Saturday, February 13, 2010

How did this all start?

Many have been curious about how the cancer was discovered and what process landed us in our current situation. I was actually the one to notice the lump in my breast and to my shock and fear, I did not tell anyone, as we were finishing up final plans for a family trip to Disneyland. I had made the conscious decision to wait until after the trip, that was in July of 2009.

I did indeed get in to see Dr. Bitner when I got home, still not telling any of my loved ones because the thought of the possible reality was far too scary (some of you may not be aware that my grandma Nelson died of breast cancer in 1992 and my aunt Jeannie had stage 3 and a mastectomy). I was shaking in my boots when I asked the doctor if he felt a lump. He said, “No.” My mind reeled back and I began to doubt myself and wondered if I had made the whole thing up. He looked over my chart and decided to get me in for a routine Mammogram.

I went in for the Mammogram and the results all came back normal. “I was making it up!” I thought to myself and was partially relieved. That sense of relief did not stay however. I felt uneasy on the inside; just not right! So, one night, I asked Justin if he could feel the lump. He rose up and said, “What is that!” I retorted back, “You felt it?” He was very concerned and made me promise to go back, though I told him that it was the same lump that had been ruled out. The next day, I was helping my mom with Christmas decorations and she felt it over my clothing…she made me call immediately and before the afternoon was done, I was in Dr. Bitner’s office having a non-breast specific ultrasound. It was determined at that meeting that the lump (which was now palpable) was not believed to be fluid filled and I was sent on to the surgeon.

The surgeon, Dr. Morrell, was not overly concerned because the lump had several benign characteristics (it was hard, moveable, well defined, circular edges, etc.), but it could not be determined if it was a fluid filled or solid, so I was sent back in for another mammogram and a breast specific ultrasound.

In steps Dr. Tamayo, and with a wonderful mix of compassion and charisma, found the lump on the ultrasound and let us know that if he were a betting man, he would bet that it was a fibro adenoma, “but”, he said, “I am not a betting man so we are going to do a biopsy." The biopsy happened on the 22nd of December, and interestingly enough, Justin and I both watched the procedure and we were as certain as Dr. Tamayo that he had harvested tissue right from the center of the lump.

In only the way that Dr. Tamayo can, he had made sure that I had the results of the biopsy before Christmas, because he “didn’t want me to worry about this thing!” We were all feeling quite confident that if this biopsy came back a fibro adenoma we would have arrived at the end of our journey and would move on with our lives.

Well Christmas Eve came and Justin and I went in for the results and indeed the first thing out of Dr. Tamayo’s mouth was, “It’s benign!” I took a big sigh of relief and then he looked perplexed, “and, shockingly, it was not a fibro adenoma!” I just looked at him and asked him what it was. He said, “We don’t know, but it’s benign! If you were my wife I would leave it alone and monitor it every 6 months for the next two years. If it doesn’t change in that time it’s just fine!”

This was not the closure that we were hoping for and the uneasiness continued on the inside, which shadowed Justin’s unwavering position from the beginning, “Let’s have it removed!” We met again with Dr. Morrell and the three of us decided to have the lump removed. The surgery was scheduled on the 26th of January.

The 26th arrived and I just knew that we were finally done, we had come to the end of our journey and we would be able to move on…Well at this point I think you all know the rest of the story that came with the fateful call on 3:11pm on January 29th 2010.

The lesson I have learned is to listen very carefully and know and understand how you personally receive answers from God. How do you personally know when you are done, whether with health concerns, personal problems and challenges, or heading in the right direction? How does he speak to you? And, are you listening?

Eternally grateful,



  1. Well I am so glad to hear (read) you are the same old Becky. When Angie called me, I felt an overwhelming sense of breaking out my hairbrush and standing on the make-shift stage only to bust into a concert and sing the blues away. (It made it so much easier to get through anything with a concert!) Oh and maybe a little pudding pie. The love that you have for the Savior radiates in your writings. I can't tell you the peace I have had to search for and find over the last few months. The only way I could handle it was with the relationship I have with him. I too am praying for you and your sweet family. There are more prayers and thoughts for you than you could probably ever imagine. Keep the updates going! It is my only way to know what to pray for next.

  2. Hi Becky! This is Tammy Mills from High School. I have been so worried about you since I heard the news on facebook. I just wanted you to know that I was thinking of you and will be praying for you and your family. I loved reading your blog...It was so insightful and really strengthened my testimony. I hope to talk to you more soon, and I only wish the best for you.