home
RSS
Breast cancer journey: A new lump
October 14th, 2010
09:09 AM ET

Breast cancer journey: A new lump

This week, Amanda Enayati shares the milestones of a life-altering journey that began the day she learned she had late-stage breast cancer more than three years ago.

A few weeks later, I went back to Stanford to get an ultrasound on the lump that my oncologist had found—now officially known as “eight inches from the left nipple at one o’clock.”

I arrived at 1:30 and waited about a half-hour until I was ushered into a tiny waiting area and told to go into a closet of a dressing room to change out of my shirt and bra, and into the hospital gown. I opened my mouth to protest the gown but decided to pick my battles. I stepped in and changed into a forlorn white cotton shirt-thing with a smattering of tiny pink and green flowers and a handful of bedraggled white strings hanging off of it. Does anyone truly know how to tie these things? And is it really necessary for them to be so hideous? I felt like the indignity of having to wait around like cattle only to go in to get your boob squished for the better part of an hour was bad enough without having to don a costume that makes you look like a refugee from Camp Fashion Faux-pas, Class of 1974.

I changed into the gown, scowled at my reflection in the mirror and walked back out. The waiting area, barely the size of a bathroom, was crammed with six or seven chairs with women sitting in all but one of them. I took the empty seat and pulled out my collection of 2008 O. Henry award-winning short stories. Except I couldn’t focus and so I began checking out the competition out of the corner of my eyes. Youngish—every last one—and this one woman, who was just straight up young, no “ish” about it. All of them there because someone somewhere felt something suspicious in their breasts. I thought to myself that this was all kinds of vile.

My natural-born instinct in any given circumstance is to start a conversation with one or more people. I don’t know how to keep my mouth shut. I know it’s genetic because my aunt from Holland—who seems in many ways like my older alter ego—is exactly the same way. But sometimes, like when people are stressed and tense, they may want to just be left alone with their thoughts. I like to think that I’m sensitive to this and so on the ride over I had expressly forbidden myself from saying a word to anyone in the waiting room.

A thought bubbled up. I opened my mouth to express it and then I thought: “Zip it!”

But it was so profound and maybe … “Zip it!”

And this one woman had a mighty interesting leather satchel … “Zip!” I commanded myself.

I bit down hard on my lower lip and tried to get back into the first short story by writer Ha Jin—something about an Asian composer and his Indian actress girlfriend and a parakeet. It seemed like I was reading the same paragraph over and over again. And then all of a sudden I was half a page down and I had no idea what just happened in the story. I gave up and shut the book.

I looked at my phone. I had been waiting an hour. It was now 2:30 and I would have to leave no later than 3:15 or 3:30 to go pick up my boy at his preschool.

The pace with which they were calling the women began to pick up. At one point, a dark-haired woman in a lab coat came out and separately asked two of the waiting women to step into the examination room so she could give them an “update on their scans.” As each woman got up to follow her into the room which was maybe 10 feet away, I felt my heart speeding up as I remembered the day I got that news by telephone.

I wondered what Lab Coat was telling each of these two women.

Were they going to go home back to their routines, to make dinner, watch TV and go to bed—this being just another medical test they took one day and then moved on with the rest of their lives?

Or would one of their lives be irrevocably changed as of this minute, this second, and never ever again be the way that it was. Would this moment be the instant of this woman’s rebirth as a person who was diagnosed with or faced or battled or survived or succumbed to cancer? Would this woman be mourned? Or would she be hailed as a hero, a survivor?

I couldn’t stand it anymore and so the next time Lab Coat came to get another person for her appointment, I complained that I had been waiting too long. She promised that I had not been forgotten. That I was next on the list. That she would go check to see what was happening.

Sure enough, a woman called out my name in less than five minutes. It was the radiology specialist who had seen me the last time—more than a year ago. Back then, she knewthat I had refused to take another mammogram and that insurance companies won’t pay for diagnostic ultrasounds. And so she stood there with that wand in hand and rooted around my breast for a long time, covering every last millimeter, to make sure there was nothing suspicious. Doing an illicit diagnostic ultrasound, a small act of rebellion—the insurance company be damned.

