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December 15, 2008

Don't Neglect Second Base

Handcircle_16 I feel invincible like most other young healthy young people I know. Especially Moms. We spend our days (and nights!) tending to the needs of our little bundles of joy. Wiping noses, changing diapers, planning meals, coordinating carpools, making doctor appointments, and organizing endless fun and games to entertain our children. Forget about sick days as the job title Mom automatically erases that possibility from your life even during the direst illness.


As a fit and lean 32 year old Mom, I never considered breast cancer impacting me during this period of my life. Did I ever take the time to perform a breast self exam? Not really. Maybe a few times in the last ten years I gave it a try in the shower, but seriously, I’m not a doctor, and I didn’t know what exactly I was looking for.


And I figured it can’t happen to me – I’m young. I’m healthy. Wrong answer. It can happen to any of us when we’re least expecting it. About 10 months ago, with a brand new 8 week old baby and a precocious 2 year old, I discovered a lump when breastfeeding my newborn. Pure luck.


I can still remember my heart sinking down into the deepest pit of my stomach. Wanting to deny the truth, but knowing I’d have to see this one out. There was no doubt that this was a “lump”. I called my husband up to confirm my suspicions and his assessment was equal to mine. Absolutely a “lump.”  Thanks to organizations like the Susan G. Komen Foundation who spread oodles of information and awareness about Breast Cancer and prevention through their Race for the Cure events, I knew not to ignore this obvious symptom of a pretty “palpable” lump for more than a few days – even during the sleep deprivation of early motherhood.


Luckily it all turned out fine. But this story could just have easily not had such a happy ending. After an ultrasound confirmed it was a solid mass and tumor (not a cyst), the surgeon immediately scheduled a lumpectomy to remove and biopsy my tumor. Pathology showed my tumor to be benign. I can’t tell you how thankful I was to be given this “free pass”. Every day I see my incision scar in the mirror when I get out of the shower. And not a day goes by without me counting my lucky stars.


Luckily it all turned out fine for me. But this story could just have easily not had such a happy ending. Needless to say, I encourage all of you busy young Moms to remember that we still need to do monthly self exams. And trust me, if there is a lump, you’ll feel it!

This is an original post to the Philly Mom Blog. Colleen Padilla is a busy and energetic mother of 2 who spends her free time blogging and reviewing products on her website, Classy Mommy.com.


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