February 16, 2002
Honiara, Solomon Islands
I found a lump in my right breast. I examine my breasts every month, always feeling kind of sheepish, like I’m some kind of paranoid alarmist. But now I found something. I can’t believe it. I keep feeling it again and again, to make sure that I haven’t imagined it. I’m not even turning 36 for four more days. This can’t be real.
I went to the doctor this morning, Dr. Kori. The waiting room is noisy and crowded with people having malaria slides done. You can tell they’re having slides because they are all gripping hunks of cotton balls, after having their fingers stabbed. Not too many people actually go in to see the doctor; they just find out if their slide is positive and buy the medicine they need. So I get in to see the doctor without much of a wait. He feels the lump and says that I can’t get a mammogram done here. I have to go to Australia.
It’s my birthday. We finalized the sale of our house and I have a lump in my breast. I doubt I will forget this one.
The ladies had a birthday tea for me at Martha’s house. Beth made me the cutest sunflower cake and everybody brought me a gift. It helped make a weird day a lot better.
We also went out for dinner at the nicest restaurant in Honiara. It was their buffet night, with the price four times its usual. Since it had been 18 months since we’d been out for dinner alone, we decided to go for it anyway.
I got my first mammogram today. And really it’s the only time in my life I’ve been glad to be small-breasted. It reminded me of making chicken Kiev, putting the chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and smashing it flat.
I also saw a doctor and she said that I’ve got a blocked duct, and it’s no big deal, it will go away. Good news. The best news.
We’re spending the weekend at a hotel. Walking to parks, museums, shopping; seeing movies, eating out.
One time some friends of ours, working in the Solomons, went home to Australia for a few months. The first time they took their kids to a mall, their daughter ran around screaming, “I’m in heaven! I’m in heaven!”
That’s pretty much what it feels like.
What is 31 Days of 2002? Read about it here.