I loved this woman. And she clearly remembered me from a year ago.

We hugged like long-lost friends. We went into the darkened room. She asked me what I had been up to. I told her and then asked her the same question. She said she had started a course of study and was considering a new career in health and fitness. She was excited about it. I was happy for her. She was such a people person. You will be fantastic in whatever you do, I said, but why the career change?

She shrugged. “I’m tired of it. I’m tired of rooting around 10 to 12 hours a day looking for cancer. And finding it.”

I didn’t know what to say and so I just nodded. She went on:

“I can’t keep my emotions out of it and it’s breaking my heart. Every week I get emotionally invested in another person. So many of them so young. I had a 26-year old-on the table last week with her 11-month-old baby waiting for her at home. The mass was huge. It was obscene. And the lymph nodes, they looked messed up. I just couldn’t take it. I have to do something else. Something where I’m actually trying to lead people in a healthy direction. The opposite of this. You know?”

I nodded again. I felt myself going numb. It was too much, all this.

She ran the wand back and forth for a long time as we continued to chat. It was painful at times but I ignored the discomfort and focused on her and our conversation.

“Maybe there was something there when you saw your doctor. But not now. There’s nothing there. I can’t see a thing,” she said to me as she wiped down the wand with some sanitizer.

And I replied: “I didn’t think there would be.”

Amanda Enayati’s work has appeared in Salon, the Washington Post, Detroit News, and "Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora" (University of Arkansas Press). You can follow her on Twitter @AmandaEnayati or her daily blog, practicalmagicforbeginners.com.

Post by:
Filed under: Cancer

soundoff (740 Responses)
  1. tire store near me

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your website!

    http://go.e-frontier.co.jp/rd2.php?uri=http://bestservicenearme.com/

    June 12, 2021 at 18:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. korean food near me

    Excellent post! We will be linking to this particularly great post on our website. Keep up the great writing.

    http://ww17.youzee.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=nearmyspot.com/

    June 12, 2021 at 19:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. jimmy johns near me

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Many thanks, However I am having issues with your RSS. I donít know why I can't join it. Is there anybody else getting similar RSS problems? Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

    https://vi.paltalk.com/client/webapp/client/External.wmt?url=https://bjsnearme.com/

    June 13, 2021 at 00:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. apple picking near me

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this website. I am hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own website now 😉

    http://united1stfinancial.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.hootnholler.net

    June 13, 2021 at 00:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. craft stores near me

    Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful article. Thank you for supplying this information.

    http://tessa.linksmt.it/tr/web/sea-conditions/news/-/asset_publisher/T4fjRYgeC90y/content/innovation-and-forecast-a-transatlantic-collaboration-at-35th-america-s-cup?redirect=http://wholesalenearme.com

    June 13, 2021 at 02:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. indian restaurants near me

    Good site you have here.. Itís hard to find high quality writing like yours nowadays. I truly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    http://turbocreditkit.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.masternearme.com

    June 13, 2021 at 02:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. drive-thru testing near me

    Your style is so unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this web site.

    http://www.in2math.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=nearmyspot.com/

    June 13, 2021 at 03:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. christmas lights near me

    http://www.avoyacruises.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=bulknearme.com

    June 13, 2021 at 05:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. pnc near me

    http://waldrumsigns.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.bonus-books.com

    June 13, 2021 at 06:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. towing near me

    http://aviabk.ru/forum/away.php?s=http://masternearme.com

    June 13, 2021 at 08:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. five guys near me

    http://www.canopymusic.net/canopy/gbook/go.php?url=https://nearmyspot.com

    June 13, 2021 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. bob evans near me

    http://www.buddssaab.ca/wp-content/plugins/wp-js-external-link-info/redirect.php?blog=Budds20Oakville&url=https://bjsnearme.com

    June 13, 2021 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. propane gas near me

