Advocating for your Body’s Needs

Six weeks ago, I felt a large mass in my right breast!

Leslie Nance, The Cancer Coach, at doctors for ultrasound

I was getting dressed to go dancing with Robin, and I was in shock that there would be anything in my breast much less this quarter size mass. I panicked and had Robin feel it; he said, “yep, there is something there, we’ll go see the doctor on Monday and figure it out”. No doubt, my mind went wild with what this lump could be.  The primary cancer was in my left breast and was small when I found it in 2012.  This lump was on my right side and felt HUGE!  

On Monday I went to see my Doctor.  

I had calmed down by then knowing how much I trust my body and how hard I work to keep cancer far away.

I also knew if it was cancer that I knew how to fight and get it out! I teach my clients how to remain calm, I needed a dose of my own work! Ha!  

My doctor even commented that was the most relaxed woman she had ever met with a palpable lump that size.  Seriously, it was the size of a quarter!  

She ordered diagnostic scans of my breast.  I knew a mammogram was not something I wanted, so I declined. You might be asking why… dense breast tissue – my breasts are SO dense that even the 3D mamo’s see nothing.  I wanted the Ultrasound upfront, and if they find something that needed further investigation, I would discuss a breast MRI.  

Because I’ve had a history of cysts in my right breast, I told my doctor that I wanted to wait until my period was over.  My period was due to start in a week and I wanted to see if there was any change.  She was not crazy about that idea, she had more fear than I did, but I know my body really well.  Although I will admit, I had never had a cyst, I could feel like this one.  

My period came and the day it started, I could no longer feel the mass. It was gone!

I suspected that would happen.  Whew!  It was good to be in so much control and truly understand my body and what is normal for me!  

Met with my doctor again, she confirmed that the mass was gone.  She still wanted me to have medical imaging done to be sure.  I usually don’t have scans until the end of November, so I agreed to move them up to October. 

This is where the story gets good! 

I had a bit of scanxiety (fear of scans for cancer) a few days before my appointment.  My anxiety was not for fear of finding cancer, but from the fear of wrestling with the doctors at the radiology department.  I knew I would get the once over for not having a mammogram with my history of breast cancer.

I had to be the CEO, Cancer Boss deluxe!  I don’t enjoy confrontation, so that was not something I was excited about!  I was very vocal with my Doctor that I WAS NOT HAVING A MAMMO, she said she would order it that way, but I might have trouble at the actual appointment.  

Boy, did I! 

Part of being a Cancer Boss is knowing what is right for you!  

Listening to your doctors, but knowing what you and your body needs.  The other part is being able to stand up and be vocal about those needs.  I teach all my clients this, and I practice it myself! 

It is the day of the appointment, and I am calmer than I have ever been leading up to a cancer scan. The nurse comes through the door with a smile, “Leslie Nance?” That’s me!  

We go through the doors, and she’s holding the infamous pink gown under her arm.  She walks me into a room, and there is a fancy mammogram machine.  I knew it!  I say calmly, “I think there is a mistake I am not here for a mammogram, I am here for an ultrasound.”  She replies, “Oh, we will do the ultrasound after the mammogram.”  

Here we go, Cancer Boss to the rescue.  I decline very nicely.  She says you’ll have to talk to the Doctor.  “Sit right here.” (next to the robot boob squisher). Off she went.  

The radiologist came back into the room.  I explained to her all the reasons I was not going to do the mammogram; dense tissue, never saw my first cancer, radiation to a breast that has already had loads, pain, false positives, on and on.  Keep in mind, I am not even throwing all my knowledge around that I have as a professional cancer coach.  I never even mentioned it.  

She said in her parting phrase (let me try to scare you into it) “If you were my mom, sister, or a friend I would feel very nervous that you’re not doing all the scans as it’s likely there could be cancer in your right breast with your history in the left!”

I wanted to scream…but instead, I calmly said: “I understand all the so-called risk you are talking about, and IF you find something suspicious in my ultrasound scans, we can talk again.”  She said, “ok, I am making a note in your chart.” Like I was in trouble or something. LOL!  

I know she is just doing her job, and I have respect for that.  I do, but the Cancer Boss says it’s my body and not yours, and I trust it even if you don’t!  I mean, how could she?  She just knows what she knows, and I understand.  

So, I was moved to the ultrasound room.

I dawn the pink gown, and away we go.  The warm gooey gel is so familiar. She started on the right breast and the first words out of her mouth, “Wow, your breast is SO dense, you are right even with 3D imaging, we could not have seen anything worthwhile!”  I KNOW!  

She moved slowly and thoroughly over my right breast taking loads of pictures.  I won’t lie; it made me a bit nervous.  This is not my first rodeo with these things.  She moved to my left, confirmed where my lumpectomy had been and complimented me on how well I had healed and how little scar tissue I had.  She took a good look at a few pictures and done.  She was so sweet and helped me feel at ease.  “The radiologist will be right back with your results.”

Literally, in 3 minutes, the radiologist was back with the tech.  She said, “your breasts are incredibly dense, we saw a few cysts in the right breast (they always do) and the one that had filled but has shrunk again. If they are not bothering you are painful, they are harmless.”  

Ding dong, thank you very much!

went on to tell me about a new type of ultrasound that is new and is called Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound. She said,  “That is what I would recommend for your future scans, and if something were ever suspicious, then a breast MRI.  A mammogram is probably not going to be much help for you and your type of breast tissue.”

Seven-year cancer free!  

As I left and saw all the women waiting for scans, I could not help but think how many of them needed to be the Boss of their health and maybe even their cancer.  

My heart sank, and I thought about how many never know to stand up for themselves in the situations.  It is not about being a bitch to your doctors or a know it all, it’s about KNOWING what is right for you and what you want from these experiences.  

I knew I did not want to be exposed to radiation if I could help it.  I knew it would be a useless test from past experience.  Each of us is unique, and we deserve to be treated that way.  I really disrupted the apple cart standard of care today.  I didn’t care.  I know what I needed and wanted for my health.  I was right!   I did the same thing 7 years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer. 

I teach each of my clients to be the ultimate #CancerBoss.  Not to be bossy, but to know what you need to heal!  Life is to precious to be anything other than the CEO of your health! 

How are your #CancerBoss skills?

Be a

Learn the 5 Steps My Clients Take To:

Recover Faster Between Treatments,
Regain Their Strength After Surgery
 and Become Healthier Well into Remission…
 (Without All The Crazy Diets and Detoxes!)

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