I didn’t discover the lump. It was just always there.

“Fatty tissue” that made an adolescent girl uncomfortable in a swimsuit. It’s location, in the crook of my armpit and directly beneath, verified that it was breast tissue that just wouldn’t stay where it belonged. The doctor continued to tell me to keep an eye on it, but that it was “just tissue” and not to worry about it.

The older I got though, the more uncomfortable it became. It continued to grow at a slow but noticeable rate. It started to rub against my clothing, making raw patches on my skin. It took on a rounder harder shape and even grew a tiny mole. It was at this point that my doctor and I decided it was time to do something about it.

We had been watching it for years, and as the lump grew, so did my concern. So I was referred to a surgeon to remove the lump; it would be sent off for biopsy. I was in my early 20s as I stood in front of the doctor who marked me up with a purple marker — X’s here and lines there.

I looked at myself in the mirror frightened for both the surgery and possible outcome of the biopsy. What would happen if this came back positive? We had been watching it. We could have caught it early. I had been assured that everything would be fine, but inside I was going through all of the scenarios.

I went under and when I woke up, I was all taped up — and I hurt. They had warned me that I would probably have a drain for about 10 days afterward and would not be able to pick up anything for at least eight weeks. Still coming off of the anesthesia, I asked where my drain was. The nurse said I was lucky and would not need one. Lucky.

Everything went as planned. The biopsy came back benign, and although everything went as planned, you are never the same. You now watch for every change in your body. So I continue to watch for changes in my breasts and I watch for changes around my scar because things could have turned out differently.

I am one of the lucky ones.