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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Resetting my Life (again)

You ever have those moments when something truly terrifying happens and everything you'd been stressing about suddenly seems so trivial by comparison? Like someone hits a reset button on your life and you're like, "Oh, right. THIS is what really matters."
That happened to me when an ultrasound showed a cyst on baby-Kat's brain, when someone almost hit my husband and son in a parking lot and most recently when I found a lump in my right breast. We are all fine, by the grace of God. When I was waiting for results for Kat and then myself, I prayed for strength to get through whatever came. Then heartfelt prayers of thankfulness. During the waiting time, I looked for stories about what other people went through, what to expect, so I could prepare myself since that's what scares me- being ignorant and unprepared. So this is my story.


"I'd like to make an appointment with a female provider. I found a lump in my right breast this morning." I never thought I would be saying those words, but on Thursday, November 6th, I did. The next available appointment was a week away and those 7 days were an emotional roller coaster as I found myself seesawing between calm acceptance and terror at the thought of putting my kids through seeing their Mom go through surgery, chemo and perhaps die anyway. I found the most comfort in placing my trust in God; cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you.
I cried almost every day driving to and from work, when my mind was free to wander and I envisioned telling them whatever stage it was and how long they thought I would live.
I had just seen my OB/GYN in July and had a normal exam. How could something the size of a peach pit suddenly spring up??
So I saw a female PA at my family doctor's office on Nov. 13th, a whole week after finding it. One of the longest weeks of my life.
She confirmed the lump during a physical exam, asked when I found it, whether it was painful (yes!) and if I drank coffee. I understood she couldn't make a definitive diagnosis at that point but I needed to hear something beyond "it's a lump." She said it could be a cyst and that it was a good sign that it was painful.


She then referred me to a couple of imaging places. I recognized one place that my midwife had recommended, should I ever have any concerns. I called them from the parking lot after my appointment and as luck would have it, they had a cancellation and could see me the next day. Thank God because they were then booking in December which would have been torture.
My husband came with me. I had the slip for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound folded squarely in my purse and had prepared myself for a biopsy (ouch!)
It was freezing cold and windy that morning as we drove to the other side of the city. The waiting room was crowded and also chilly from the frequently opening door. A greeter asked me if I had paperwork. I showed her the request and was directed to the counter where I got more paperwork to complete. I was still working on it when they called me back. My husband had to wait in the outer room as it was ladies only in the back.
I soon found out why- everyone was in hospital gown-tops. A nice lady showed me the counter with coffee, tea and water, then the lockers for everything-above-the-waist. The changing rooms had curtain-doorways. I waited and waited in a warm room with a fireplace, large aquarium and many other women of varying ages. I was glad I brought my crocheting to channel my nervous energy since I ended up being there almost 2 hours. I planned to give the beige infinity scarf to someone I knew who survived breast cancer.
I was called back for the mammogram first and gently manhandled into various positions as my breast was painfully sandwiched in the X-ray machine. Then I was returned to the waiting room to await the ultrasound. The rad tech told me that the Dr. might do the ultrasound herself or a tech would do it but I would have the results right away, which would be a relief either way. Tired of waiting and my nerves were frayed.
They called me back for the ultrasound and I asked for my husband again, only to be told that they would call him back if needed. Got it. If I had cancer, they would fetch him for the bad news in private.
A very nice Dr. who had kids the same age as mine in addition to a 5 month old did my ultrasound. I took it as a bad sign that the Dr. herself was doing the test. I saw the dark blob on the screen while she talked about other things, then I heard her say "It's a cyst" and relief washed over me. I said "Thank you God" and almost cried right there.
She kindly offered to stick a needle in it to drain it, warning that they often come back. I  politely declined since it didn't hurt as much as it did on the 6th & 7th when it was most likely inflamed and if it was just going to come back....
I asked if it could become cancerous- no. She recommended a baseline mammogram at 35 and to return if I felt any more lumps since it's difficult to determine if it's a cyst or something else.
So I am very, very grateful for this holiday season and the time I have with my family. Even though my kids are arguing right now over a stuffed unicorn and whining that they don't want to go grocery shopping.
Still grateful, especially for the prayers and support of my friends and family when I was at a vulnerable time. :o)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

WHY???

Kat's feeling under the weather today so we're staying in.
She's wandering around with her Doc McStuffins stethoscope around her neck, giving herself checkups. Then she found a paintbrush on the kitchen table and held it aloft.
Kat: Mama! Lookit! Can I paint Maggie?
Mama: No, you may not paint the dog.
Kat: Why???...
Mama: Because I said so.
Kat: WHY you say so???

*Sigh*

Medicine

Found some Winter balm with thyme, tea tree oil and eucalyptus while browsing sans kids in the grocery store today so I bought it for Kat. She took the top off and insisted on applying it herself, so I told her to rub some on her belly and not to put any in her mouth.
Looked over a minute later to find her standing there with her shirt pulled up, staring down at the little round balm tin stuck to her stomach.
Not exactly what I meant....

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bedtime for Kat

3 yr old Kat's new bedtime routine. It's already getting old.
Kat: Mama! MAMA!!!
(Mama rushes in)
Kat: What?
Mama: Why did you call me? ...
Kat: Uh....I need something!
Mama: What do you need?
Kat: Something!!
Mama: Could you be a bit more vague? Something is not an actual thing.
Quit stalling and go to sleep, my little no-nap punkin!!

Potty-training moment

Kat's sitting in my lap, sans Pull-up, hugging me and "checking" my eyes and ears with her little otoscope. Then what she said next made me freeze as only the parent of a potty-training kid can.
Kat: Me not go potty in mine diaper! Me FINE!
For those of you who are wondering, my beloved 3 yr old did NOT pee on my lap. Apparently that was just her status update.

Doctor! Doctor!

Henry plopped his foot in Dada's lap for examination.
Dada: What am I looking at here, buddy?
Henry: It feels exaggerating.
(Pause)...
Henry: What does "exaggerating" mean?

Those darn Critters

Noticed a small scratch on Kat's forearm, like she drew a line with a fine-tip red marker.
Mama: How'd you get that scratch, Kat?
Kat: A seal bit me.
Of course. I guessed she was petting the cat's belly again. I was WAY off.