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Her Elusive Plan

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“There’s really a way to get pregnant without going through the whole dating thing,” I told my bestfriend. “What do you mean? Do you mean a one-night stand?” [Book 1 of THE PLAN SERIES,, where even the best laid plan goes awry.] Her plans were so close . . . yet so far away. Andrea Macie Quinn has a plan. A not-so good plan maybe, but a plan nonetheless, fired up into motion by that critical event that happened when she was only eighteen. Now, ten years later and with a persistent nagging mother, throw in her blissfully married best friend with an adorable baby, and mix in her two mettlesome friends in the background, the pressure to execute the plan increases. She only has one solid plan. She wants to have her own baby, except she is very much single...and so what? This is the 21st century. There are a lot of advancement in science and technology already. How hard could it be? But she never stop to think that the strange man who keeps on popping at her life and to whom she has spilled her deepest fear and secret will eventually mess up her one plan. Her life will about to get overturned. Her journey starts . . .

Romance / Drama
Niceya Rivera
4.6 38 reviews
Age Rating:


Staten Island

Ten Years Ago

If someone told me before that not all plans come to fruition, I would have been able to save myself from a lot of pain. And expectations, definitely, I would have not expected more from life.

“This is silly!” I grumbled to myself on the mirror.

I decided to try feeling up my breast for some self-breast examination. My mom accompanied Aunt Tammy every now and then to the clinic for baby Daniels’s appointment and she constantly brought some brochures at home. One of them was about self-breast exam. I got curious about it and decided, why not? There was no harm, right? It was better to be safe than sorry.

So there, I stood in front of a floor-length mirror, three days after my menstruation. The pamphlet said that that was a good time to do it to achieve an accurate result. Staring at my breasts awkwardly, I noted nothing unusual. Then I clasped both my hands behind my head and pressed them forward, trying to follow the instruction without looking ridiculous. And then I pressed my hands on my hips and slightly bowed towards the mirror, as I pulled my shoulders and elbows forward. I didn’t notice any changed in the contours or shape of both my breast. I marvelled instead at the size of them, hmmm.

Not bad Andy, not bad at all. I laughed at myself.

Taking in a deep breath, I continued the task even if I was tempted to abandon it all together. So I half-heartedly started palpating my right breast first using the concentric circles pattern the pamphlet illustrated.

Why did I read that brochure in the first place, again?

So much for being curious, as I carried on what I was doing; using the palmar surface of the middle three fingers of my left hand, I made a gentle rotary motion on my breast beginning from the outer edge near my axillae. When I moved systematically on the lower inner quadrant of my right breast near the areola, I stilled.

I was frozen on the spot as I stared wide-eyed at my reflection. The girl staring back at me was scared and had paled. I felt the blood draining from my face and my breaths came short when I felt a lump moving.

Oh God! I. Am. Gonna. Die!






Who would have thought that an eighteen year-old gal like me would be able to go through all that Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grieving? Instead of a young woman making an entrance into the society gracefully, full of promising future, I entered it with fears and uncertainties that forever scarred me.

I could still remember it, the feel of the breast lump under my fingertips, and my look of horror a month ago.

Staring right at me at that night, was the person whom had seen her life flashed before her, like slideshows, painfully showing the images of the future that were suddenly muddy. Warm tears flowed freely in abundance as I felt numbness creeping up my spine. For the first time in my life, I felt an immense amount of terror. I shivered as I dropped my hand on my side like it had touched a poison. I sucked in a deep breath, my heart hammering inside my chest.

Am I going to die? Am I going to die? Am I going to die? The voices inside my head had asked for an umpteenth time.

I felt a sudden dizziness. Then I started swearing for the first time.

Images of my parents clouded my vision and imprinted in my mind; my dreams for them, their dreams for me.

Thinking about it, I couldn’t remember how exactly I got out of the shower. However, I remembered crying myself to sleep. I sobbed against my pillow to muffle my cries as not to awaken my parents. I didn’t want them to worry.

I thought this only happened in books or in movies. I should have not read that awful brochure!

I experienced an anticipatory grief.

