What it's like to find a tumor

It’s been a year — one year since I found my tumor.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be reliving some of the changes and experiences that have occurred over the past year.

Today, we start from the very beginning (a very good place to start).

March 25, 2018 was like any other day.

I had just returned back to Raleigh from my first-time in Washington, D.C. I had helped Counter Culture Coffee reopen its Adams Morgan training center and my energy was riding high from the success of the event.

We kicked off the morning with the other half of the Hoverstads at our go-to Jubala Coffee and, as we typically do, ate lots of delicious food while attempting to wrangle babies in an attempt to take their pictures.

 
A fairly common sight for us on weekends - cousins and Jubala!

A fairly common sight for us on weekends - cousins and Jubala!

 

Unbeknownst to our group, in approximately 48 hours, our lives would change. Our roles as parents and siblings and in-laws would evolve into oncology amateurs, fundraiser event planners, and the strongest support system.

That afternoon, I happened to get away from the house for a one-hour hot yoga class at a new yoga studio in North Hills. My friend, Lindsay, won a private class for her and a group of friends! Complete with champagne, we enjoyed the new space and each other.

 
The picture taken about an hour before I found my tumor.    The woman in the “burn” sweatshirt, who I did not know at the time this picture was taken, would turn out to be my oncology nurse in just a matter of weeks!

The picture taken about an hour before I found my tumor.

The woman in the “burn” sweatshirt, who I did not know at the time this picture was taken, would turn out to be my oncology nurse in just a matter of weeks!

 

Because Carl was taking care of the girls for the afternoon, I could take my time coming home and cleaning up.

And that’s where my life road diverged.

I looked in the mirror and saw a discoloration on my left breast. A purplish blue mark with no reason to be there.

I did an informal self-exam and that’s when I felt it.

I put both girls to bed on March 25, 2018, knowing deep down that things were about to change for all of us.

I put both girls to bed on March 25, 2018, knowing deep down that things were about to change for all of us.

A walnut. It felt like a walnut in my chest.

And deep down, I knew.

It’s wasn’t a clogged duct (as I had many of those before).

This was large.

It wasn’t in the other side.

It was different, not in a good way.

I didn’t tell Carl that night.

I wanted to process it myself. (I’m also rather notorious for wanting to process everything by myself - I recognize that’s not always healthy.)

I knew I’d call my OB in the morning and ask for an appointment.

Should I invite Carl?

Was I overreacting? I was within a year of having Halle, maybe this was some crazy postpartum situation.

In less than 24 hours, with Carl sitting beside me, Dr. Matthews would confirm that my concern was valid and he’d need to send me to a specialist to confirm what was going on.

So, here we are exactly a year from that moment. What can you take away from it?

When you find something that doesn’t seem right, take action on it.

Don’t make it part of a to-do list, put it on priority.

When you’re taking care of yourself, you’re able to take care of those around you.