The most common question I’m asked, usually by concerned ladies, is “how did you find it”.  The reality is somewhat eye opening and maybe someone reading this will not “trust” as much as I did.  Of course the medical profession immediately jumps to the assumption that I was not proactive in my healthcare but the reality is the opposite, as I’ve always believed more in prevention than cure.  I found a small lump a year ago – I will admit that that made me make that dreaded mammogram appointment that had been pre-ordered.  I pointed out the lump and was one of the lucky first to experience the brand new, all singing, all dancing, 3D Mammo Machine which made me feel secure in the diagnosis of “it’s just a hardened lymph node”.  Carrying on about my life, this was about the time I first talked to the southern gentleman who was calling about Alpaca Long Johns.

He contacted me by phone and told me his friend had said he should call because he gets cold while riding his motorbike.  I directed him to my website, but he didn’t believe in such modern technology and preferred to conduct business by phone and check (apparently he doesn’t trust credit cards either).  I took his order, waited for his check to arrive and process and then shipped out his superfine, supersoft alpaca long johns.  A few days later I received a phone call from said gentleman who was very apologetic and disappointed in his purchase.  Puzzled, I tried to ascertain what the problem was.  Long Johns made from alpaca are simply AMAZING.  They are so fine and soft against the skin that they are pure comfort and, because they are all natural, the body remains at a comfortable temperature without overheating.  While skiing this past year, I was able to wear just the long johns under my ski suit and did not suffer from ski lift chill at all – miraculous.

“Well”, said the gentleman, “they’re not at all what I expected”.  “What were you expecting” I asked.  “They’re so thin, they will let the wind through” he said.  Extremely puzzled at this point, I pointed out the virtues of alpaca and explained that they are not designed to be worn alone on a motorbike but underneath clothing.  I also asked what exactly was he expecting.  It was hard, but I managed to keep my customer service voice in control as he told me he thought they would be thick and furry – like the animal. I asked him to return the product and I would refund his money – after all, the only result acceptable to me is a happy customer.  To this day, he is the only customer who did not receive a product beyond their expectations (many have told me how much they enjoy their items) and it makes me smile to think of an elderly gentleman riding his motorbike, somewhere in the south, clad in a furry outfit from neck to ankles.  I wonder if he ever found such an item.

Anyway, on with the diagnosis.  Shortly before my next annual checkup, I noticed that things looked just a little different but as I already had an appointment scheduled, waited until it was due.  After all, no one had been worried the year before and there is no cancer in our family but lumps and bumps are well documented.  I had to point out the lump (it was still fairly small) and my doctor pushed for immediate diagnostic imaging.  Biopsy was recommended and, although I was reluctant, I agreed as I figured documenting a family history of lumps and bumps would make life easier for my daughters down the line.  Sure enough, a couple of days later, I got the dreaded call and my life changed overnight.

More later …..