It started 7 months ago, I had a breast reduction. I was ecstatic to say the least to have this procedure done. I had long been uncomfortable and held back by being well endowed and now I was going to be able to do so much more. The procedure went off without major complications and I was well on the road to a happier life.
Fast forward to my 4 month recheck appointment. I was a little nervous as I had noticed a small lump. It was a very quick exam as she was very busy that day. I remember being nervous when explaining that I had found a lump and could hear my voice cracking as I spoke. No physical exam, but a reassurance that sum lumps were normal.
I walked out with a small reassurance but still with questions. I let it go and thought that she wasn't concerned so why should I be. During the next 3 months I noticed the lump, it was larger, more noticeable. I found that I was noticing it more. I questioned why I would notice it more now, shouldn't it be going away? But again, I did not want to make a mountain out of a mole hill. It was odd, though, it was a very different lump then anything else I could feel.
2 months later I went in for my annual paps test. I had a feeling during the breast exam that I would be questioned about the lump. I did not however, ever expect the following 3 weeks. Before she could even start the exam I told her about the reduction surgery and that I was told that "lumps" were normal. I am not sure if I wanted to reassure myself or what.
After the exam she expressed the need to get dressed so we could talk. I felt a know growing in my stomach. I knew what she wanted to talk about. I was not ready to talk about it. She expressed her concern about the specific lump. She explained that it was very different then any other lumps that she encouraged me to make another appointment with my surgeon, "just to be sure".
I left with my head spinning. So many different thoughts...could this be something? was she wrong? had I ignored something that could now be serious? I called my husband and let him know I was on my way home. He asked how everything went...I didn't know what to say, how could I tell him that it wasn't fine, that she was "very concerned" and that now I was becoming very concerned. Instead I downplayed it explaining that she wanted me to go back to the surgeon for an evaluation. I went on to explain that it was nothing, no big deal. I didn't want him to worry, but at the same time I wanted to scream. Unfortunately, that was only the beginning...
I called the clinic the next morning thinking that I would be able to get in that day. It was important so I couldn't imagine that I would have to wait. The voice on the other end of the phone said, "She can see you next week". Next week? What do you mean, I need to be seen today? The lady on the phone explained that she would only be able to see me next week. So I had to wait.
So for the next week when talking to my mom, sister, or even my husband, we talked about how it was probably no big deal...that this is just routine and that it would all be fine. But being in the health field, I knew that there was a chance. I could rationalize why it was no big deal, but the fact was...it was getting bigger and no medical reasoning that I could come up with would rationalize that.
The day of my appt came. I was very pre-occupied but when talking to anyone about it...it was no big deal, just routine. I don't know if I thought the more I said it, the more I would want to believe it. Truth is, I was scared. I was scared out of my mind. I have been relatively healthy, my family has been relatively healthy. How would we deal with this?
I waited in the waiting room impatient, unsure of pretty much anything. She called my name and the next 30 minutes seemed to go by in slow motion. A really good friend of mine had insisted on accompanying me to my appt. I think she knew how nervous I was deep down and how hard I was fighting to not show it. She waited in the waiting room as I walked back to the exam room.
I changed and waited again for the surgeon. She came in and examined me. I explained how it was larger and that the other physician was concerned. After the exam, she said, "I think we need to biopsy it". I could not keep the tears back any longer, they rolled down my cheeks without hesitation. She half smiled, and said it would be alright. I'm not sure if I remember much after those words. Everything went pretty foggy. She said to wait there and another person would come in and schedule it. I thought to myself, great...why couldn't you just do it now, why do I have to wait, I have already waited a week for this appt. So I composed myself the best I could and waited for the scheduler to come in.
She said, "I can do a week from Thursday". (now my appt was on a Monday so 10 days from then). Thursday, do you have anything earlier, I asked?? No, otherwise I have one 3 weeks from today, she said. I said I would take the earlier appt and she gave me the necessary paperwork and she left.
I walked back to the waiting room and told my friend that we could go. I had a lump in my throat, and could not find the words to tell her what just happened. I knew that she already knew, she had sensed it...so she didn't say anything. Finally I was able to muster the words, I need to have it biopsied. She simply said, okay and we left.
I got in my car and tried to figure out how to tell my husband...my sister...my mom?? I couldn't even say the word biopsy without tears welling up in my eyes, how would I explain it? I felt sick, an overwhelming feeling of nausea flushed through my system that I knew would not pass anytime soon. I made the call to my husband, and then to my sister and mom. I told them about the biopsy and followed it with, "I'm sure it will be okay". I did not want anyone to worry. But inside I was terrified.
The next 10 days were probably the hardest days of my life. I was filled with so many emotions that it was hard to think straight. It was a big purple elephant in the room, no matter where I went or what the topic of conversation was about. It was always on my mind. The daily trials and tribulations that should have not been a big deal, seemed to add so much more weight on my shoulders. They became big issues. The car breaking down twice that week made me want to shout, "really do I have to deal with this also, don't I have enough to deal with?"
The kids came home and after tucking both of them in, I went to check on each one to make sure they were sleeping. I remember sobbing, thinking that I might not have the opportunity to see them grow up, see them graduate, get married, have their own children. I realized my own mortality and that I would not always be around. But not yet, I hoped and prayed...
I had to be strong during the day, no talk of what was going on or my feelings about it. Life went on as normal...right? For most everyone, yes. I know that my husband, sister/brother and mom/dad, thought about it. There support was my anchor. It gave me the strength, hope, and assurance that it would be okay, no matter what. I prayed...alot. They prayed...alot.
The day of the procedure came. I was getting ready to leave the house and my daughter asked where I was going. I smiled and said, I just have a doctors appt, no big deal. The drive to the outpatient procedure center was long. The nauseated feeling in my stomach that had been there for the past 10 days was now so strong that I thought if I would have eaten it would not have stayed down. Apprehension of the outcome and what the procedure entailed loomed over me like a storm cloud that would not go away.
The procedure was more invasive then I thought. It was not just a needle biopsy but where they opened up one of the previous incisions from the reduction went in to cut out a piece of the lump, cauterize, and stitch it up. It was painful. I was left with physical and emotional pain beyond what I had ever felt.
Then...you wait some more...a week before pathology came back.
Thanking God, the results came back negative. Those were probably the sweetest words I have ever heard. A weight so large had been lifted off of my shoulders that could not be described by anyone who has not been through it. I have never appreciated my friends and family for the endless support and prayers that I received during the darkest part of my life. It was their unconditional love that made it bearable. Easy, no, but bearable...yes.
It has been almost a week since getting the fantastic news. My outlook has changed since the ordeal. I am so thankful to all of the people who supported me but mostly...I thank God. Each day is truly a gift and you don't know when it might be taken away.