Lately, I am sure you all know I have had a million things going on and a million crazy thoughts going through my head. It has been a struggle for me lately to maintain one train of thought and complete any task at hand. This past month has been full of highs and lows and left me pretty emotional.
I have realized my number one and scratched it off the top of my bucket list. My first two books have come out and I couldn’t be more proud of myself for finally making my childhood dream of being a paid and published writer come true. Granted, it is still new and if I were doing it for the money alone, I would surely be considered a starving artist for many years to come. It has been interesting to see how supportive so many people have been and a little disappointing to see how many people you think will be there for you in these good times and help you celebrate, just stand by quietly. Still, the good has outweighed the bad and people I might not have otherwise known or met have written to me about my stories. That feels wonderful. Seeing my books for sale on such huge names like Barnes and Noble and amazon has been truly mind blowing in an otherwise heart wrenching time.
Along with conquering my biggest dream, my biggest fear was realized too as I am in the middle of a breast cancer scare. It has all moved very quickly, despite the feeling that time has screeched to a halt. About three weeks ago, I woke up with a pain in my breast, with some redness and swelling. Certain times during the month this happens to all of us, and should have been no concern, but something told me based on my calendar that this lump should not be there at that time. I scheduled an appointment with my ob/gyn since I was needing some tests done for my PCOS and diabetes screenings anyway and had him check the area. I really thought he would tell me that I was over reacting and that it was nothing, so I was devastated when he sent me to the hospital for an ultrasound.
The ultrasound tech asked me a lot of questions and tried to reassure me that most forms of breast cancer to not present with pain ; that it was probably a clogged milk duct despite that I hadn’t breastfed in years. During the scan, her nose wrinkled and her eyes narrowed as she watched the lump appear on the screen. It was indeed in/ near a duct but it contained no liquid , it was “mushy” or a solid mass. The radiologist suggested I go straight over and get a mammogram to see if they could see more definitively what this lump was. During the exam I was asked about breast trauma and discharge, things I hadn’t experienced. Again, there was a spot that was not a cyst and was not a clogged duct. I was reassured about how many benign solid masses can form and grow in breast tissues and that I was probably fine, but that the radiologist suggested that I get a biopsy to check for cancerous cells. The C word, they finally said it out loud.
I went back to my gynecologist to get him to schedule a biopsy for me and he suggested seeing a surgeon first to see what he thought about the mass. That was the next step. The surgeon,could not feel the mass after the swelling had gone down and didn’t have advanced enough equipment to accurately assess the mass he found by ultrasound. He tried to take measurements but he couldn’t keep still on the spot.I thought this was promising that maybe , it was in fact, a clogged duct and it had worked itself out. Again, I was sent back to the hospital, for a more accurate reading and a fine needle aspiration biopsy.
Yesterday, was B day, biopsy day, and I went in with a strange sense of calmness. I hoped that they would find no mass there and that I could go home worry free. I was not afraid of the procedure, but the waiting that followed scared me to death. I watched the screen as the source of my fear showed itself again. The mass had not changed size or shape despite the fact that I could only sometimes feel it now . The tech, named Angel, (That’s a good sign , right?” ) marked the spot with a marker and went to get the available radiologist to come and perform the biopsy. He was thorough in explaining the procedure and as he watched the scan of my breast on the screen he explained the different types of growths this could be inside of me. He talked about papilomas and fibrodema’s and then settled into ductal carcinoma’s and other cancers. Again with this C word.
He proceed t o show me the tools he would use to pull out pieces of this offensive little growth and I just zoned out watching him pull several giant needles out. I focused on his name badge. Dr. Parker. I thought of Spiderman. The thought went through my head and escaped out of my mouth before I could stop it. Haha, sure enough his name was NOT Peter Parker, but still I laughed thinking of Spiderman doing my biopsy. He numbed the area around the marker splotch and then stuck a needle in to numb the inside of my breast surrounding the mass. I couldn’t feel any of this but I watched as my breast shook on the ultrasound screen . He shoved , forcefully to break through all of the tough tissue in the breast and I felt nothing but pressure. I imagined those jail movies where you get shanked in the cell, and this is what I imagined as I watched the force in and out of my breast. Finally the fat needle that they insert another needle into was in and I could see it moving through the layers on the screen. He informed me that when I heard this awful clicking sound. the needle inside would thrust outward and grab a piece of tissue for sample. This would happen atleast five times. Each time the click startled me as I watched it go through the mass. He then told me they would insert a clip inside my boob so that they could always see where the biopsy site was and know where the mass is for future references. They cleaned the blood off of me and bandaged me and I was off to get dressed with a bleeding, numb breast. When I came back they had me sit and wait for an ice pack and while I was alone I looked at the samples they had taken. They looked like little threads or worms floating in water/ saline? whatever it is they float them in .Some sank and some floated, I wondered what that meant. They all looked alike, was that a good sign? Can you see cancer? I had no idea, I simply sat freaking myself out .Soon enough , I got my discharge instructions and was on my way to meet my husband in the lobby.
