you can click can’t you?

Early this year at my yearly physical my physician told me something I never expected to hear. She felt 2 lumps during the b.r.e.a.s.t exam. Of course me, ever the cool cat, lay there processing the information casually as if she was talking about the weather. For reality sakes, she even made me feel it. They are the size of a pea, she pointed out. How appropriate that women break everything down to the cuisine, I grinned and she laughed back. Not until I got dressed and sat across the table did the gravity of it sink in.

Lumps?
Really? Me?

After hearing some statistics and probabilities, it came down to what I had to do about it. Medically. She asked me to monitor it and come back within a month. I left in a daze. Denial rocks. I informed the husband as a btw piece of conversation while cooking dinner. Did I mention he’s a cooler cat than I am? After a hmm.. and okay and silence, we addressed the issue late in the night. We took the doc’s advise and decided there really was no point fretting or thinking about it until next month when by freak luck the lumps could disappear or grow and either case shall be handled as deemed. Then.

The next 30 days were spent normally. If checking various websites and forums at least once every few days, reading up on all things lump-related, mammogram, ultrasounds is normal. Then there was the issue on the worse-case scenario. The baby was not 3 yet, the daughter was just becoming a teen and I had a son teetering on youth and still the child in most regards. It seemed uncanny that perhaps by sheer destiny, history would repeat itself. My maternal aunt was diagnosed with cancer of the intestines at exactly my age and with her children roughly the same ages as mine. She passed away wasted after 10 months of suffering and agony. I clearly remember her last day. I was 10. Her baby then is now a handsome successful IIT-alumni and is making his own destiny on the west coast.

It didn’t seem to make any sense letting anyone else know, and so didn’t.

Month later, I was back in the same room on the same table. Nothing had changed. Get the mammogram and the ultrasound done asap within the week I was told grimly. I came home and made the appointment. The earliest was in the middle of the day 4 days later.

On the day, after the kids were in school and the baby at the sitter’s, husband at work, I drove down to the place. It was like going for a spa treatment. Same pleasant atmosphere, with women of all sizes, shapes, colors each hiding behind a magazine. Women behind the counter in white, laughing, and going about business – assistants nicely manicured and coiffed escorted each to a smaller sized cubby with fresh smelling robes and fluffy white slippers. Such guile I thought to myself scanning a Cosmopolitan, as a red haired lady sat across me chatting nineteen to the dozen on the deals she made on Zappos. A plastic surgery magazine lay on her lap and was showing off before and after pictures of women enhanced.
If only one had any left once we leave the place I thought morbidly.

Going through a mammogram is like getting caught between 2 cold hard metal pieces squeezing the living daylights out of you with no escape in sight. It’s a slow torture. You get clamped up slowly and as u let out small howls and ouches, the assistant would only mutter ‘I know sweetheart, just a little bit more” and then more pressure. As you think you are going to pass out, she eyes her artwork suspiciously from all angles, runs behind a partition, checks on the monitor, and God forbid she can’t see the mass, we repeat all over again. And so I was repeated. Twice. And then there are angular views that one must submit to because of the shape of the offending organ. So 2 times 2 and it seemed like eternity before I was allowed to escape the dark room.
Fighting back tears I swore, I wouldn’t let drop, I was put back in the spa room again to wait for the next test. Ultrasound. This I’ve gone through enough times – it’s messy and cold, but doesn’t hurt or pinch or pull. I can handle it. Or so I thought.
The old doctor was neither considerate, smooth, nor gentle. He flattened, plucked, and shifted the wand in various angles and pressures, and just as I could take it no more and screamed, he said “But I don’t see anything.” As if to believe his own touch than the machine’s image, he prodded me around and again declared with almost a hint of resignation “no, I don’t feel anything. Maybe they melted away.”With a shrug, he left the room saying they’d communicate with my primary.

I felt numb.

I sat in my van watching a toddler break free from her mom and race across the parking lot and the mom sprint after her. It reminded me of my own probably napping at the sitter. That’s when the tears hit and broke free. I broke down in the lot, face buried in my hands hearing Reshma sing ‘Badi Lambi Judai’. Irony rules my life.

Relief, pain and fear.

It was not pleasant, but if I had to go through it again, I would. Coz what I felt in that parking lot was worth it all for the anxiety, uncertainty and risk of 4 weeks. Despite the discomfort, the test proved that I was not going anywhere, I still had time on this earth to do what I want and can. Life is certainly a gift.

