Last October, I got the fright of my life – just in time for breast cancer awareness month. I imagine it would be nicer to say that I’m only writing about it now because it took me a while to get over it. It sounds more dramatic, doesn’t it? In reality, I just didn’t have the time to do so. I’ve never been the dramatic type – well, at least in public.
So I went with my friend Pita to a Breast Cancer Awareness Month event hosted by XIXILI – a company that makes really pretty lingerie – along with the Breast Cancer Welfare Association (BCWA).
We learned a lot from that event. From the usual self-checking to other ways we can all spread awareness against breast cancer which affects one in eight women (in the US, at least). Here are a couple of snippets from that event.
Okay, you prolly saw my resting/talking bitch face – I wasn’t annoyed, people. Pita and I were merely interviewing breast cancer survivors so I was rather serious. You can read all about the survivors by clicking here.
We also walked with the survivors around the event area which was a pretty fun (and easy, tbh) way of showing them our support.
Aside from hoarding BCWA merch, people also lined up for some grooming activities sponsored by event partners Shu Uemura and Number 76. But the thing people were most interested in was the professional breast check done by local nurses.
Pita and I tried it out and I was told that I had a lump on my right breast.
One thing I forgot until after the check up was that it was the first day of my period and checking for cysts during this time of the month, will not give you accurate results. Your breasts are too tender and some lymph nodes in there would have become enlarged. She told me not to worry but get checked just to be sure.
How does anyone forget they’re on their period, you say? It was a momentary lapse on my part. We were launching The Binge that day and I had too much on my mind!
So I was a bit shocked by it but was not that affected. Come on, Cancer does not run in my family – both sides. So why should I be worried?
I didn’t tell Alvin about it right away. I wanted to be sure first and didn’t want to get him into panic mode. I also know that he’s got quite a bad experience about this sort of thing because he had an emotionally abusive girlfriend who kept making up breast lumps or a new kind of sickness every time he tried to break up with her.
I was also never the type to go crying for help right away, partly because of denial. I just refuse to be anything but healthy. In that instance, I knew that I have to make sure and maybe try to fix it on my end before sending my husband then the whole family into a frenzy.
The next day, I got a call from my grandma who was crying about how doctors found cysts on my mom’s right breast the week before and that she had to go through a biopsy. My grandma was feeling so guilty not being there for her since she’s in Manila and my mom’s in Amsterdam. I asked her about the biopsy results and she said she was waiting for news as well.
We’re that kind of family. Anything wrong, you try to fix it on your end before involving anyone else. She’s probably fine and just hasn’t gotten around to talking to me, right? Or was she not fine and couldn’t bring herself to tell me?
This time, I told Alvin. I was calm and collected when I did and thank goodness my husband is the same when it comes to these sorts of things. I was scared, definitely. Panicking? Internally. But I didn’t want to get him all worked up. I really am lucky that he’s a caring guy and was gently pushing for a breast exam after I call my mom – whatever her results were.
I called my mom and I let out a sigh of relief when she told me that the cysts were benign and that she’s fine. But I went ahead for the check at Prince Court Medical Centre here in KL the next day.
So for the second time in October, I got a pro to feel me up and I was finally told there was nothing. WHEW. The doctor added that I should just come for an ultrasound or a mammogram if it ever comes back or if I start feeling something weird. So yeah, I’m all good, thank goodness.
To be honest, I’m not really into check ups – be it done by myself or a doctor. I just never liked the feeling of going to the hospital and I have way too much to do these days that lying down with one arm up, feeling my breast for lumps is just something that doesn’t cross my mind. I have deadlines! Deadlines!
But what happened last October was definitely a rude awakening – that I should pay attention to my body. I do workout. But of course, I have to look at the other factors of my well being too. Thanks universe, I definitely got the message.
With that said, and as reference for when I (and someone else who lands on this page) need it, here are the steps in doing a self-check on your breasts:
Always remember – early detection saves lives!
Feature photo provided by XIXILI. Breast check photo from Relay Health.