YOU JUST FOUND THE LUMP:  Maybe you were in the shower, and there it was...a lump that you just KNEW wasn't right...your body froze...and I'll bet your first thought was something like, "But who'll take care of (insert the name of your helpless husband, kid, or dog that needs you)?"

Yeah, I know.  We women think we have to be everything to everyone, fix everything, make it happen, run to help anyone who asks, etc...  Right after the shock that you just MIGHT have breast cancer, your mind generally kicks into that familiar mode and you start planning what you need to do before you go take care of yourself.  STOP IT!  Go call the doctor, get checked, get a mammogram, and keep going until you're either SURE you don't have cancer, or you are diagnosed and go get treatment.

Don't put it off.  You get NO brownie points for putting everyone else first at this time.  Want to know what MY next thoughts were?  Get ready to be shocked, or maybe not, depending on the stress in your life up to this point.  I remember standing in the shower saying, "God... What, NOW?  Today?  What are you THINKING!  I'm too busy!"

You see, in just the two months before finding the lump, life had totally changed at our house.  My husband had been becoming progressively more ill with a variety of lifelong medical problems, becoming finally unable to work.  Because of a nurse's mix-up at the doctor's office, it took weeks for him to be referred to a heart specialist.  That meant that only days before his medical insurance ran out, he had an emergency hospitalization for a heart ailment. 

Our medical insurance he'd paid for through his workplace (covering both of us) had expired only TWO DAYS after his stay in the hospital, which was scary, because how could he possibly get follow-up care?  What would happen?  Than, after only one week of having no insurance, I FOUND THE LUMP.  Just... great, and after paying for medical insurance for decades and hardly using it myself, not I had none.

Things had been just starting to look up after going through everything we had experienced.  After all, he was home with me, he was slowly getting over his procedure in the hospital, and though we were very short on income, I'd figured I'd be able to support us adequately while awaiting his disability to be approved.  (Working from home online, I could be here to take care of him and there would not be much problem, I'd been so sure.)  What could go wrong?  Oh yes, standing in the shower and finding a lump.  And having no medical insurance because I'd been on hubby's plan.  Oh crap.

Now, if you've followed all this, you're either thinking to yourself that you don't have it quite so bad, you may as well go get that lump checked, OR you're finding yourself nodding your head and understanding totally the craziness of the situation where you KNOW you need to get this checked but you don't think you can afford it. 

Maybe you can't on your own, but there likely IS help, so calm down.  Take a deep breath, relax.  You obviously have an internet connection, you're here, so start searching.  I think most states have a program they may or may not advertise, where they will provide free breast exams for people who can't afford it.  It's called something different from state to state, but do some research and you'll find it. 

Go to Google and enter words like "breast cancer screening Medicaid (also type in the name of the state you reside in)", and you should be able to easily search out a program that provides free screening for breast and cervical cancer to residents.  Women with abnormal screening results may then be eligible for free health coverage through Medicaid for treatment of their condition.

I'd seen an ad about it on TV within a day of finding the lump, called the toll-free number on a Friday, describing to a nurse what I'd found, and within a week I'd already been sent to various appointments for all the testing... and at the end of that, a biopsy.  Soon, a phone call came from a nurse/case worker who signed me up for Medicaid, a special sort of Medicaid just for breast (or cervical cancer) patients.

I was in SHOCK...never heard of such a thing before... but suddenly, I was on Medicaid.  Oh yeah, I can remember thinking, I'll be sitting in dirty waiting rooms of little known clinics, probably treated awful.  Get ready for a bigger shock.  I was treated better than ever before.  I felt as if I had better care, had more kindness shown from doctors and nurses, gotten quicker call-backs at home when problems arose... I really feel that my care was more complete than I had EVER received when we bought our medical insurance all these years and went to the regular doctor who'd taken care of both of us!  (May I also mention that same doctor had ignored symptoms of both of our health issues that could have gotten us both much earlier treatment.  That's a good tip for you, never stick with a doctor just because you like him and he's been your doctor for many years.  If something doesn't feel 'right' with his care, look for another doctor.)

WOW, all those taxes we'd paid really DID go for something good!  (I'll never complain about taxes again, by the way.)  May the people who have anything to do with running the Medicaid breast cancer program from state to state, all be blessed. 

I fully believe that program saved my life, and I am willing to tell my story here to others, so that maybe they will have courage to go get a checkup even if think they can't afford care.  You never know what good can come of your life, if you choose to live it, so don't let stress or lack of money or ANY REASON keep you from getting a lump checked out.  It's not the end of the world, it's just a lump in the road.  :^)  There are programs in place in many states to help you in just such an occurance.