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This summer was full of excitement and thrill, traveling the world and competing on the highest stages in our sport. Competing for the United States at the Pan American Games team and finishing my race within .5 of a second in a two hour race from first place, traveling to Solvenia for a training camp in the beautiful Lake Bled, and finally on to World Championships where I was part of the 2015 World Champion Open Water Team a feat that had not been accomplished for America since 1992 was a whirl wind of adventures. To finish off the summer on a delayed honeymoon with my husband, the first true vacation the two of us had been on in seven years. I was on cloud nine, thinking what could be better!
I posted recently on social media about the past month and the struggles I had to go through after an exciting and amazing summer. Two weeks after returning from our honeymoon there I was sitting in the waiting room at the University of Michigan Hospital waiting to meet with the surgeon. Sitting in the waiting room at the hospital as a patient can be an anxiety producing moment, so many thoughts and questions rushing through your head. Trying to understand what is going on and why you are in the position you are in. I understand these emotions, fears, and anxieties. I had found two breast lumps back in March. I emphasize the fact that I found them, I did not wait until a check up, I was proactive and have always been proactive in breast health, even though breast cancer does not run in my family and I am only in my 20’s. Early detection can be the difference in the treatment and severity. One of the lumps was biopsied back in March and the results came back benign, it was such a sense of relief. After our honeymoon it was time to recheck those two lumps, as they had been biopsied not removed in March. I come to find out the one had doubled in size and changed, not only was the one significantly different but also there were two more, I now had four lumps in my right breast. My thoughts immediately went to the worse possible outcome, to which Michael my husband told me to not put the cart before the horse. He kept me grounded during the whole situation. However, it is hard for your mind not to race there, to not wonder, question and play the what if game.
After meeting with the surgeon and discussing options we came to the understanding that they needed to be removed. Due to how large the one was there was no good way to get an accurate biopsy and two of the others could not be felt so there for the radiologist and surgeon did not have a good idea as to what they were. On September 15, I had surgery to have three of the four lumps removed, one they were not concerned about. The recovery has been slow and I am anxious to get back to working out but it is a process. The hardest part were the days after surgery and waiting for the results, the unknown, everyone had told me no matter what they were caught early and everything would be ok. Thankfully everything was ok, when the surgeon called and told me everything was benign there was just a sense of relief and joy that over came me. While I am still waiting to get back to training sharing the message of being proactive in your health has become a mission of mine. I share my story with hopes to help someone get the help they need sooner rather than waiting for your next dr appointment.