Day 1: Disbelief

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Until 2016, I went into every mammogram just knowing that it would be clear, and I could go on with my daily life as usual. In November 2015, a different story emerged that would change my life forever. I received my first indication of possible breast cancer.

My first reaction to the possibility of breast cancer was disbelief. I thought, Oh, they see something, but it will turn out to be nothing when I come back for further testing. A blip on the radar. A benign tumor. During the sonogram, the doctor had a look on her face that said I was in trouble. She explained that she saw a small tumor, and it had calcifications. I knew from my son’s previous diagnosis of thyroid cancer that his tumor had calcifications. I required a biopsy.

After my biopsy, a nurse lead my husband and I into the head nurse’s office. We were quietly ushered in. I knew what was coming, yet I couldn’t get my head around it. How could this happen to me? None of my direct line of family had breast cancer, only one aunt who developed it in her 90s. I told myself, This has to be a mistake. I was in total disbelief.

Many women experience disbelief in their diagnosis. I’ve talked to other women with cancer. I’ve read about it online and in books. I experienced it myself. It comes from believing certain things about yourself and not wanting to accept this new reality.How do you combat disbelief? As long as you continue to seek medical help, you don’t have a choice. You move forward with the appointments, information, and treatment options. Disbelief is overcome by the facts that are presented to you. Know that it’s normal to feel this way and allow yourself to work through it. Look for support in family, friends, and medical professionals.Whether you believe it or not, a positive diagnosis means that the breast cancer is in your body. Get a second opinion if you can’t shake the feeling of disbelief. For many of us, it settles into tomorrow’s frightening emotion: shock.

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