June 21, 2018…38 years old with a 9 year old, 6 year old and 1 year old…married for almost 13 years. If you’ve followed me for any time or been getting these emails for long, you know the story 😉
My friend had told me how gross it was to be showering with a loofah…it holds all kinds of germs and bacteria and we just spread it over our body day after day. Not long after that, my son and I were watching Dr. Oz and sure enough, he was saying the same thing. Well on that Thursday night, I showered without my loofah for the first time in who knows how long?!?!?
I never washed with my hands!
I mean WHO does that?!?! (I do now, that’s for dang sure!!!) That night as I mindlessly washed my body, I ran my hand across a large grape sized knot…a lump. It took me a minute to process…what was that?!? I had finished breast feeding not long before this…was this a clogged duct? Was this some random swollen node? As I raised my arm I could see it protruding from the side of my left breast.
Now, let’s be real…I was definitely part of the itty bitty committee! There was pretty much nothing there but some skin left over from nursing 3 kids and one heck of a nipple (sorry y’all, I said I’d be real and honest!). So it was definitely noticeable and quite large!
I hollered for my husband…
and asked him if he had seen or felt that before and he had not. He was taken by complete surprise as well. I got out of the shower and started calling my previously mentioned friend who was also my PCP…was I over reacting? Was this anything to worry about? Could she put me at ease?
She wasn’t available but I saw her the next morning at our 5:15am workout…she asked what was going on and we immediately went to the bathroom so she could check for herself. She reiterated what I had thought and said it definitely wasn’t normal. We got our workout in and tried to distract our thoughts as much as possible for that hour.
It was summertime so the kids were home which was just perfect timing. I mean dealing with something like this with 3 kids running around and trying to pretend all is normal isn’t the easiest feat in the world, let me just tell ya, lol! BUT luckily the older 2 had plans to be at a wake boarding camp that day and I had a sitter coming for the little one. My friend got me into a diagnostic imaging for first thing that morning when they opened. I truly felt like it was fine, that it was just going to be some random fluid filled cyst or something, it really wasn’t a big deal to me.
My husband was supposed to leave that morning for a guys weekend with all of our group of friends. He was reluctant to go regardless of my reassurance that all was good and I was just SURE that it was nothing. I dropped the kiddos off to their camp with my friends and their kids and headed to Dallas to get my imaging…I’d be back by lunch and wanted them to wait on me to start having fun 😉
On the drive down I figured I’d ask one of my most loyal faith filled friends to go ahead and shoot up a prayer or two for me…
I mean it couldn’t hurt! She assured me she’d get right on it as I assured her it was really nothing.
As I sat in the waiting room filling out my paper work for my first ever mammogram, in walked the most handsome man I’d ever laid my eyes on. His reassurance presence and his concern in his eyes were the most comforting thing I’d ever seen…I was so thankful my husband showed up even though I still thought it was a bit of overreacting.
I went back to my mammogram…
I sat there in that locker area with that beautiful cape on surrounded by women twice my age. I pictured my grandmother sitting there who had just passed from breast cancer not even 2 years prior to that moment and wondered what went through her mind as she had her appointment. As I’d soon find out, this wasn’t the last time she would be at the forefront of my thoughts over the next several months of my journey!!
They did the mammo, then came to get me for additional images, and then took me to a room for an ultrasound. A lot of time was passing and all I could think of was my husband just sitting by himself in that waiting room while I was back there getting felt up by every person in the place. I finally asked if he could please come back and they told me that when the radiologist came in they would go get him. And that’s what happened.
In the dark and quiet room, no one was saying a word as the radiologist did her reading of the images and then took her own. My husband and I gripping hands as tightly as we could, not knowing what was to come but also realizing that this was something we were not prepared for.
“I know I’m quiet, but I’ll walk you through it in a minute”…
That was all we got. She was peaceful and reassuring and there was just something calming yet concerning about her. When the light came on and she had me sit up to talk, it all became a blur. I know that I never let go of my husband, I know that she said cancer several times, I know that tears streamed my face, and I know that she told me I needed to be back there first thing Monday morning for a biopsy.
I got dressed and went to the scheduler where there was a packet of brochures and paperwork sitting at the corner where she sat me. Across the top brochure was ‘Meet Your Cancer Nurse Navigator’. My heart stopped. Was this really happening? Was that for me? No, I’m sure it was just there for the patient before me or maybe the one coming in behind me. We got an appointment scheduled for first thing on Monday to go back for a needle biopsy for the areas of concern…not only was it the lump I had found but another one and lymph nodes that they were questioning. She handed me the stack of questionable paper work and out I went.
As I walked into the lobby with my brochures in hand, I met eyes with my husband and we didn’t say a word. We walked into the hall and I turned to him and crumbled.
I lost it right there in the hallway of the hospital.
No one was even present in my world except for my partner, my best friend, my lifeline, and myself…the world stopped for that moment. I cried and cried and questioned as he held me tighter and with more meaning than I had ever felt in my life. What did all of this mean?!?! What the heck was happening?!?!
We went to the car and it was like, what now? I mean what do you do after you get news like that? Do you just go on with your day? Do you go back to work? Do you go put on your mom hat and rock it? WHAT DO YOU DO?!?!
We decided to meet at my mom’s and regroup…her house was on the way to the wakeboard park where my girlfriends and kids were, so it just made sense. I called her on the way and just let her know what was happening and that I was on my way to her house. I didn’t want to alarm her but also wanted her to be in the loop just in case something did happen to actually come of this. Then I called my dad who lives 7 hours away and let him know. Again, his mother had passed away less than 2 years earlier from breast cancer, so I knew this would not be an easy phone call. It’s funny when something like this happens, you don’t want to worry others. You just want to keep everyone as comfortable and care free as possible!
I regrouped at my mom’s with a glass of wine and some tears and then headed to the wakeboard park. I hadn’t really told my friends what all had happened but let them know I was on my way and my mom was with me. Remember how I said that my friend was also my PCP? Well as I walked into the place they were with the kids, she lost it. As we hugged and cried, she knew. Her office had called her and she had to take that phone call…one that would forever change everything.
So yeah, what do you do when you get news like this? When you have a day full of unkowns like this? In my world, your best friends drop everything, they rally, they book a room at a hotel and they make the most out of life. We spent that night laughing, crying, talking and having one of the best nights I will ever know. You don’t realize how much you are loved until something like this happens.
And little did I know this was ONLY the beginning…
As a wife and mama of 3, health and wellness is Natalie’s passion and she loves being able to help others through this platform. Natalie has been in the industry for more than 10 years with experience as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor and fat loss expert. Her certifications include CPT through the Cooper Institute, AFAA, Power Pilates, CrossFit and several other formats including her nutritional consultant certification through Metabolic Effect.
Natalie loves to share her knowledge and experience with others to help them find a long term and sustainable solution for the fat loss lifestyle. It’s a true gateway into FINDING A BALANCED LIFE…Natalie’s focus is to help women find their perfect fat loss solution through personal metabolism strategies and mindset makeovers. She is the creator of the online course, “Fat Loss Project” where hundreds of women have found that solution.
Natalie also helps breast cancer survivors love their new perfectly imperfect strength through food freedom and strategic movement. Contact her for one on one coaching opportunities.