Topless and Afraid This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

November 20, 2013
I was going to die. That much I was sure of. I didn't exactly have proof that I was going to drop dead; it was just a feeling. But this feeling was as real to me as the meatball-sized lump in my left breast.

I lay on a cold exam table waiting for the “boobie doctor,” as I had been referring to her. The smell of antiseptic penetrated my nostrils and an uneasy feeling spread from the tips of my fingers to my socked toes. Nervous and shaking with fear, I counted every second that passed, believing that with each ticking moment my health was deteriorating. As time passed, my mood became more and more sour.

I was known for being impatient and the suspense of not knowing was eating away at my sanity. What if I had breast cancer? What if I didn't live past 14?

I mentally scolded myself as I readjusted my hospital gown. I had already broken rule number one on all those breast cancer support sites: “Stay calm.” But when an early and tragic death seemed inevitable, how could I?

Once again, I was getting ahead of myself. The doctor hadn't even begun testing yet. I was failing to keep my emotions at bay, and the constant twinges of pain in my breast definitely weren't helping.

I wasn't surprised by my mental breakdown. I was never good at keeping my composure. But that day I couldn't lose myself to my emotions. If this lump turned out to be as bad as I feared, how would I handle it if I couldn't even handle this check up?

Somehow I managed to regain my composure. I was still afraid, naturally, but now I was determined to face the situation with a level head and a positive attitude. The “boobie doctor,” or mastologist as I now know, came in soon after my epiphany.

I had requested that my mother stay with me for the examination. I wanted her to share this possibly life-changing moment. Even though my mother and I hadn't been particularly close, during this stressful experience, she became my anchor.

Once everything was in order, the doctor examined my breast. I tried not to flinch at her cold hands, but the reaction was involuntary. The doctor explained that she was going to do an ultrasound to get a better look at the mass. I prayed silently, asking for strength.

Seeing the up-close image of the lump almost made me break down again. It was huge. I fought to control my nerves and mentally patted myself on the back, proud of this accomplishment.

After examining the ultrasound, the doctor decided that my lump was probably benign. However, it was growing at a rapid pace, which was definitely not good. A combination of relief and anxiety flooded my body, confusing me. But one thing was clear: I didn't have cancer. I can't begin to describe the feelings of elation that took over in that moment.

Even when the doctor explained that they would have to operate, I maintained a stoic attitude. Although I needed major surgery, I refused to let my nerves get the best of me.

Due to my newfound self-control and resilience, the surgery and recovery were fairly easy to deal with. That experience helped me overcome something I had always had difficulty with: controlling my emotions. However, the next time life decides to teach me a lesson, I hope it's under somewhat less stressful circumstances.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 5 comments. Post your own now!

Lucifer666 said...
Mar. 26, 2014 at 3:06 pm
Wow, this is an amazing writing, and its great that you overcame this!  (≧∇≦)/
Janelle7 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 26, 2014 at 2:54 pm
Aw this is very well written! I m so glad you over came this! There are many different trials we have to face in life
ninjaballerina1234 said...
Jan. 6, 2014 at 5:44 pm
This article was moving and extremely well written. I loved it! I  am also so glad that you didn't have cancer! Stay strong and confident and continue writting amazing pieces. Its the challenges we face that make us who we are.  
Webbyd said...
Dec. 12, 2013 at 5:24 pm
Awesome!! That awesome that you are lump free!
futurenovelista This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 12, 2013 at 6:17 pm
Thank you so much! I'm happy im lump-free too! And If you'd like me to read anything of yours, I'd be glad to
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