Friday 31 January, 2020

I found a lump in my breast – now what?

Ila, based in the US, a cosplayer going through breast cancer.

I found a lump in my breast, this is my story. July 19, 2019. I was playing Dungeons and Dragons with a group of friends, drinking and laughing and pretending to slay dragons, when I rubbed across my chest and felt a lump in my breast.

An alarm bell in the back of my head

“That’s weird,” I remember thinking, “but I’m sure it’s nothing.” After all, I wasn’t even 30, ate well, exercised, and had zero family history of any cancer at all. I’d never had even a close family friend suffer from the disease.

Still, there was an alarm bell in the back of my head ringing, telling me it wasn’t normal. I scheduled an appointment the following Wednesday, and even the nurse initially assumed it was just a cyst. Still, it was suspicious enough that I went in for an ultrasound that same day. I remember seeing the technician’s face tighten, and they explained to me that cysts were usually clear and smooth. The mass on the ultrasound was a nasty dark spot in my tissue, rough around the edges and ominous.

They scheduled me immediately for a biopsy

They scheduled me immediately for a biopsy, and I called my mom with a sinking feeling, suspecting the worst. She came to the hospital immediately and held my hand while they numbed me up. And jammed the six inch needle into my breast. I spent the rest of the day in a daze. And barely felt surprised when I got a call the next morning from my nurse. I had an invasive ductal carcinoma. Cried for a few minutes, then flipped into planning mode. I went in the same day for an mri, and they found at least one suspicious lymph node. The next few weeks passed in an agonizing series of tests and waiting. And I decided to finally get the short haircut I’d always wanted. I’m an actor and singer, and long hair usually books me better roles. So I’d never felt brave enough to cut it. “But screw it,” I thought. “It’s all gonna fall out anyway.”

I have more stories to share about how it was to find a lump in my breast. Connect and find me in the War On Cancer app by searching for @ilabelle

Read other War On Cancer articles here:

Dating after cancer

Why are we not talking about prostate cancer?

Coping with a cancer diagnosis 

Does sugar feed cancer?

Dealing with cancer 

Cancer from a loved one’s perspective 

Nutrition and cancer

Corona/Covid19 and cancer

Ila, based in the US, a cosplayer going through breast cancer.

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