    Your style is very unique compared to other people I have read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I'll just bookmark this web site.

    http://phichart.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=masternearme.com

    June 13, 2021 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. trader joe's near me

    You should be a part of a contest for one of the greatest blogs on the net. I will highly recommend this site!

    http://77originals.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=masternearme.com

    June 13, 2021 at 14:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. mattress firm near me

    This is a great tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate informationÖ Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!

    https://neoromance.info/link/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=26&url=https://quotenearme.com/

    June 13, 2021 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. sam's club near me

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thanks, However I am having problems with your RSS. I donít know why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting similar RSS problems? Anybody who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    http://doctorbillwood.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=wholesalenearme.com

    June 13, 2021 at 17:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. social security office near me

    http://connectathon-results.ihe.net/open_is_url.php?url=http://www.wholisticcircle.com/

    June 13, 2021 at 19:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. breakfast near me

    https://www.partner.pccomponentes.com/servlet/effi.redir?id_compteur=13365084&url=https://ocrvfleetservices.com/

    June 13, 2021 at 21:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. pharmacy near me

    I blog often and I truly appreciate your information. This great article has truly peaked my interest. I will bookmark your site and keep checking for new information about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed too.

    http://feedroll.com/rssviewer/feed2js.php?src=http://www.internetmarketingwashington.com/

    June 14, 2021 at 00:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. chevy dealership near me

    Hi, I do think this is an excellent blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will come back yet again since i have saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.

    http://profil.uniag.sk/pracoviste/predmety.pl?id=56;zpet=https://postfallsfitness.com/;lang=sk

    June 14, 2021 at 01:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. italian restaurants near me

    https://www.aboutlincolncenter.org/component/dmms/handoff?back_url=https://www.internetmarketingwashington.com/

    June 14, 2021 at 06:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. restaurants near me open now

    That is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate infoÖ Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!

    http://shinobi.jp/etc/goto.html?http://www.quotenearme.com/

    June 14, 2021 at 08:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. whataburger near me

    https://www.southampton.ac.uk/~drn1e09/foaf/visualizer.php?url=http://forkliftrepairorangecounty.com/

    June 14, 2021 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. best chinese food near me

    http://schornsteinfeger-duesseldorf.de/redirect.php?url=https://hiddenapples.com/

    June 14, 2021 at 10:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. wings near me

    https://www.bitly.com/a/warning?hash=3nUs1YL&url=www.lacapillacantina.com/

    June 14, 2021 at 14:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. rv dealers near me

    Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make a very good articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I put things off a lot and don't seem to get nearly anything done.

    http://smart-it-consulting.com/docframe.htm?url=https://spokanevalleymarketing.com/

    June 14, 2021 at 17:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. food bank near me

    http://www.bellinghoven-online.de/index.php?url=https://www.rankemailads.com/

    June 14, 2021 at 18:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV Repairs Near My Location

    https://www.neuoetting.de/externer_link.php?url_uebergabe=www.mitsui-shopping-park.com

    June 14, 2021 at 22:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Repair Orange County

    https://www.adminer.org/redirect/?url=https://www.ocrvcenter.com/industrial-bus-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    June 14, 2021 at 23:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Repairs Near My Location

    https://htcdev.com/?URL=http://ocrvcenter.com/testimonials/

    June 15, 2021 at 05:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RV Repair Near Me

    Wonderful post! We are linking to this particularly great content on our site. Keep up the good writing.

    http://loome.net/demo.php?url=http://www.ocrvcenter.com/rv-repair-shop-carlsbad-california

    June 15, 2021 at 05:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Repair Shop

    Everyone loves it when people come together and share views. Great site, stick with it!

    https://bitly.com/a/warning?hash=3nUs1YL&url=https://www.ocrvcenter.com/rv-repair-shop-lakewood-california

    June 15, 2021 at 08:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RV Repair Places Near Me

    Hi, I do believe this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I'm going to return once again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

    https://westernalliancebancorporation.com/WALSpeedBump_All_Others?target=ocrvcenter.com/ambulance-repair-near-me

