by Avigail Rock z”l
This was first published in partnership with The Layers Project Magazine.
A few months after giving birth to my fifth child, I had a conversation with a cousin whose mother had passed away from cancer. She asked me if I did a yearly checkup. I was only 38 years old at the time, and saw no reason to check. “No,” I told her, “I don’t check. I’m too young to do that.” But the conversation stayed with me, and several months later, even though I hadn’t felt anything, I decided to go see a breast surgeon.
During my visit to the doctor, he unexpectedly said that he did feel something. “It’s probably benign,” he said, “but just in case I will send you for a biopsy. Don’t worry about it.” Well, the biopsy came back malignant. The doctor called me in and said, “I’m sure this is something small and it’s nothing to worry about, but actually we need to remove a bigger sample to see what’s going on—I’m sure it’s nothing major, but just in case.”