Health & Nutrition

Forgetting and Regretting

“I forgot to follow up when I found a mysterious lump. What that might mean makes attention deficit suddenly seem benign.”

Ever since I turned a birthday in December, the health issues have been popping up like cockroaches out of woodwork. Just when one issue is seemingly placed on the back burner, something else surfaces. Never a dull moment.

This time it is a lump in the breast, actually first discovered a year ago, circa 2012. But then the lump seemingly disappeared and reappeared again. The lady doctor, who looked about 12, said she didn’t feel anything.

And then I was very ADHD (read: seemingly nonchalant) about the scare — totally forgot about the lump in the same way I forget boiling pasta, and forgot about being scared. I know. I know. I hear it: “Health is the most important thing! Why didn’t you follow up?” The truth is I had forgotten, or maybe wanted badly to forget. Now it’s regret disguised as water under the bridge.

The problem resurfaced again when I felt it a month ago. And I felt enough fear to remember the original fear, this problem, this mysterious lump, to get it checked out again. Now I await the results. I am panicked, terrified, madly Googling breast cancer and lumps. I’ve YouTubed the removal of a lump from someone’s breast and felt cautious. Now it’s a waiting game.

Indeed, being diagnosed and living with ADHD now seems a lot more benign when compared to other illnesses and diseases. Why couldn’t my health issues begin and end with ADHD, life with Adderall, and sessions with coaches and therapists?

The aunt says that everyone deals with illness at some point in their life; some go quicker than others. It’s the mystery of life. Most people simply don’t publicly announce their ailment as if it were an auction.

But this time I can’t help but feel like this might have been prevented, if I remembered to do a self-breast exam annually, if I had followed up, gotten a second opinion. If I did less and were more focused. If I were more meticulous about my health. If I were less all over the board and ADHD about things, if I could better prioritize. I know what’s done is done, and there is only the present. “If there is a problem, you face it and solve it,” the aunt said matter-of-factly as I fretted. She’s right. There’s no other choice.