Denial – is a psychological defense mechanism, in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of a problem or reality.

Days went on after that shocking discovery but I refused to acknowledge and believe the existence of it.

“Nope, nothing happened,” I kept telling myself.

I went through my daily routine, kept myself busy with my studies and pretended that nothing happened. Saying I was shock was an understatement for I was grieving inside. I was overwhelmed by what happened and I was not ready to deal with it yet. I performed my duties and responsibilities to my family, friends, and school with fake cheerfulness. I over reacted at some point, laughed harder than what’s necessary and I could tell that my family thought there was something going on with me.

I told no one else about my condition. I could not even blurt it out loud for fear that when I did, it would only mean the truth and I could not handle it, I could not come to terms with it yet.

Anger – is an emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong. Anger can be a good thing. It can give you a way to express negative feelings, for example, or motivate you to find solutions to problems.

“I hate my life!” I found myself yelling.

After a week, I found myself very sensitive to my surroundings and had a lot of sudden mood swings. It was like I had PMS but ten folds. I found it hard to express what I felt at that time and felt like punching someone or something just to get it out of my system. I threw temper tantrums around the house and when I looked at the eyes of my parents, I saw worry in there and it aggravated me more. I talked back and quarrelled with my parents and I even shouted at my best friend not only once. She thought that I was losing it and I was crazy.

I was a ticking time bomb ready to explode at any given time. I kept asking myself, “Why me?” I was still young and all but I couldn’t find an explanation and it just infuriated me even more.

Bargaining – is seeking ways to avoid having the bad thing happen. Bargaining is thus a vain expression of hope that the bad news is reversible.

I was desperate at this point.

I thought of my past and the things that I had done or my sins to deserve this punishment. I was full of fear that God was punishing me for how I behaved and I guilt-tripped myself also. I thought of the things that I could offer to God so that He would take the lump away. I even told Him that it was okay for me to fail my subjects and not have any boyfriends or whatsoever.

“Please...I’ll do anything instead but make whatever is happening to me go away.” It was all I could pray as I cried myself to sleep every night.

But none of those things made things for the better.

Depression – is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behaviour, feelings, and sense of well-being.

I was despair after a few weeks.

I only saw the horrible end of it and the loss with nothing beyond it. I blamed myself fully and turned in towards myself. I was passive and withdrawn. I turned away from my parents and my best friend. If before they only thought that something was wrong with me, at this phase, they were sure that something was definitely wrong. My main concern was focused only on my own world. I had a lot of tearful and morose episodes. I often found myself crying.

One night, my mother caught me crying on my bed. She just held me in her arms, stroked my back, and let me cried. She asked me the reasons but at that time I could not say it.

“Can you just hold me, please?”

I was thankful that my mother never pried and just sat there quietly after. She just told me that she’s just around whenever I was ready to tell her.

It was too much...just too much.

Acceptance – is a person’s assent to the reality of the situation, recognizing a process or condition without attempting to change it, protest, or exit.

Even though I was still depressed and saddened, reality eventually dawned on me and I realized that I cannot stay forever in that deep, dark hole which I dug myself into. I realized that one way or another, I had to face it.

I never thought to face the question about my mortality at such a young age. I just thought it would happen to me when my 50’s or 60’s came. How wrong was I?

I started looking at my situation objectively. I had my self-breast examination again and I done it systematically without being emotional. It was harder and nerve-wracking. Keeping on a nonchalant act as I felt my breast lump was like telling myself it was going to be okay when all I could see was the future I planned for myself slowly disintegrating to pieces.

“I am going to be okay.” And so I cried again. It was painful but I had no choice, did I?

They say, if life throws you lemons, you make lemonade. But how could I if I had no sugar to sweeten it anymore and all I could taste was its sourness along with hints of bitterness?

I researched about breast and the different conditions affecting it.

The first time that I discovered that I had a lump; I jumped to conclusion so fast without taking some things into consideration. I assumed that I already had breast cancer and might die from it. After researching and comparing my signs and symptoms, I felt some relief after two months of bottling it up.

