August 2018 – I come from a state where there is no help. Your neighbors ignore you. Everyone keeps to themselves. Moving to Texas was like moving to another country, but the old mentality was still with me.
I was volunteering with a nonprofit raising money for breast cancer research, and I was given things to post periodically. One of them was the importance of the self-check. I had never done one before, so to not be a hypocrite, I did.
I found a lump.
Well, sure. Of course I’d feel something the first time, right? But I don’t know my body yet so maybe it’s normal and will go away. I ignored it for a month, then checked again. It was still there, but again, maybe it had always been there. I made a note of the size of it and went on for another month before checking again.
It was bigger.
I didn’t want to be paranoid, so I recorded the size very carefully and waited another month. It was definitely bigger, about the size of a golf ball now. I was tired all the time. I finally began worrying. Breast cancer hits nearly every woman in my family. I was young, but I knew it was possible. With that old mentality of “no one will help me,” I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t afford to even see a doctor.
Enter the angels of the Bridge Breast Network.
Thanks to them, I received my first mammogram. They saw the lump on it, but my tissue is so dense, they ordered an ultrasound to confirm. We got a needle biopsy. I spoke with a wonderful surgeon who kept me from freaking out too much. In the end, I needed a lumpectomy.
The surgeon said that while it was not technically cancer, it was called “pre-cancer” or “cancer-friendly.” Without the surgery, the tumor would have become full blown breast cancer.
The Bridge Breast Network the entire time didn’t make me feel like a horrible person for not being able to afford any of it. They were comforting and relaxing. Getting a mammogram there was almost like going to a spa. (If you’ve been wrapped in their heated blankets during the winter, you know what I mean.)
My follow up exams showed nothing; they had gotten it all in one go. I have energy again. My children have their mother back. I am incredibly thankful to the Bridge Breast Network, and I recommend them to anyone looking for services or for fundraisers.