If I look back at my life, I'd become many things I wanted to be. But I never learned a handful of other things I wish I did when I had the chance.
Life is too short, I realize now. Perhaps it will never be too late to learn to write, but could Time be running out?
Friday, March 13, 2015
BEATING BREAST CANCER
Taking Things for Granted
What I thought was a pulled muscle somewhere under the right breast, and took for granted for about 3 months, turned out to be 4 solid lumps that clustered to an aggregate size of 6 cms. It started to feel heavy, even as I sleep on my usual right side. While bathing, I could get a sense of its hardness. Lately, the right breast has gotten bigger and an oddness over its shape has become apparent.
My OB-Gyne, who we usually see every April, but who I summoned on March 3, was alarmed when she examined me. She suspected the 6 x 6-cm size right away and wrote it in the rush Request Orders for mammogram, sonography and chest X-rays. Being a breast cancer survivor herself, she did not mince to emphasise that these tests had to be done that very same day.
In a couple of hours' time, the UST Hospital Buenavides Cancer Institute released a 2-page report that details the findings for 4 oval dense masses with an aggregate size of 6 cms,
as my OB-Gyne had earlier suspected.
The Diagnostic Radiology Unit cited these description:
"Oval isodense masses," meaning solid.
Fixed non-moving, as my OB-Gyne had earlier suspected.
"Inhomogeneous echopatterns." To mean not uniform, per Oxford.
"...with irregular margins." To indicate malignancy, as opposed to when the border linings are smooth characterising benign tumors .
The Report ended with a recommendation for " appropriate action to be taken" and had pushed the alert level by pointing out a "BIRADS CATEGORY 5 : HIGHLY SUGGESTIVE OF MALIGNANCY. "
In pathology medicine, a Grade 1-2 indicates benign. Grade 3 has to be watched. Grade 4 is suspected malignancy. Grade 5 is worst in the scale.
I had long thought of myself as a healthy person. I watch what I eat. I keep meat under
30% of my food intake. I do Zumba regularly. I lead a physically active life. I travel.
I read. I explore. I work, and never plan to retire.
I have never been hospitalised, never got sick, I don't smoke and I never learned to drink more than a bottle of beer at any given time in my youth, nor in my recent past.
In my family, even if my Grandmother suffered from leukemia, there appears no genetic connection to my present condition.
Neither of the three doctors could sufficiently explain why a healthy person could develop cancer. No one knows, perhaps only the Mind of God ( as Stephen Hawkings pointed out.)
If I had not taken it for granted, if I had just gone to the OB-Gyne the soonest I felt that strain of a pulled muscle which I had so quickly dismissed a few months ago, if I hadn't thought I was in perfect health, maybe the extra cells that grew along the walls of the milk ducts did not have to become abnormal to reach cancer stage, nor could they have multiplied too quickly inside those duct walls. Could I have at the outset been able to detect that "pulled muscle" feeling as cells abnormally growing IF I had paid real attention to my body?