I came to terms with myself and accepted the fact that indeed, I had a lump on my breast. As I finally acknowledged my condition, I decided to tell my parents.

Saturday night, when everyone was at the house and just lounging around the living room, I finally gathered my courage to tell them what was bothering me the past two months.

“Mom, Dad, I have a breast lump.”

I just dropped the bomb like that without any preamble.

There was an eerie silence and I could feel the tears burning behind my eyes but I blinked them back waiting for my parent’s reaction. A moment passed and then my mother lunged forward and gathered me in her arms murmuring reassuring words and at that time, I couldn’t hold back anymore the tears that were threatening to fall. I’d let them fell freely and felt my dad’s palms wiped my tears. I didn’t know when it happened but I realized that both my parents were hugging me and I could see their eyes glassing.

“We’ll help you get through it. We love you, don’t ever forget that,” my mom murmured with broken voice.

“We’ll go to the doctor tomorrow, okay. You’ll be fine,” my dad assured me.

The past few weeks for me were hard but were bearable as I got my parents and my best friend with me.

Telling my best friend was another case for she wailed louder than me.

“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” And Tanya hugged the daylights out of me.

She spent the night with me, stuffing ourselves with chocolate chip mint ice creams while watching our favourites, the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie series.

Along with my parents, I went to see a breast specialist for the proper check-ups and sought her medical opinions about my condition. I underwent an ultrasound of the breast. I was self-conscious to expose my breasts but the doctor clearly did not mind at all. The fact that my doctor was a female helped a lot. She explained to me the different breast conditions that I might had. She was sure that it was a benign one but she couldn’t tell exactly what it was until after the surgery which was the treatment of choice for me.

“Since the single mass in your right breast is firm, movable, and not tender, I can assure you that it’s a benign one. We need to analyse the tissues to have a definite diagnosis. We can do a percutaneous biopsy or a surgical biopsy. Usually patients opted for surgical biopsy,” as Dr. Louise explained to us after her assessment.

“Is it safe?” my mother asked as she was holding my hand. We were seated across the doctor’s desk with me and my mom on the left side, while my dad was sitting alone on the right side.

“Andrea is not the only girl of her age that is experiencing this Mrs. Quinn. Percutaneous biopsy is less invasive compared to the surgical biopsy. It is a needle or core biopsy that obtains tissue by making a small puncture in the skin. In surgical biopsy an incision is made; the lesion is excised and sent to laboratory for pathologic examination. This can help confirm a diagnosis in a patient who had no previous tissue analysis performed like her case.”

After a lot of discussion, my parents and I decided to undergo a surgical biopsy to be exact an excisional biopsy to remove the entire mass which is also called a lumpectomy.

I was nervous as hell with the surgery which was scheduled two weeks after; they told me that it was under local anaesthesia so I was conscious throughout the whole operation. I was scared so I asked if I could perhaps opt for the general anaesthesia so I could sleep with it. They denied me that saying that the operation I would undergo was a minor one and general anaesthesia was out of the options.

I had mixed emotions as the days went by and the big day came. I was nervous and scared with the thought of lying in a cold operating table with some strangers surrounding me; with the thought of seeing a scalpel cut across the skin on my breast, anticipating the pain, and the needles that would pierce my skin.

I was dreading the day aside from the operation itself but also because of the results of the pathologic exam and the implications of it in my life. But at the same time anticipating the moment when I would be getting rid off of the breast lump.

The only thing that consoled me was the presence of my family and my best friend along the way until I entered the operating room. Hugs and kisses were given as ‘good luck’.

As I entered the daunting and cold operating room, I knew from that moment on that everything would change.

There were no preparations needed for it was just a minor surgery. I took a long shower, scrubbed my body thoroughly for unfortunately, I would be half-naked in there. So much for being a virgin when a surgeon already groped your breast.

The moment I laid my back on the table with the surgery lights hanging above, I prayed to God and consoled myself with the idea that it would be over soon before I knew it.

Since it was a local anaesthesia, they sprayed first something to numb the nerves surrounding my right breast. After a moment, they injected the anaesthesia in the area where the surgeon would cut. A couple more preparations and the surgeon were ready.

