Friday, February 6, 2015

I'll be as Honest as I Feel

Life is a circle.  Well, maybe not exactly a circle.  More like a tide or a wave.  Or whatever.  I don't really have any philosophical bullshit to feed you today.

Life can be so good.  So, so good.  Then, BAM!  WHACK!  Out of nowhere, something sweeps your feet out from under you.

For a few weeks, I had been feeling a stabbing pain in my right breast.  It wasn't constant, but it scared the hell out of me.  I felt my breast, my lymph nodes, my groin.  I was sure I'd find a lump.  Nothing.  Until 2 weeks later.

I was in the bath, leaning back and relaxing.  I felt the pain and thought I'd feel for a lump.  And I found one.  It was about the size of a pea.  I yelled for John.  He felt it too.  Then I threw up.  Why? Because that's what happens when you're 35 and you find a lump in your breast.  Breast cancer at 35 is tough to beat.  There is a grave difference in survival rates between women of advanced age and women in child-birthing ages.  Breast cancer kills young women because it feeds on the hormones we still produce.

Panic.  Sickness.  Doom.  My own mortality.  Fear.

I was convinced that one tiny lump would end my life.  Take me from my children.  Finish me before I watched them grow.  End me when I feel like I've just begun.

It was my own fault.  I hadn't been to the OB/GYN since the boys were born.  Yes, I know it's been nearly 5 years and shit like that's important.  But, I've been a little busy trying to be everything to everyone all the time.  Some things get pushed to the side with the intent to catch it up at a later, less busy time.  Less busy...never gonna happen.

I tried to make an appointment.  My doctor had retired.  Greeeaaaatttt.... just what I wanted: a new doctor to become instantly intimate with.  I must say, the new doc was pretty fantastic.  He was extremely professional and didn't judge me for putting my own health absolutely last in my list of priorities.  He was very positive and told me not to worry before the test results were read.

I felt one lump.  He felt two. The mammogram and ultrasound revealed 3.  THREE!

The mammogram wasn't as bad as I expected.  Yes, ladies, they literally squish your breast.  Like a pancake.  After capturing horizontal images of your breast, the technician moves the equipment and vertically smashes your boob.  It wasn't exactly painful, but it certainly wasn't something I'd like to volunteer for often and I'm so happy I am not a mammogram technician because, eeewwww.

When the tech found 3 lumps, she marked them with stickers so the ultrasound tech would have an easier time locating them.  I walked from the mammogram to the ultrasound in nothing but a hospital gown, opened in the front.

The last time I had an ultrasound, I got a wonderful pic of two perfect little boys growing inside me.  It was miraculous and beautiful.  This experience wasn't as nice.  I laid, humiliated, while another woman squirted cold gel on my breast, moved it all over the place and firmly pressed her wand into my body.  And then it was over.

I expected a long wait.  I was starting to put on my clothes when the tech turned to me and said, "Please keep the robe on.  I have to take this report to the radiologist.  You are probably done, but I may need to take more images.  You will knowing something soon."

"Soon" turned out to be about 30 minutes.  The radiologist came into the room.  I was sure I was doomed.  Why else would he take time to talk to me?  He said, "Ms. King, I just talked with your doctor (OMG...I'm terrified!) and I am 100% positive that you have 3 sebaceous cysts in your right breast. They're completely benign. Whenever you feel pain, it's because they have filled with fluid.  Use heat to drain them."

I'm alive!  Healthy and alive.  AND READY TO LIVE.

I have made some promises to myself.  Life is short.  We are not promised tomorrow.  I will be happy with whatever time God gives me.  I will live in a way that pleases me.  I will not die without standing in the Montana valley, smelling the crisp mountain air, feeling so tiny.  I will not die having never known reciprocated love.  I will not waste the rest of my life the way I have so many precious years thus far.  I will not feel anger or resentment for things that were never in my control.  I will not feel the need to reveal my plans, my whereabouts, my business.  I am responsible only for my own feelings.

I've spent forever healing.  I am no longer picking up the pieces.  I am whole.

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad that you are okay. And, by the way, when were you ever anything but honest? You wanted the life you have for so long and I always smile when I think of you being exhausted with your children. You do need time for yourself and the things that keep you who you are or you will lose that person. But you're a good person and that person will always be there when you need to find her. Make plans for five years and ten and twenty. Small successes build larger ones and your will land where you are happy. I will always smile for you! (I think those mammograms are more painful for the girls with less to squish! Can you imagine if you had nothing for them to work with?)