I come here every day. Mainly to check in on all the blogs I follow, but often I find myself writing, rewriting, deleting, writing, deleting, and then giving up all together. In some ways you could say that so much has happened, in others it's as if nothing really has. For awhile time seemed to be standing still. A boring schedule of a boring life that was moving nowhere. Over the past few months some things have happened and I have found myself here trying to get the right words out. Today, I'm just giving it a go and am determined to hit publish.
Breast Cancer. I know I've written of it here before. My mom is a survivor. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy three months before my wedding five and a half years ago. Several of my mom's cousins have also been diagnosed and fought this ugly disease. It was detected early and they were all very lucky. Are very lucky. You see, over twenty years ago, my mom's sister, my Aunt Maureen, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32. We lost her just four years later.
Over the summer, I went for my "annual" and the Dr. found a lump. This wasn't my first time to this rodeo so, off I went for another ultrasound. All was well. We'd follow up in six months.
As I approached that six month mark, I found several more lumps. In both breasts. So what was supposed to be a six month ultrasound check-up for one lump, turned into a several hour ordeal. A mammogram was ordered... I was approaching the year mark anyway, so what better time than now. Then the ultrasound tech took a total of 132 images. There just seemed to be masses everywhere. Seeing them on the screen as she guided the wand over me was frightening. I knew that most were nothing. Just cysts, or other benign lumps, but seeing so many was a bit haunting. When she was finally finished, she left me to review the images with the radiologist. He returned with her. My heart dropped. He had her go back over a few areas and then spoke with me. There were two areas that he was suspicious of and given my family history, he highly recommended we schedule an MRI for more images.
I returned a week later for the very uncomfortable breast MRI. Ever have one? Super fun. You lie face down as your boobs drop into holes where they are then compressed for the duration of the testing. Naturally I got to have the test done with and without contrast so I got to lounge oh so comfortably for just that little bit extra.
On the anniversary of my aunt's passing, I received the call that an MRI guided biopsy was recommended for those two areas. I've had that procedure before. That in itself did not bother me, so much as the date of the call. So on January 8th, I went for my biopsy (did I mention my mom was diagnosed in January of 08?... ugh... anywho). The procedure itself went well. Afterwards, not so much. The bleeding wouldn't stop. It took close to 45 minutes for them to be able to place steri-strips. Which had to come off because the bleeding started again. Once that was all under control, and I was all cleaned and sealed up lucky me got to have another mammogram. They wanted to check the placement of the clips that were inserted to mark the biopsy locations. This also showed a 26mm hematoma caused from the procedure and the subsequent bleeding.
On January 10th, I got the call that the biopsies came back benign. Thank God. I should have been jumping for joy, instead I cried. And it wasn't tears of gratitude, they were tears of fear. Fear that this cycle will just continue to repeat itself every six months. More biopsies more scars. I know how lucky I am. I know how completely grateful I should be, and believe me I am, but that fear still exists. I guess mainly because of my aunt. She was my age. My age, with her whole life ahead of her. A life stolen.
Of course I was given the ultrasound follow-up spiel by my Dr. which I expected, however the radiologist that performed the biopsy called me a few days later and requested a 3 month follow-up. Yes the results were benign, but the shadowing is still suspicious to her.
Now, almost a month later, the hematoma is still there. Still large and in charge. A hard mass of bloody bruise inside my chest. Again, I really have nothing to complain about... I do have a clean bill of health... but come on already. Next week I have an appointment with the breast surgeon. Just my annual check-up but also to figure out what the deal is with the Ping-Pong ball in my boob.
It is so weird to sit here and compare all the posts I have written around here. Most begging for something that I want to badly, this one praying that something never comes. It's funny how life works that way. It's sad that is so easy to focus on all the negativity. Between infertility, breast cancer, anxiety, etc... I haven't really been living. And there is so much around me to be happy about. So many wonderful things that happen each day that I (and probably even you) ignore as insignificant. Having all these things happen has certainly changed my view on life. I was bitter for so long. I took things out on people who had nothing to do with my situation. I cried for sometimes days at a time. There were days when getting out of bed was a chore. But now, now I realize that I cannot live my life in six month intervals waiting for the next hit to come. I need to live. I need to breathe. I need to let go. I need to be happy. I need to remember my aunt and the life she did not get to live. It's a work in progress but at least I'm trying.
"What a tragic mistake, a catastrophic flaw, that there are not scars for joy. The pain, my love, the pain leaves its marks; the days it was too much or we too little, the times we fell too far and rose too slow. I am littered with reminders of harder days gone by, but scars of joy, I find not on this flesh, aging as it is. Inside maybe, perhaps they live there, hidden and buried and burning bright. Bright beneath the remnants of sorrow on the surface..." Tyler Knott Gregson