If we could help give that certainty and assurance to one other woman, a mom, a daughter, another human being, and all it takes is a click you would, wouldn’t you? Please click on the link below and do the needful.

A favor to ask, it only takes a minute….

Please tell ten friends to tell ten today! The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on their site daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman. It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on “donating a mammogram” for free (pink window in the middle).
This doesn’t cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate mammogram in exchange for advertising.Here’s the web site! Pass it along to people you know.

http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

I don’t check stats [more on that later] but wordpress has this handy little feature that shows the links that a visitor has clicked on from your page and keeps a count of it. Hope to see this link reach a nice number. Thanks.  :)

Update 5.35 pm: 

I have 9 comments, 44 views of this post, 201 hits to the blog, yet only 9 clicks to the breastcancersite! Cmon lurkers!

Update 9.04 am est on oct 4th:

Yesterday was 9 clicks and Today [WP starts the day at 8pm est for me, GMT and all that] it is up to 11. Grand total of 20 mammograms given out!  THANK YOU!

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47 thoughts on “you can click can’t you?

  1. How incredibly strong of you to bear that! Honestly I’m in awe (of you) :) and relief (for you) that you’re okay.. Yes, it’s the experiences like these that show the person you are… the strongest woman I know was my grandma, who battled ovarian cancer like it was nothing..
    Prayers that this doesn’t repeat (I’ve seen mammo units in my mom’s hospi and they look like they’ve come out of the Top 100 Chinese Torture Tricks) and best wishes to you and your family!

  2. All – Thanks. It was difficult, but it’s over now and hopfeully it stays behind me.
    Appreciate your concern. Thank you again :)

    TAAmom – Yes, it will be done yearly now, though sadly, I can’t seem to master the self-exam. :(
    Good luck with yours. Just to be clear, I may be a bit more sensitive than normal due to a chickenpox/shingle attack a few years ago. My nerves are apparently inflamed.

  3. I just finished lunch with a colleague 10 minutes ago. He got a call from his wife – she had gone to get an xray for what she thought were gallstones. They found gallstones alright, but also what looks like some kind of growth on her liver. They are going in for a CT-Scan tomorrow. Hope their story turns out the same way as yours.

    BPSK

  4. CM – Thank you :)

    BPSK – Hope it does. The uncertainty is what is hard to go through.

    terri – Some women seem unfazed. It’s your threshold of pain that matters. I am on the lower end these days.. have a feeling they messed with my mind and hormones while at the hospital during munchkin. :|

  5. First of all, I am glad things ended well. I can imagine the sheer (painful) joy in the parking lot.

    I have to admit that I am nowhere close to being as ‘cool’ as you or your husband. I was nervous and praying for a happy ending right after reading two lines of the post.

    Life is bizarre, I know you from past few months and that too only through the blog. I feel so damn relieved and happy reading this post.

    More than anything, this is such an inspirational piece, a guide to face the life. Thank you for the wonderful post.

  6. *shock*

    That would have been terrifying….and I can imagine the relief afterwards. *hug* for that. I have joined the cause on FB and here in Aus as breast cancer is one of the biggest killers of women – October goes pink :D anything that is pink will have some proceeds donated to the breast cancer foundation. so I have a lot of pink this month :D

    Glad it turned out well :)

  7. Wow. That scared me. I’m so glad you are all right. Take care girl.
    You are one brave lady. Hope you never have to go through this again.
    P.S: Am going to go tell the women I know to get their check ups done.

  8. vOly aavu.. saduvutunnanta sEpu full bhauran bhauran aina.. naakE full tenchan lEshindi.. iga mee sangati.. vaammo.. mee dhairyaaniki ongi ongi salaam koTTaale.. climax sadivinaanka ek dam relief.. and much happiness :D

    mIrEm fikar padoddu, rendu lorry la ninDa janaaltOti aa linku clickipincE jimma naadi..

    deitaDi pOshamma guDi..

  9. Mav – as long as I can throw the spiders off :D
    ..and you get brownie points for clicking twice! Thank you! :)

    deitaDi – rofl! Had a hearty laugh [Telengana totally tickles my fancy!] when I read it early this morning. Thank you for making my day, for your lovely comment, for posting my link at kaburlu, and channeling a bunch of hits. Thanks again! :)
    avunu, mee nick ki ardham enti? Sorry, naaku RTS rayadam raadu. Vostundemo, try cheyyadam kashtam :)

    nandita – yes, please do. being aware and vigilant is half the battle won.

