How I Found Out I Had Cancer

“Did you notice this lump when I walked in?” All the blood had drained from my face as I interrogated my family about what they noticed about me when I walked in the door. My Uncle David and Aunt Julie hadn’t notice anything. “Maybe it’s a spider bite?” someone suggested. I turned and went back to the bathroom to examine it some more. There it was, as big as could be, a lump. It was about the size of an egg under my skin, above my clavicle, on my left side. It didn’t look like a spider bite, but what else could it be and how did I not notice this before?

“Does this hurt? How about this?” The doctor at Urgent Care examined my new-found lump for an especially long time, repeatedly asking the same two questions. I have always been a healthy specimen, so with pride I would answer no to each and every time he asked if my lump hurt. This is apparently where our opinions on the severity of this lump diverged. I thought, “Yup, that’s right… I know, I’m strong. It doesn’t hurt.” His thoughts, as I have imagined them, were probably close to this, “Hmm, that should hurt. Are you sure it doesn’t hurt? Please hurt. Oh no.” We were definitely not on the same page during that moment in time. When he finished examining my new lump and I finished examining his unhappy face, I said, “That’s good right?” He replied, “It’s not always good when it doesn’t hurt.”

At twenty-five years old, my life was about to change forever.

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