My Breast Cancer Scare

Chrysanthemum Tea Jelly with Goji Berries

We’ve been having a lot of fun with all our jellies in the Royal Selangor “Get Your Jelly On” challenge. It’s also been crazy, what with full-time work, cooking, and then clearing up, getting the kids to bed and THEN making jellies. We certainly need our heads bonked for taking up this challenge to make jellies and blog about them EVERYDAY!

However, there is a reason for the insanity. It’s a worthwhile cause. It supports breast cancer and this is a disease that hits a LOT of women. We certainly know of it firsthand as Nate’s mom was diagnosed with this just a few years ago. We are thankful that she is now in remission and we continue to pray for her to stay that way.

As for myself, I wanted to share a story with you of my own personal experience.


A Lump in My Breast

When my daughter was just a few months’ old, I felt a lump on my breast. At first I dismissed it as probably just a clogged milk duct so I didn’t consult a doctor. But you know how once you feel a lump, your hands just can’t help drifting right to THAT spot and continuing to feel for it, hoping that it would go away? Yeah, exactly! Well, that’s what I did for several days and I got worried enough that I asked Nate if he felt it too (which he did). He, of course, told me to go see a doctor straight away.

Did I? Nope. See, if I saw a doctor and it turned out to be the C-word, I would totally freak out. I was in denial and I didn’t want to deal with it. I just continued to feel it and try to massage it away. Of course, all that did was make it even more painful.

At that time, my mom was visiting and finally, after several more days, I asked her what she thought about it. Being a retired nurse, she immediately felt the lump and told, no, ORDERED me to go to the doctor’s right away. She was very worried. Ok, that really got to me and so I called my ob/gyn and set up an appointment that afternoon.

Chrysanthemum Jellies with Goji Berries

Better Safe Than Sorry

When I got to the doctor, she examined me and also did feel the lump. When she was done with the examination, she got me up and told me that I shouldn’t worry, that I was not in the right age group for breast cancer and that it was probably a blocked duct like I thought. However, she said that to be on the safe side, she would order an ultrasound. So I trotted obediently off to get an ultrasound. After that was done, it was still inconclusive. There was a little shadow where the lump was but the technician and my doctor both didn’t think it was cancer. But again, she decided that it was better to be safe than sorry so she then ordered a mammogram.

I came back a few days later for the mammogram and let me tell you something—a mammogram is no fun. They take your boob (one at a time), place it on this flat metal surface and then proceed to flatten it with another flat metal plate on the top. They sandwich your breast between the plates and then take a picture. Just imagine a conical object being squished to become a flat sandwich and you will surely wince!

The only humor I got out of that day was when I was waiting to be released (they have to make sure that their picture turned out ok), I got to chat with an older lady and she was so funny. She told me it was no big deal for her as her boobs were super saggy and all she had to do was lift them and plop them on the machine. We shared a giggle over that. Don’t you love women’s conversations?

The Results Came Back

While I was waiting for my results over the next few days, I told a doctor friend from church about my lump and she too reassured me that I was in the wrong age group and not to worry about it. I know that these doctors were trying to make me feel better, but until I knew for sure, I worried anyway. Finally, the results came back and I was ok. I was very relieved to know it wasn’t breast cancer but I continued to touch that lump for many more days. And wouldn’t you know it, within a week of all that, the lump went away.

I didn’t have breast cancer.

Chrysanthemum Tea with Jellies closeup

Detection is Better than Denial

But you know what? I don’t care what statistics say about age and all that. I have friends who don’t fall in that age group, friends who are younger than me, and they have been diagnosed with breast cancer. It can hit anyone. I’ve lost an aunt to breast cancer. A close friend lost a mother when she was in her early teens.

My mother-in-law is still with us and that is because she was detected EARLY. So don’t be like me and be stupid and go into denial. If you feel something, go get it checked. It could save your life!

Stay Healthy

So for today’s jelly, I decided to go healthy. We all know that tea is full of antioxidants (which are helpful in protecting our cells from damage caused by free radicals—those pesky cancer cells). It doesn’t even have to be caffeine-free to be beneficial so drink your tea (green tea is best they say)! And berries are small but serious antioxidant bombs.