    Silvara – Thanks *hug*
    lol, am glad pink is associated with less frivolous ideas! :D I just saw a pair of pink wedges yesterday. They were this bubblegum shocking pink. *shudder*

    Prestid – Na, am okay. The whole point of the post was for awareness, didn’t realize it would create such an effect. But thank you! :)

    DS – Touched. Thank you :)
    You never know how you’d react in a particular situation unless you are thrown into it. Prep can only take you so far. Am sure most women when faced with such problems rise above it and handle it the best way possible.
    Thanks once again. Appreciate it. :)

  10. It sure is scary, na. Its one thing to fall sick because of negligence and unhealthy habits, its a whole new deal to get it, ‘just like that’ without any reason.

    I did click! :–)

  11. rads:

    a co-worker came to our office room a couple of days ago and told us that he has been informed by his doctor(s) that he has two months or so to live. what’s unacceptable is that he has had tests done on him every so often since the beginning of this year when he was 220 lbs (he is now about 160). that is sad. i had not much to say to him. i am not too good in such situations.

    glad that your scare turned out to be just that – a scare.

    fyi and fwiw, i clicked once yesterday and once this morning. don’t know how accurate those counts are, and what exactly they measure.

    – s.b.

  12. Girls – all’s well and thank you for the concern and of course clicking! :)

    sb – sshhh, can’t I just live in my own little data-dream? Putting in all kinds of doubts into my blissful head indeed! :P

  13. you are brave.. you were constant all throughout without any absence here.. none (atleast I) would have an idea what you were going through. kudos! and clicked my part..

  14. this is prolly outta topic, but is there a shorter way to check your blog :p rather than click on “rads” then “chronicles…” and then click again to get here?
    (my apologies for being the lazy brat hehe)

  15. jarrantananna navvvu teppincinanduku dilkhush aindi :D

    naak camkaaincindi, ceyyagalgindi cEsna antE :D

    meerinkO teeru anukonanTe okka muccaTa cepta.. meeku navvu telangana yaasa innandukochindaa leka nEnu maaTlaaDina (raasina) teeru cUsi(sadivi) occinda :D

    (nEn “jai telangaana” type assalkE kaadu baanchan)

    nickname ki artam antE.. adi pakkA hyderaabaadi padam.. Can be loosely tranlated to “dil se”, “wholeheartedly”, “without holding anything back”.. pliss to check at about the 3:15 & 4:13 mark of this video for a kilear demonstration of the usage – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXsOzuYTGsc

    RTS hmm.. nEn maaTlaaDE(raasE) yaasa effect karekt ga telvaalnanTe idE beshTani decide chEshna :D

    side kochen – mIku telgu sinmaala picci entundi? nEn koTTina dialog lalla renDu mooDu sinma reference lu unnai.. dorkabaTTurri cUddaam :D

  16. cyd – lol.

    Bala – thank you :)

    Jan – lol@q. If it’s any consolation, you aren’nt the 1st asking me that.
    Do you use a reader? If not, just simple book mark could help perhaps. If you want to click from my comment on your blog, then sadly you might have to do 2 extra clicks. Coz though I do put in this blog’s url, it isn’t clickable right?

    Pavan – Thanks for clicking. Well, life goes on, and I wanted things to be normal. Just as well cross the bridge when it comes down to it, and thankfully, I didnt have to. So cool! :)

  17. deitaDi – Nenu Warangal lo puttanu, but there ends my telengana connection. :)

    meerinkO teeru anukonanTe okka muccaTa cepta.. meeku navvu telangana yaasa innandukochindaa leka nEnu maaTlaaDina (raasina) teeru cUsi(sadivi) occinda

    Akkada difference kooda unnadenti? :O
    Rendu okatega, leka nenu totalga pappu lo kaalu vesana? :D

    So meeru Hydi kaada? hmm.. ento ardham kaledukani, who cares! complete entertainment avutondi naaku. Thats all that matters ;)

    Lol@sye video. I like that movie, and I completely agree on ‘dil se’ :) That’s really the only way to live life anyways!

    dorkabaTTurri cUddaam

    Antey? Find out what movies you referred?
    Hmm.. Teleydu. :(
    Cinemalu choostanu, ayina ila pop quizlu pedtey matram tappakunda fail avutanu :|

  18. @cydonian

    tammi baalkishan.. kichDi chEshnav ustaad.. “bhale” doesnt jive with the rest of the sentence.. the ending reminds me of kOTa though, from this clip – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdu3TnvbISg

