait until the second trimester to have the tumor removed. As if the first trimester of pregnancy isn’t hard enough; those next six weeks it was nearly impossible to keep the worst-case scenario out of my head.
In the end, my doctor (of course) turned out to be right, but it was a lesson I’ll never forget. I wondered how long the tumor had been there and how I hadn’t noticed it myself. As a result, I’ve never missed another appointment, and have taken other doctor’s visits more seriously, as well. My hope for you this month—especially after reading A Brave Battle, our article in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in which you’ll read about area women of all ages who have fought this devastating disease—is that you’ll feel fortunate. I know I do; I’m fortunate to have a scar that reminds me to be more cautious. Not everyone is that lucky. So take the stories of the seven women starting on page 22 to heart and remember that early detection goes a long way in lowering the statistics, but it’s only possible with a vigilant eye.
Colleen Patrice Clark
Executive Managing Editor
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 8 (October, 2013).
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