Cancer Lesson #1: Don’t ignore the postcard.
My postcard came in October 2010 – maybe earlier – reminding me it was time for my annual checkup. And while I didn’t exactly ignore its summons, I certainly didn’t rush out to make an appointment, merely jotted that task on my to-do list, right next to a reminder that I was long-overdue at for a dentist visit too.
Looking back, I can see there were signs even then that cancer was growing in my right breast.
Since starting menopause, my breasts had gotten looser, and sometimes when I slept on that side, I needed to rearrange myself to get comfortable, something I assumed larger-breasted women had been doing all their life.
I didn’t give it a second thought; I was too busy enjoying the fact that I had cleavage for the first time in my life — an exciting development for someone whose bras have never gone beyond the A range.
Only after being diagnosed did I realize that discomfort was almost certainly my cancer.
Would it have made any difference if I’d gone to my OB/GYN as soon as I got the card? My doctors say probably not.
But there are other, more aggressive, breast cancers where a month or two could affect treatment options, possibly even the patient’s prognosis.
So, don’t ignore the postcard.