    @rads
    harre.. Warangal aa.. “Mulugu” anTe emanna bulb lu elgutunnayaa? maa baapammOlla (naanamma) ooradi :D

    asonTi isonTi pappu kaadu bhai.. ek dam mudda pappu la.. but the context of this blogpost might not be appropriate for that discussion.. can I take this offline with you? :D

    Hyd kaadaaa.. hyd kaaadaaaaaaaaa.. enta maaTa annaru mohtharma.. I hurted.. I want to talk to Nellore Pedda right now (check this out, at around 1:15 mark, to find out who the aforementioned personality is – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N9GR-axMaU )

    true blue hyderabadi.. puTTindi, perigindi, sadivindi, tirigindi, cUsindi anta akkadnE.. kintu parantu, “jai telangaana” type dED dimaag, kODi dimaag khayalaa nai hai bolke bolrau :D

    regrading complete entertainment.. phiree entertainment aipoindi bhai.. ippati sandi comment raayanIke fees vasool cheyyaale, tappadu :D

    sye.. sinma naaku bakwaas anpincindi gani..nalla taacu kanTe danger candidate nalla baalu ki big time fan aipoina :D

    dialog lu baTTi koTTakunDa em chEstaru bhai sinmaal choosETappuDu :P

    “rendy lorry la janaalu” was a reference from this clip – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WB0z4T28iHk, at 5:35

    “decide chEshna” is a reference from this clip – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–iwvYHw9Gk

    yes, karekt guess chEshinru.. konchem thEDa life la :D

  19. Rads, Am glad you are okay. My mom lost two of her friends to this monster and I can imagine what a relief it should have been for you :)

  20. I could really to all the emotions – have done it three times before and have to keep doing it as long as I live because I have benign fibroids in my breast and we lost both our parents to cancer.
    I am so glad to see how beautifully you handled it.

  21. I don’t think I’ve ever cried reading a blog post :| In any case, I love the link, I love the fact that someone wants to create awareness. It’s a sick thing, this.
    My research solely revolves around breast cancer. Sigh. Much love Rads.

  22. Schmetterling – aw, you sweet girl. *hugs
    On a serious note, is any work being done on just the process of testing at all? I mean, we get 3d images of babies within, am sure they can get a roving robot or some such arm to go all around the chest and get a picture right?

    Usha – Thank you. Can’t escape family history :)

    Recent TIME has a huge report on Breast Cancer -October being awareness month. US leads in the number. I think it’s coz it’s identified here more than the rest of the world. India is 10th or so..

    Dushti – Yeah, I know the feeling. My mum too.

  23. there sadly isn’t much they do by ways of diagnosis, because there are more serious illnenesses that go undiagnosed..like alzheimer’s. breast cancer they still believe is very treatable, which is why they recommend the mammograms and regular breast screenings and self exams every six months beyond a certain age. i work mostly on treating breast cancer, but a friend of mine works on ultrasound applications (much like the ones used in sonograms for babies) applied to breast cancer. not too much by way of real progress. it’s way more complex than it appears. it’s not just a simple blob of fat and the complexities associated with it are mind numbing. if i haven’t said enough, i’ll email you some stuff that you might find interesting once i dig them out from my comp.

  24. I normally don’t post here but I compelled to because I can relate to exactly what you went through and believe me, a few moments of tests to rule out the possibility is a lot better than to contract the disease. I had an aunt who (back in those days when breast cancer awareness wasn’t so good) thought the lumps in her breasts were no big deal, let it metastasize (sp?) so badly that they had to cut them off. The crazy thing is she also had Type 1 diabetes at that time. A combination of chemo, radio and diabetic medications snuffed the life out of her (literally) in one year.

    Everyone in my family were morose for almost one year subsequently after her death simply because this was a “solvable” problem but we didn’t because we just did not have any awareness at that time.

    Its an experience I never want to go through again.

  25. lekhni: Yep! One aunt of mine used to tell us whenever we cribbed about soemthing useless or petty “Please take a walk in the pediatric or the ICU unit of the local hospital. Life will suddenly seem so much more happier and full of life!”

    Does make us want to count our blessings rt? :)

    Dilip: Yes. Thanks for sharing :)

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  30. OMG!OMG!I least expected to read one such as this, and also comment. But I am sorry, I only wish you didn’t have had to go thru this{no one shud}. anyway, lil munchkins, en the boy en the girl need you. Thank God, and continue having a blessful…

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