Soooo . . . yes, Looks like it’s cancer.
It all began as I was sitting in the doctor’s office on the paper lined bench where you can swing your legs because the floor is like ten feet away, which makes you feel like you’re six again and totally out of control, which you absolutely are given your possible diagnosis. As it tends to in stressful situations, my mind wandered; What if I said I found a lump in my boob… that would just be weird. I practiced saying it right. I found a lump in my breast. I found a lump in my breast… What if I die? What if I have to go through chemo and lose my hair? If I need new breasts should I go big or small or just like they are now? Can they at least perk them up a bit? What if I die? What if I go through chemo and we think everything’s fine and then it comes back and then I die? What if because I was so vain about the breast thing, God says well now you’ve done it! If only you loved me more than your breasts I would have let you live…
Spurgeon once said that no prayers have been truer to the feelings of the hour than those that atheists have offered when in fear of death. I’m certainly not an atheist, and what with Jesus saving me and everything, I’ve always valued my lack of fear when it comes to death, so the fact that my mind went there so quickly was disturbing to say the least.
I’ve been thinking about that. I’m not afraid to die. Wait, I am afraid to die. Okay, well let’s just see how things play out…
I had made an appointment with a nurse practitioner because she was a woman and I didn’t want to have to guide some dude’s hand to where the lump was. I couldn’t imagine her being able to tell me much, only that yep, there’s a lump, and here’s a script for a mammogram.
I don’t even like pink. I kind of hate pink. And now, if I want to live does that mean I have to like pink and run marathons, or at least stand on the sidelines of marathons and cheer people on, and wear pink shirts and stuff if I want to survive breast cancer? Will all of the research that’s been gathered to find a cure not apply to me because I’ve been in rebellion over the color pink? I mean it’s not a terrible color. And it’s definitely coming back. So.
The nurse sent me to radiology. They saw the lump on a screen. They sent me to ultrasound. They saw the lump on a bigger screen. A doctor came in and said, “hmm, yes, I see it.” The doctor explained she was going to do a core biopsy. She gently moved me around and told me what she was doing and numbed me and turned the screen so that I could see what was going on (which I appreciated) and stuck a needle the size of an awl into the lump and said the lump was foggy so it was hard to see and then, “oh yes, there it is.” I got dressed and the nurse took me to a little room with tissue boxes and no windows. She looked at me and smiled softly, and said, “Are you all right?”
I said, “Apparently not.”
The next morning a phone call confirmed this.
Two days later I sat in front of a reconstructive breast surgeon. So far this was the only male doctor involved, which of course makes perfect sense. He gently asked if he could examine me, which only weirded me out more. I opened my blue gown and he scooted closer on his doctor stool. And just looked. Stared. I guess he was envisioning, I don’t know, whatever. All of a sudden it occurred to me he could be picturing larger breasts. Like BIG ones. I felt the need to make it perfectly clear I wanted them on the small side, which was awkward in it’s own right. I just kind of swept my hand over my chest area and said, “Can you make sure they aren’t too big? Um, on the small side?” I said it more than once.
But still, I didn’t trust him. What guy ever chooses small breasts over big ones?
And then there’s the question of nipples, which I got up the nerve to ask about. “You won’t be able to tell the difference,” he said, “I have a great tattoo artist I use. She’s great.”
Tattoo artist? What sort of crazy Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole have I fallen into?
And so it begins. I have breast cancer and all kinds of lab work to get back, and here I am back on the old airplane again in a nosedive.
I’m hoping it pulls up at the last minute. Either way, everything will absolutely be okay.