Thursday, August 14, 2008

In a World Where Boils = Blessings

(or Out Damn Spot)

So this week has had me doing a precarious balancing act to stay centered, and I've found myself wavering, not in faith, but somewhere between channeling my inner Job and my inner Lady Macbeth.

I woke up somewhere in the wee hours Monday night. Mike was out in our driveway watching the meteor showers and I went and sat with him for a sec. I just went to see him, not the meteor shower, because I just really only dragged myself out of bed for hydration purposes, and then some more z's. Somewhere in the mix, I don't know if I bumped against something, or how I noticed - that the bump was on me. Or my left breast to be more specific.

First I sat there a bit stunned. I know I can be oblivious at times, but I don't believe it was there the day before. I can't imagine how I could've been that oblivious to miss something the size of a marble. And without intending to be too graphic, in a rather obvious place. Part of me thought I was imagining things and part of me started imagining things. A sensible part of me, that I had to dig deep for, took all the other parts up and put them to bed.

I lay there, nor wanting to wake Dave, but just wanting to wait out the night and wait for him to wake up and wait to see if it would just go away.

This would be one place where my inner Macbeth started coming out, as "Out, damned spot" were the words that came out as I was praying. This seemed like a reasonable prayer so I went with it.

I also spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to say to Dave when he woke up. I don't know why I worry about the right words so much. Like there are right words for something like that. I had nothing by the time he woke up, and just had to wing it. Which is not my favorite thing. But anyway, some words tumbled out into the air and then seemed to settle in a cloud over Dave, as he groaned and reached over to feel the spot.

Then he got up, made me some coffee, and went to the computer to figure out what "not bad" things it could be. We were hoping it would just turn out to be a cyst or hormones or a boil (nod to my inner Job), but then began adding big words that started with fibro and pap and ended in oma that my brain has not gotten ahold of yet.

My Doctor (Dr. Allen) uncannily, thankfully, had one appointment available and we went in at 3pm on Tuesday. At first exam, due to the awkward placement of said spot, she missed it, but then once directed to the proverbial X, and not liking it, she thought it would be good to get a mammogram and ultrasound.

Dave booked me at Bethesda North's Breast Center, and we went in at 3pm on Wednesday. They actually put a little x on the spot (which I admit, I did enjoy the poetry in that) and told me it was at about six 'oclock on my breast (which also made me smile, though I told her I thought it was more like 5:27 or 5:28, but that I usually round up too). I know this all may sound like I'm making light of things, but I'm not. This is just how I roll. And cope.

Dave didn't have any of these little distractions with him in the waiting room, so in between the mammogram and the ultrasound they asked me to go check on him. We decided that Scotch would've been a good thing to stock the waiting room with. Right next to the coffee pot. Dave didn't really need any caffeine.

The Utrasound was lengthy. One, because of the aforementioned awkward coordinates of the spot. And two, because they found two more spots. Plus the technician had a bit of a sneezing fit, at which point we decided she was allergic to me, so these things take time.

The original spot is about a centimeter; the second is .7; I can't remember the third but it is the baby one. They all appear to be solid. This is not necessarily bad news, because there are "not bad" masses. They recommended we get them all biopsied. And stressed that we not go home thinking I have cancer because there are "not bad" solid masses that it can be. Of course Dave remembered and could pronounce them to the doc. Probably can spell them too he was studying them so hard.

We actually could feel the second spot, which is right next to, the first spot, Wednesday night. For a little bit. And then we couldn't find it. And haven't really been able to find nor feel it since. Weird.

Thursday we went back to Dr. Allen (who was able to find and feel the second one, and was just as shocked as us that it seemingly appeared overnight just like the first one) to process through the new info and she ran a breast thermography test, which is the use of a digital infrared camera to scan and examine the heat and blood flow in the breast. I had to get acclimated to a cold room. Holding my hands above my head to keep my arm pit area from trying to keep warm. Then they took some pics. Then I had to stick my hands in ice water. And hold them in there. Which, if anybody knows me, is torture for me. I told Dave and the technician that I would not have died well on the Titanic. The thing is, that I had to do this twice today. Once at 1pm and then again at 5pm. And twice at the 5pm appt. Because my baseline temp is lower than norm by a couple of degrees, and the room wasn't cold enough the first time around to make for the proper climate for me to acclimate to. Anyway, so apparently cancer doesn't cool like healthy breasts do, so they took some more pics after the ice trauma. And from the pics it was looking like there was something going on, probably as in, not healthy breast, but not necessarily positively cancer. We have not had a biopsy yet, which is the definitive diagnosis.

Today (Friday) we meet with a breast surgeon at 4:30pm. We will most likely set up an appointment for a biopsy and possible exision then.

That is where things are. I am still praying, "Out, damned spot[s]!" We are still holding out (firmly) for "not bad" news. But trying to deal with things as they come, in a way that is faithful to Whose Hands I am in and Whose Hands all these things must pass through. He is sovereign, and He is good. This I know. That is enough.

We will try to keep things posted here to keep everyone up-to-date. It seems more efficient than phone calls, and less cluttering of inboxes than email. That doesn't mean we don't want to talk or email, just trying to figure out a good system of keeping people in the loop who want to be in the loop.

We are all doing well. I don't feel sick or anything. Things are normal except for this wee bit of uncertainty. But we are not worrying, but praying.

And we haven't received bad news yet, so that's where we are. Hoping.

Thanks for praying with us and for us.


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