Many have asked me how I found the lump and the process I went through. I didn’t think it would be hard for me, but writing it down feels like I’m reliving it all over again. The next few posts are longer, but there is so much I wanted to share of my story.
I am somewhat ashamed to say this, but, it was not during a self breast exam that I found the lump. In truth, I never do those. If I had, I possibly could have caught it earlier and not had to endure all of this. It was um, my husband. Yep, my good and attentive husband. Wives, your husband’s attention could possibly save your life. It did mine. So don’t be quick to slap his hands away. A grope a day keeps the doctor away! That was on Sunday, November 15, 2015.
I was in denial for a few days before calling the doctor. In my mind, if I didn’t have to face it, there wasn’t a problem. When I saw my doctor on November 22, she felt like it was a clogged mammary duct that was infected and wasn’t too concerned, but wanted me to have a mammogram. I waited and waited and no one called me to make an appointment. I was getting nervous. It had been a few weeks and the lump had not gone away and there was a burning sensation. So, finally on December 4, I personally brought Women’s Imaging my referral from my doctor. Appointment was made for the following Monday.
After making the appointment, I wanted to just go home and spend time with my fellas, but, I had an ornament exchange with some friends. I couldn’t get the “c” word out of my mind that night. There was talk about how so many people were getting cancer and how scary that was. I remember my friend Jana saying that it’s really hard on the family when it’s the mother who is diagnosed. Silently, I prayed, Lord not me, please not me! I debated whether I should tell everyone that night what was going on, but in the end, I kept quiet. I didn’t want to panic everyone if there was nothing worry about.
That weekend was also our 18th wedding anniversary. Talk about a mood killer! We tried very hard to enjoy it, but that was tough. Our minds couldn’t stop going to the “what if’s”. What if it is cancer? What are we going to do? What are we going to tell Levi? On and on, the what if’s began to consume me. I was not ready to give up my family!
I new immediately that I wanted the 3D mammogram and opted to pay the extra amount. You have less call backs and the detail of the 3D imaging is much better than the 2D. The lady doing the mammogram was very nice and tried reassuring me most of these come back fine. At one point while she was taking images of the left side, I made the comment that I had a friend go through this years ago who had passed away from breast cancer and I was nervous. She got very quiet. She didn’t say anything to reassure me and tell me not to worry. I remember thinking that was odd.
I also had to have an ultrasound done, so I was escorted to another room. The girl doing the ultrasound was nice as well, and she asked me lots of questions about the lump. Even she mentioned that it sounded like a clogged duct. I was relieved to hear that. I did notice as she was going over the lump, that she began to get real chatty and did not stop talking about non-sense things, the entire time. It was as is she was trying very hard to avoid any further conversations about the lump. I remember thinking it was odd and an alarm went off in my head. I understand they are not allowed to talk about their findings, but this was different.
Got the call 4 days later that I knew was coming. They found something on the mammogram and wanted a biopsy. It was scheduled a week later.
The night before the procedure, I couldn’t sleep was a wreck! It had taken an entire month from the time I had found the lump to now. Fear and anxiety was creeping in and I couldn’t shake it off. So, I scrubbed my kitchen floor with my hands. (It’s how I deal with things…I clean.) I put on Pandora and prayed for God to give me songs that He wanted my heart to hear. As I’m scrubbing away, I start noticing every single song was about trusting in Him and not to fear. God was speaking to me! He was using songs to minister to me. I also dove into my bible and read every scripture on the word trust. I prayed for God to help me with the fear and to give me a verse.
That morning before my biopsy, I received a text from my friend Julie, letting me know that she was praying for me and gave me Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to the Lord. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus. I knew instantly that God had gifted me with His word. I wrote the scripture down on a piece of paper to carry with me.
As I’m laying on the table watching the needle enter and remove plugs of tissue from my breast, the “what if’s” kept creeping their ugly little heads into my head. I clutched that piece of paper with the scripture on it and kept repeating it over and over. After the procedure was finished, I was left alone with the tissue sample. I picked up the cup and remember thinking that first, it looked like little worms, and second, how can that little bit of tissue possibly cause so much harm and possibly change my entire life? I was told that it would take between 24 and 72 hours to get the results, but probably 24.
That night, I decided it was time to tell some of my close friends what was going on and ask for prayer. Their responses were nothing less than loving and encouraging. My friend Kristin gave me a song that I knew was from my God. He knew exactly what I was feeling and knew how much the fear was consuming me and gave me just what I needed to hear. I encourage you to listen to the words.
Waiting for 24 hours….
Waiting for 48 hours…
What is taking so long?! Can they not understand I’m needing answers? How could they let me wait through the weekend? I was trying really hard to keep it together. Jonathan was on the verge of breaking down. Our stomachs were in knots. We were trying our hardest to keep everything away from Levi, but I couldn’t stop crying every time I looked at him. I kept telling myself and Jonathan that God has His perfect timing. There may be someone else who is getting bad news, and if it meant we had to wait to receive good news, it was for the best. Convincing myself of that was hard.
Sunday morning as we were getting ready to have Christmas with my sister and family, my doctor called. I felt like my heart stopped as she was telling me the radiologist was concerned about her findings, but wanted to have more tests. Even now, I can’t ever remember her saying that I have cancer. I don’t know if she told me and I just didn’t hear, trying to protect myself or what. Why were we still not getting any answers? The not knowing was the hardest part. We didn’t know what we were dealing with and getting ready to face. All I could pray for was peace.
I told you that God has been with me every step of the way. Even before I knew He was there, God was quietly speaking to me, preparing my heart to deal with the battle coming. I believe it was in the gentle whispering of my “alarms” in the way the nurses reacted. It was in the songs He chose for me the night before the biopsy, and in the verse my friend gave me. I also believe it was in the way that I just couldn’t shake the feeling that it was cancer. Not in a fearful way, but with a gentle inner knowing. Has God ever spoken to you when you didn’t even know it? I encourage you to look back at a time when you went through a storm and see that God was indeed preparing you.
I leave you with a couple songs God chose to speak to my heart that night before my biopsy.