The moment she held the scalpel, I closed my eyes, gripped the sheets under me tightly, and curled my toes for the anticipation of the pain that I knew would surely come.

Oh God....

But nothing happened. All I felt was the scalpel cutting the skin and the tissues, and the gushing of warm blood out from the incision but no pain at all. I blew breaths that I held and started to relax but not completely.

Breathe in...Breathe out...

A day before the surgery, I was a bit brave and decided that I would open my eyes and see how the whole operation worked but that thought flew out the window once I saw the scalpel glinting under the OR lamp. I was scared really. I didn’t bother opening my eyes. I only opened it once the surgeon asked me when she showed me the lump that was four by four cm in size and was gray-white in colour. I glanced at it for a while but closed my eyes afterwards.

I didn’t know what to feel seeing the lump that made me miserable.

The surgery went on for more than an hour only and aside from the few pricks of needles during suturing, the pain was manageable. A few minutes after the operation, I was able to stand-up and walked out of the operating room because that kind of surgery was usually done in an ambulatory surgical centre or in an outpatient department. Mine was just in the OR because of my parent’s insistence. With a nurse in tow and a slight discomfort in my chest which reminded me of what happened.

I didn’t need to go to the recovery room but was ushered there to meet the surgeon for some discharge plans and follow-ups that I needed to do. She gave me some pain killers and antibiotics, and advised me to come back after a week to get the suture out and for the biopsy results. I changed from the hospital gown which had some stains of blood and wore my casual clothes with my brassiere still on per advised of the nurse to relieve some discomforts.

I walked to the waiting room after thanking the nurse and the surgeon, to my family and a friend who were both anxious. I felt relieved as something heavy was lifted both from my breast and my shoulder.

As I thought about it, I was saddled with a new realization.

Months of grieving and depression and then more than an hour of surgery were enough to change my principles and the directions of my life.

Everyone thought that once the problem was sorted out that I would fall back to my old life like nothing happened but they were wrong. Being a gal treading in a thin line between adolescence and young adulthood, I'd already anticipated a lot of issues coming my way.

My senior year in high school went on without much concern other than the turmoil inside of me. I tended to shy away from any intimate relationships since then, especially with what happened during that prom night I’d rather not think about.

In adolescence stage, a person’s self-concept changes with biologic development happening in one, values are tested, and stress increases especially in face of conflicts.

Having to gaze at my reflection in the mirror everyday with a scar on my right breast was hard. I knew during adolescence that one should be able to accept one’s physique but I could not help the feeling of self-consciousness and insecurities. During this stage, issues related to body image were of paramount concern to me.

My transition from being an adolescent to a young adult was very crucial because according to Erikson’s eight stages of development, young adults’ central tasks are intimacy versus isolation. Being self-conscious about myself, I avoided the advances of the opposite sex and headed to isolation which was a negative side of the spectrum.

The healed scar was actually not hideous for the surgeon made a cut along the skin which was not that obvious. An inch-long, slightly raised white line in the areola under the nipple was the only reminder of that incident but no matter what, I still felt vulnerable so I’d focused and committed my time to my studies and future career.

I decided to be as single as I could be from that onwards but it was harder when I had an infatuation during my college days with a nice guy who had an interest with me also. I didn’t give that guy a chance due to some fears and I wasn’t confident with my body. And the next thing I knew; he was wrapping his arms in another girl’s waist. That did it and I steered away from those kinds of guys.

It was hard to accept that my life changed forever but I came to terms to it gradually. I even considered going into the convent to become a nun. Gosh, I didn’t really know what to think at that time of my life.

“It was fibroadenoma---a benign condition of the breast which can occur from earlier in the puberty stage until menopause, so you don’t have to worry. There were cases of lumps recurring after years but it’s a small percentage, you just have to have a regular check-up and take care of yourself,” Dr. Louise told me a week after the operation when the results of the biopsy came.

It was one of the good news I heard for what seemed like a long time. It was like a wake-up call to me, reminding me that I always have to be thankful, for I still have a full lifeand not dwell on things I lost.

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