As a matter of fact, just get your daily colorful veggies and fruit and you’re good to go. So this jelly is made with chrysanthemum tea and boosted with wolfberries, making it chock-full of antioxidants. Cut down on the sugar or use a sugar substitute and it will be truly healthy. Oh, and it tastes good too.

Chrysanthemum Jelly with Wolfberries Recipe

Prep time: 25 min / Total time: 3 hours

Ingredients

5 Tbsp dried chrysanthemum flowers
2 Tbsp goji berries/wolfberries
400 ml water
5 Tbsp sugar
4 g konnyaku powder

Method

1. Put the chrysanthemum flowers into boiling water and let it steep for 10 minutes. Remove flowers from tea. In the meantime, soak goji berries in warm water for 5 minutes and drain.

2. Add sugar to the chrysanthemum tea and stir till sugar is completely incorporated.

3. Add konnyaku powder to the tea and stir till powder is dissolved. Let cool slightly.

Preparing Chrysanthemum Tea with Goji Berries

4. Prepare molds in cups. Pour about 1/4 cup tea into each mold and drop a few goji berries into the tea (it will sink to the bottom). Place molds in freezer for 2 minutes to set a little. Take out the mold and now place a flower in each mold artfully, ensuring that the flower faces outwards. Place a few more goji berries and then pour about 1/3 cup tea. Set it back into the freezer for another minute or so. Take it out and if flower has floated to the top, force it down to the position you want. Continue to build the jelly until you have used up all the flowers and goji berries. The best is when the jelly is semi-set—that way the goji berries will stay where you want it and so will the flowers. Experiment until you get it right. It’s not too hard. This was my first time.

Chrysanthemum Tea Jelly with Goji Berries

Enjoy!

Do join us in raising awareness for breast cancer. If you purchase a Royal Selangor jelly mould, a percentage of the sale goes to support the Breast Cancer Welfare Association of Malaysia. So play along with us in making fun jellies and also supporting a good cause.

Cheers, Annie

Has breast cancer touched your life? Do you have a personal experience to share? Leave us a comment below!

When a group of Malaysian women were asked what was the main deterrent creating the hesitation in doing breast self-examination and in getting annual medical examination, the answer was “afraid, may come to know that I have breast cancer, and won’t be able to cope with the reality and its consequences.” For more information on how to cope with and survive the reality of breast cancer, please visit the Breast Cancer Welfare Association website.

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10 Comments Post a Comment
  1. mycookinghut says:

    Such a lovely jelly! Pretty!!
    Anyway, the story of the mammogram sounds horrible! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  2. Hi Annie, thank you for sharing your story. It’s not a pleasant experience – my Mum has had a few mammograms and dislikes them a lot but you’re right. It’s better to check than leave unattended. Wonderful post! Keep it up guys :-)

  3. terri says:

    great looking (and eating i bet) jelly there annie! thanks for sharing your story. am so happy that you are fine:) you are right, early detection is best. also, when detected, tell our loved ones n DO something about it. i know a friend’s sister who didn’t tell until a year later. it was too late.

  4. Winston says:

    Thanks for sharing your story, Annie. I enjoyed reading this heartfelt and honest article very much. You’re doing so much to raise awareness and I’m sure it inspired more people to always be safe than sorry, guys and girls included. Thanks again! The bloomed Chrysanthemum looks beautiful, btw! =)

  5. babe_kl says:

    The big C disease is a don’t play-play disease. You did right there by checking it out early.

    Yr jelly look splendid, so pretty the flowers suspended there

  6. Adeline says:

    Love this one, it looks so pretty and alive!

  7. i experienced the same thing a few years back. i freaked out and went straight to the docs…it’s really hard to face reality, i always need to push myself to follow the “better safe than sorry” principal

  8. this one look so beautiful.Cant take my eyes from it..

  9. Fahad Khan says:

    True,breast cancer is no joke!It is a serious issue,a life-threatening disease.One better be safe than sorry.
    The jelly looks so beautiful!:-)
    P.S. Thank you for sharing!:-)

  10. Meiyun says:

    This may sound silly . But I would like to know if the flowers can be eaten ? PleaSe enlighten me . Thanks

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My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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