#MyLeftBoob – How #DIY Hair Dye Saved My Life

carrie

“Ode to Carrie”  As you may have already guessed, I am not a natural redhead. It takes 4 rubber gloves, 45 minutes, 4 hair clips, a shower cap and 2 bottles of Vampire Red Manic Panic hair dye to get the desired results.

But now, more than ever I am so glad that I am a do-it-yourselfer. So what does DIY hair dye have to do with breast cancer? A LOT. I used to go get my hair done at the salon like many women do but since last fall I have not been able to go due to the expense. So I followed my Mom’s lead and decided to do it myself. Except, instead of Clairol, I used Manic Panic that I get from Hot Topic at the mall….because clearly I am a teenager on the inside, and it is only about $12 bucks.

A few Thursdays ago I was dying my hair Vampire Red, as I do every 6 weeks or so, when I dropped a glob of it on my left boob….. ’cause I’m a clutz. When I went to wipe it off I felt “it.” A lump. THE lump.  I told my husband who said, “Oh, it’s probably nothing,” and I tried to talk myself out of it. My family has no history of cancer. I just got a breast exam 11 months ago and everything was fine. Maybe it’s just hormonal changes…I just turned 45. But I couldn’t shake the worry and tossed and turned in bed that night for hours.

The next morning I called my doctor who brought me in to the office within a few hours of making the call. I was hoping when I got there he was going to say “it’s nothing,” or “it’s just a cyst.” But that was not the case.

He sent me  to the receptionist area to make an appointment for an ultrasound and mammogram. I could barely get the words out of my mouth to tell her what I needed, trying to choke back tears. The credit card machine was broken. The other woman didn’t know how to access my records to send to the next doctor. The radiology place doesn’t make Saturday appointments. This was not starting out good. More tears.

I had to wait until Monday for my appointment. There was a snowstorm. I got to the office and found they didn’t have my records so now I might have to wait some more. Some lady was coughing all over the place while we sat there in our matching pink gowns watching the Weather Channel. The nurse finally came in and rescued me from the germ-infested waiting room. She did the mammogram, squeezing my boobs from the top to the bottom and gripping them in a clear vice-like contraption on the sides.

Next was the ultra sound. The originally chatty nurse suddenly became silent when she saw a dark black spot on the screen showing my left breast. It looked like a misshaped egg with a tail on it. I asked her if that was “it.” She tried to sound optimistic when she said, “I can’t say for sure, the doctor has to tell you that. But if it was just a cyst I would tell you.” Greeeaaat.

The radiologist came in and confirmed that this dark spot would need a biopsy. Unfortunately I was going to have to wait five more days since I had Advil in my system for my tooth pain. Apparently if I have Advil in my system it can cause bleeding and/or hemorrhaging during the biopsy. The next available appointment was the following Monday.

Was this all really happening? How will I get through another week of worrying? Another week of not knowing for sure?

“It’s a good thing you came in when you did. Your last mammogram looked clear,”the doctor said. I tried to let the words sink in before he continued, “This grew really fast.”

We set up the appointment for next week and my husband and I decided not to tell the kids yet. Maybe it was a calcium deposit. Maybe it was nothing. Maybe….. and so we waited some more. I tried to focuson the doctor’s positive words.

 

Had I not dropped the glob of hair dye in my boob I would not have felt the lump. I probably would have pushed off my mammogram because the end of February in my son’s birthday, March is filled with Irish dance, Irish ball, St. Patrick’s Day and a children’s play. I may have even pushed it off until June or July. But thankfully I was a clutz and trusted my gut to call the doctor.

More to come tomorrow.

So how much do you love and support me? Enough to get #MyLeftBoob trending on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? Everyone who wants to help me in this battle, guy or girl, and raise awareness for the importance of self breast exams should do this:

1. Take a selfie with your left boob prominently displayed (clothed!)

2. Use the hash tag #MyLeftBoob & tag me @wendipoprockct

3. Invite your friends to do the same!

 

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DrDEG
    Feb 09, 2015 @ 12:50:30

    So sorry that you had to get this news that we all dread. I am a little over 2 years out from diagnosis (yes, Left boob!). After a while, your brain will stop screaming CANCER every second of every day. You seem strong, with supportive family and friends. You will fight this! Sounds like your treatment is unclear so far, but try to stay positive and be glad you found this early. Even though you want to get treatment started yesterday, make sure you get full information from your doctors! Best to you on this journey.

    Reply

    • wendipoprockct
      Feb 09, 2015 @ 19:25:37

      Thanks DrDEG! Glad to hear you made it through. I do have an amazing support system and I will pull through as well, even stronger!

      Reply

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