Never a dull moment and of course we never do things the easy way!
Wrangling 5 year old Hank the Tank and our little Stinkerbell, juggling marriage, a full-time job, and my yarn obsession which incorporates my fixation with pregnancy and childbirth (translation: I make A LOT of baby blankets), I write to save my sanity.
Celebrating Jim's birthday at home with chocolate cake and sprinkles.
Me: Do you want a picture of you & the kids with the cake? Jim: No, just let everyone have cake now. Me: You sound like Marie Antoinette. Henry: Who's that? Someone who's not a fan of pictures or cake?
Woke up this Saturday morning to Jim cleaning- he swept, did dishes, vacuumed, dusted the fan blades and was in the process of removing the overhead light fixtures to wash them.
Me: Wow! This is JUST like Downton Abbey! Jim (rolls his eyes in exasperation)
Getting ready to take Kat to the Toddler Gym and was in the midst of packing a bag when she comes tearing into the kitchen, hollering 'BUGS! Big bugs in the living room!" Me: Show me. Kat points to the dust motes in the sunshine beam. "There! There they are! THREE big bugs!" Then she stomps the floor to "get" them. ...
Kat was industriously putting together her Doc McStuffins puzzles this morning. Then she cleaned up her "messy-mess" in the living room and triumphantly held up her puzzle bag. Kat: Lookit all dese puzzles in here! Dada: You put more than one puzzle in there? Kat: Yeah! Tuz she wants to be wit' her FRIENDS!
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)