November 21, 2020

How My Dog Saved My Life (probably).

It was the end of July and I was walking my dog Chuck. The weather was warm and luscious and we sauntered together slowly down the sidewalk. Suddenly Chuck pulled sideways towards a parked car; there was a cat sulking underneath it. 


It wasn't a hard pull, just an unexpected tug. Chuck is 150 lbs to my 100 lbs, but he's a good walker and I led him easily away and thought nothing more of it.

Why my boobs got to do me like this.

Two days later I felt a pain in my right breast. Not remembering that cat incident, I immediately thought, uh-oh, something's up with the Old Girl. 

My left = Old Maid. My right = Old Girl.



Having had a lump removed from the left breast in my early 40s (turned out to be just a lump) plus being over fifty, I get a mammogram every year. This year I was thinking, "There's a pandemic out there! I'll just skip it, no big deal." But when I got this weird pain, and felt no lump, I got worried and went in for the scan and also an ultrasound.

A few days later, the radiology clinic called me back for another scan. The following weeks they called me back for two more "magnifications" and different views. Weirdly, they were focusing only on my left breast, the Old Maid, while completely ignoring the Old Girl.


Next thing I know, the doctor told me I needed a biopsy because I have some micro-calcifications in the Old Maid. You guys: "stereotactic" is a word. A stereotactic biopsy is a thing where you lie face down on a table with a hole in it. It looks like a massage table! Your boob goes in the hole and hangs down (in my case, to the floor). They freeze your tit, and then do the biopsy whilst simultaneously scanning it for accuracy. For the record, it hurts about as much as going to the dentist; a tiny needle prick, some pressure, and that's it. (The next few days were a bit ouchie though. Just like the dentist haha.) 


Around this time I was diagnosed with Old Lady mononucleosis. And tummy troubles exacerbated by my osteoporosis medication (barf). The Huz was away in the UK visiting his mum. My friend Kym was struggling with her cancer. There's a raging pandemic. The world is on fire. And now a looming breast issue. It was a lot.

So it turns out I don't have cancer! I have pre-cancer. Also known as stage zero Ductile Carcinoma In Situ. And I'm having surgery next week to carve that bitch out. Partial mastectomy. It sounds dramatic, and I know it's going to hurt, but I'm not scared. As my doctor said, "We caught it early. This is why we do mammograms." 

I was listening to NPR in the car and there was a medical expert saying that in two to three years, something like 20,000 women were going to die because they delayed their mammograms due to the covid situation. That might've been me. So basically, if Chuck hadn't yanked me, I probably wouldn't have gone for my yearly mammogram. The dangerous micro-calcification clusters would have laid undiscovered until possibly stage 1 or 2 DCIS. Thanks Chuck: you saved my life (probably).


Yes, I still have to get over the wretched mono and tummy troubles as well as surgery and whatever that reveals. But the good news is I have every chance of good results in the future. Also the Old Girl doesn't hurt anymore.

Please tell Chuck what a good boy he is. And if you feel so moved, give a small donation to SOS Quebec Newf Rescue. Don't delay your mammograms!

PS Wear a mask. I don't want my surgery canceled due to Covid overload.


14 comments:

  1. Yay Chuck! What a good boy.

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    1. He's the goodest doggo. And you are the tops first born childling. I love you so much.

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  2. Good boy Chuck! Maybe we should call him Dr. Chuck?

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  3. I have been postponing my mammogram because of COVID. I’ll book Monday. Thanks for your story. I wish you all the best

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  4. Good boy Chuck! I had mine a couple of weeks ago!!! So much this year!

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    1. I'm glad Faye. This year sucketh all around. We don't want anymore!!

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  5. �� Yay for Chuck!

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  6. Chuck is such a great dog! I'm glad your best buddy took care of you and I hope soon this is all behind you and that all is well. Good boy Chuck and congratz on taking care of your great Mom.

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    1. Thanks luv. I'm looking forward to being able to walk him again, but for now he gets lots of pats from me.

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  7. Good dog, Chuck! May you get many treats and belly/butt rubs (whichever you prefer) for your service!

    Much luck with your surgery. I hope that is the end of that particular story.

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Cuz You Rocketh.