It’s not my first rodeo

September 1999. It’s the week after Labor Day. Steve and I are getting ready to leave for a week long stay on a houseboat on Trinity Lake outside Weaverville, California. I am in the shower when I notice “the lump.” Right breast. I just had a mammogram in June so it must be a cyst.

I go to my doctor soon after we get home from vacation. She orders a sonogram since I just had a mammogram. The rest, as they say, is history. Sonogram is abnormal. Not a cyst. Surgery to remove and biopsy the lump. The diagnosis. Cancer. Sh*t.

Second opinion at UCSF Breast Care Center. Diagnosis confirmed. Sentinel node biopsy. Lumpectomy. General oncologist. Radiation oncologist. Radiation. Chemotherapy. I am only 47 years old.

It is the little bits of things that fret and worry us; we can dodge a elephant, but we can’t dodge a fly. —Josh Billings

September 2018. It’s a beautiful autumn afternoon. I’m working outside. Haul four wheelbarrow’s full of clippings, weeds, debris to the burn pile. It’s warm and I get over-heated. It seems out of character and makes me go, “hmmmmm.” The next day I feel like I pulled a muscle in my right upper arm. It’s swollen and there is a lump.