You wake up feeling fine, no nightmares, no aches all is okay. You thank God for another new chance at life and just before you jump out of bed, you place your right arm under your head, using your left hand you move your fingers gently around your right breast in circular motions covering the entire breast area and the armpits. You repeat the same on the left side… but something grabs your attention.
For a moment you think it’s the breasts getting excited with the finger movements or think nature is being nice to you.I mean, when you have small breasts ,sometimes you hope for a miracle that they will be bigger. So you check again, this time paying more attention, telling yourself “it’s not what I think. it’s not what I think” … right there, your fears are confirmed, it’s a lump!
Everything that you can imagine will flash right away in your mind! You will wish it away, give yourself a few days to let it fade away. Doctor google will be your friend and the only line that will remain stuck in your head is: the only way to be certain that a lump is not cancerous is to have a tissue sampling (biopsy). You pray about it, then you call the people who matter to share your fears and they will end up at this place, go get checked!
Photography by: Otieno Nyadimo
Then the bold step: the checkup.
There is something about doctor’s that is calming, no matter how big your worries are. Their eyes are a reflection of hope and strength. There is a certain surety in their voices that says, whatever it is, you shall pull through… First is the assurance that not all lumps are cancerous before asking a series of questions. Age, any history of breast cancer in your family and reproductive factors.
Exposing your breasts is the least of your worries at this point as the doctor asks that you point the location of the lump for him to check. The guy moves his fingers asking questions: any discharge on the nipples other than milk, any recent nipple retractions or abnormalities, reddening of the skin (when you are nilotic black as I am…black is all you know) or any skin dimpling. The little lump is still there not as you hoped.
The doctor will then recommend a mammogram. In between waiting for the results, there is a roller coaster of emotions: hopeful,afraid, thoughtless…all in all, you hope for the best. We all have these moments in life where hope has been restored by just a word. My favorite word then was, it’s benign! not cancerous! That right there was new hope.
With two options at hand: let it be with a possibility of growing bigger or have it removed for peace of mind. I went for peace of mind. We all love peace, don’t we? The surgery is simple, walk in, walk out and just a little scar… a scar that becomes a beauty spot, I almost don’t remember how the breast looked like without it.
Sitting there too afraid not to check yourself or get checked…don’t be. It’s better to be safe than sorry because being female is the first risk.
Love & Love