Tuesday, April 23, 2019

And Now... An Exhale.

I have been quiet around the internet for a few weeks. I haven't had much to say outwardly, but I've had a lot of internal dialogues and today I will share some of them.

First of all, I'm totally ok and not sick. I won't write the entire story only to tell you at the end that I'm ok. I'm not that cruel.  :)

On March 21st I went to my yearly wellness exam and my doctor found a lump in my right breast. I don't have a history of breast cancer in my family. I was taken aback and didn't really know what to think at the time. My doctor ordered a diagnostic mammogram and an ultrasound. He also asked for a surgeon consult appointment. As soon as I got back home, I called to make the mammogram & ultrasound appointment. They wanted to do them at the same time, and the first ultrasound appointment I could get was 4/17. So yea, I had to wait almost a month.

About 1.5 weeks after my wellness exam, I had an appointment with my regular doctor again to remove a mole. The mole was new in the last couple of years, and was slowly getting bigger. The morning of that appointment, I was overcome by anxiety. I had been doing ok, but the mole appointment triggered the anxiety that I'm prone to, and it bubbled to the surface. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I got to the appointment and got my mole removed. I told my doctor that the long waiting period between him discovering my lump and my ultrasound appointment is causing me anxiety. He prescribed me the same medication that I took for a year after my mom died, when I had anxiety attacks.  (The mole turned out to be benign.)

During the waiting time, all kinds of thoughts went through my mind. I didn't tell my own family what was happening. I figured I didn't need to worry them excessively unless there really was something to worry about. The only people who knew were Todd and Peppermint. I told Peppermint because not only is she a good friend, but she had gone through something similar a couple of years ago. She reassured me that I've done everything right. I got my yearly mammograms and it's not like something was festering for a long time. That is something that I'm fierce about, because my mom never went to the doctor for checkups, and they found her cancer too late. When she passed away, I actually experienced some anger because of that.

I'm a planner by nature, so as weird and grim and it sounds, I was planning for the worst case scenario. Todd and I had long walk & talks about wills & trusts. I wondered who would want my huge collection of crafting supplies.

In my heart I thought about what I would want to do if I only had a certain amount of time left. I was also mad because I had worked hard my entire life and a few months after I "retired" this happens??! WTF?? But I also had a strange sense of peace because I knew that I had lived a good life so far and had no regrets. Because of my faith in Jesus Christ, I wasn't afraid to die. I was afraid of dying a terrible and painful death though. And I really didn't want to leave Todd, my sister, my dad. Todd and I always smile when we see an old couple walk hand-in-hand down the street, and we tell each other that would be us someday. I wasn't ready to let go of that dream.

I had my mammogram and ultrasound last Wednesday. The technicians were ladies and they were some of the kindest people, given what they do. They were gentle and calm. While in the waiting room, I saw a lady leave her appointment with a big smile on her face. She told the ultrasonist that she thought it would take a couple of days to get the results. The ultrasonist replied, "We wouldn't do that to you. We tell you right away." So before going in, I knew I would know. Both the mammographer and ultrasonist didn't give a clue to me as to what they were seeing though, so I was getting anxious and could feel the anxiety bubbling up again. The ultrasonist went to confer with the radiology doctor as I waited. Finally she came back and said, "we're done, you can leave. We didn't see anything concerning. Sometimes you can have extra dense breast tissue in certain areas."

I ran out of there to Todd in the waiting room. We celebrated the possibility of being an old couple walking hand-in-hand by eating some Indian food and ice cream. Todd is a pragmatic and calm person, so he never got nervous or anxious during the 4 weeks. However, I could tell he was excited to hear the good news.

My doctor told me to still keep the surgeon consult appointment, because he wants the surgeon to feel the lump. That appointment was today. It took five minutes. He said sometimes you could have more dense breast tissue and it's nothing to worry about.

And now I can finally exhale.


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