    June 15, 2021 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this website. I really hope to see the same high-grade content from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own, personal blog now 😉

    http://www.devot-ee.com/?URL=https://www.ocrvcenter.com/motorhome-shower-repair-near-me

    June 15, 2021 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Camper Repair Shops Near Me

    Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to make a top notch articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I hesitate a lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

    http://splash.hume.vic.gov.au/analytics/outbound?url=https://ocrvcenter.com/rv-repair-shop-fountain-valley-california

    June 15, 2021 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Repair Santa Ana

    http://weblib.lib.umt.edu/redirect/proxyselect.php?url=http://businessinsanfrancisco.thenerdsblog.com/2848832/top-rv-repair-shop-secrets

    June 15, 2021 at 15:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Repair California

    I could not refrain from commenting. Well written!

    http://ww17.acconsthost.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=https://www.ocrvcenter.com/rv-repair-shop-bellflower-california/

    June 15, 2021 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    I'm excited to discover this great site. I wanted to thank you for your time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff in your website.

    http://www.koloboklinks.com/site?url=ocrvcenter.com/rv-repair-shop-la-tuna-canyon-california

    June 15, 2021 at 20:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Repair California

    Having read this I thought it was rather informative. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this content together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

    https://okmedicalboard.org/external-link?url=http://www.ocrvcenter.com/motorhome-alignment-repair-near-me

    June 15, 2021 at 23:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Repair Near Me

    I blog quite often and I truly thank you for your information. The article has truly peaked my interest. I'm going to take a note of your blog and keep checking for new information about once per week. I opted in for your Feed as well.

    http://www.fireflyvodka.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=http://ocrvcenter.com/rv-repair-shop-santa-fe-springs-california/

    June 16, 2021 at 03:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Repairs Nearby

    I used to be able to find good advice from your content.

    https://za.zalo.me/v3/verifyv2/pc?token=OcNsmjfpL0XY2F3BtHzNRs4A-hhQ5q5sPXtbk3O&continue=ocrvfleetservices.com

    June 16, 2021 at 04:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Repair Near My Location

    http://bookmerken.de/?url=http://www.ocrvcenter.com/rv-repair-shop-arleta-california

    June 16, 2021 at 05:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RV Repair Mission Viejo

    http://www.creativecommons.org/choose/results-one?field_attribute_to_url=ocrvcenter.com/rv-repair-shop-reseda-california

    June 16, 2021 at 08:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Camper Repair Near Me

    I was extremely pleased to uncover this great site. I wanted to thank you for your time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every bit of it and I have you saved as a favorite to look at new things on your blog.

    https://redirects.tradedoubler.com/utm/td_redirect.php?td_keep_old_utm_value=1&url=https://nvnickel.com/?view=showad&adid=370037&cityid=29 &lang=en

    June 16, 2021 at 10:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Repair Shop Near My Location

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a coworker who was conducting a little homework on this. And he actually bought me lunch simply because I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this topic here on your site.

    https://www.zippyapp.com/redir?u=https://www.ocrvcenter.com/motorhome-seats-repair-near-me

    June 16, 2021 at 11:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Repair Near Me Now

    http://ric.edu/Pages/link_out.aspx?target=http://game-mun.com/forum/index.php?topic=11597.msg246968

    June 16, 2021 at 11:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. sprint store near me

    http://www.yourmaclife.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.ocrvcenter.com

    June 16, 2021 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. pumpkin patch near me

    http://www.ww17.replaymania.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=http://ocrvcenter.com/

    June 16, 2021 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. tree service near me

    The next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not disappoint me just as much as this particular one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read through, but I really believed you'd have something helpful to say. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something you could fix if you were not too busy searching for attention.

    http://abbeyfield.tv/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=http://www.ocrvcenter.com

    June 16, 2021 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. state farm near me

    https://drama.today/find_v.php?url=//http://www.ocrvcenter.com

    June 16, 2021 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.