The surgeon had scheduled my appointment for July 1st to discuss my results, but as I left they told me results should be in within 48 hours unless the samples needed to be sent out to be further examined. So now I sit, wondering if they call ( or don’t call) by Friday if that means they found something and it had to be shipped off or if everything is normal so they are just waiting for my appointment. Yeah, that’s not slightly cruel to do to someone all ready so scared that they search the internet looking for similar masses as theirs and give them self panic attacks reading the results under them. Yes, literal debilitating panic attacks.
Most days I am told to not worry, not stress, not be scared, and I know that this is amazing advice and appreciate it, but some days I just want to sit and let my self be scared. How can I face reality if everyday I pretend it isn’t there? Sometimes I want to cry and be held. Some days I want to shout and say fuck you to the possibilities before me. Some days I think what if I die? What if I have to have surgeries that change the way I feel about myself? What if I have to leave my husband and kids behind? What if something happens to him and my kids are alone? think that is pretty normal and I let myelf do it for about 10 minutes a day while I wait. Then, I get up and go do something amazing with my family and make awesome memories together.
I have had so much support from so many sources, strangers, friends, and family alike. Again, I’ve been hurt by a few that haven’t really been there, and by a few that suggested that I was lying and that this was just a cry for attention, but for the most part my support system has been top notch. I posted snippets of my journey on facebook whenever I needed to vent and never dreams of the outpouring of love that followed. Not a day goes by these past few weeks that I haven’t gotten encouraging posts or messages or someone checking up on me. I’ve tried many times to express my gratitude to these people , but it never seems like enough, because I would have been crazy without them in my life.
That being said, there are a few other things in my head , occupying space. My heart condition has gotten worse and recently, I have had no will to stick to my diet. I know the dangers and I am getting back on top of things, but it hasn’t been as easy as it was when I was feeling better and better. I’ve hit my first plateau and it sucks, but I am ready to break through and get things under control again.
Aside from health, some of you know that recently, I have had issues with someone causing some problems in my personal life. I know some of you have gotten messages and friend requests from many fake profiles with some rumor mill garbage meant to start trouble . This has been going on for six months now in varying degrees of seriousness. Please, all I ask is that you let me know of the harassment and before you react to. spread rumors, or judge me based on what some bitter person says about me, my husband, and now my children , remember the ME that you know. Base your decisions on how I have interacted with you, been there for you, and treated you throughout the years instead of on someone’s warped , ugly idea of a prank. The effects go deeper than you can imagine. Also, if you wonder if what you hear is true, ask me. I would know better than a fake profile . If you can base your opinion of my family on a story someone told you, then you probably don’t belong in my life anyway. just think about that before you assume what you hear is accurate.
All in all, it has been a crazy few months. Someone told me that I am going through these huge battles because it is another step in uncovering who I am and what is important to me. I love that idea and I have to agree. I have learned so much about myself, about others, about who I want to be and what is important. I have a new level of intimacy with my husband and a much deeper closeness with my kids and family. I’ve given up things I have outgrown and refocused on what I really want in life. I learned life is short and to pick my battles, forgive , even if you will never forget, and find what makes you happy, even when you are a crazy mess on the inside. Another friend taught me that it is ok to feel all of my feelings while I am in the moment, but not to unpack and live there , dwelling in the negative. I love that. I have received so many pearls of wisdom and so many personal stories of struggles through cancer and cancer scares. So many people have shared their experiences with me and I am so grateful! I was hesitant to reach out to anyone, considered keeping it all in and to myself until I knew what was going on. I’ve done that before and you usually lose yourself and others in that process. I wanted to take a chance and allow others to step up and be strong with me and for me and I am so glad I did.
Just wanted to offer a little insight to what has been going on inside my head lately, in case I haven’t had a long talk with you or answered each comment personally. I have tried to when I am on, but when I go to an appointment and come back and there are thirty comments, I do read them all and then do a group comment. Please, know that you are appreciated and I will keep you updated as soon as I know something!