2020 has certainly been a crazy year full of new ideas of what “normal” is for everyone. People’s lives have changed forevermore due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including mine. But my life will never be the same for a different reason. It all started almost 1 year ago, before the entire world knew Wuhan, China and we all started wearing masks and washing our hands religiously.
It was the end of October when I decided to move a fake succulent plant right before bed. It was a bit heavy and awkward, and it stabbed my nipple. I screamed because it hurt, but I really didn’t think much about it, and even laughed a bit considering the circumstances. Over the next week, a lump developed. Considering the location, I knew I shouldn’t ignore it, but I never want to go to the doctor. My medical life has been complicated for many reasons, but that’s another story. My doctor indicated I needed an ultrasound, and I immediately made an appointment at RAI’s Lawrenceville office. They were courteous, professional, and caring, just like they always are at RAI. My appointment was quick and effortless, and I didn’t really think much of it. Everyone believed my injury to be a hematoma given the circumstances, but the folks at RAI did recommend I come back if it did not resolve itself and heal within the next few weeks. Fast forward to the new year, COVID-19 was all over the news, and the bump on my nipple had not gone away.
I contacted my doctor and she indicated I would need additional imaging. Back to RAI for a follow up ultrasound, and then with no improvement shown, my first ever mammogram. RAI was fantastic, as usual. They got me in quickly for all my appointments, and they were very cautious given the current world climate and were following all the COVID-19 protocols and beyond. They made the experience as pleasant and easy as it could be… something extremely important to me as I don’t like to focus on myself and I am a mom of two boys with a full-time job.
After the many additional tests, I received the call from my primary doctor telling me I had breast cancer in two different locations in my right breast. I was stunned! She explained that this was not something I could wait on despite the pandemic, and that I needed to speak with surgeons ASAP. Luckily, again due to COVID, I was able to have my Bilateral Mastectomy just a week after being diagnosed. The speed from diagnosis to surgery was unprecedented! This was the silver lining of the global pandemic for me. I was certainly scared, confused, and quite honestly in a bit of a daze, but had limited time to dwell on the issue, and leaned heavily on my support system. I am extremely thankful for all of the support and help I received from my family and friends.
I have since been through a couple surgeries, numerous doctor’s appointments, and countless tissues. However, I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world. If it weren’t for a freak accident with a fake houseplant, the quick actions and concerns from the folks at RAI, my sister-in-law working to get me connected to my great doctors, and even the global COVID-19 pandemic, I would not have been able to get through this forever life-changing ordeal of breast cancer as quickly, effectively, and successfully as I have. My “new normal,” not even a year after this all began, has made me appreciate just what I have and who I have to share it with. I have seen the true spirit of the people around me and I will be eternally grateful!