...Taking on Water

Patience doesn't abound when you're in a situation like the one that I was in.  I had a whole week of wondering if the lump that was growing more and more painful by the day was indeed a cancerous lump.   To complicate matters further, my wait was spread over Christmas.  Somehow, I just couldn't focus, and there was no way that I could relax.  I'm sure that the stress did little to help with my exhaustion, and the anxiety of the situation was just making me completely jumpy.  I usually love Christmas, but no matter what I did, there was no way that I could put it all out of my mind.  My overactive mind went into full gear, and a million different scenarios ran through my head for the next 7 days.

The Monday after Christmas, I returned to the surgeons office a nervous wreck, husband in tow, and mildly numbed by a couple of Vicodin pills.  They certainly managed to take the edge off, but I was still way too coherent, I knew exactly what was going on and the implications of the situation.

With the exception of the near pimply radiologist, everyone that I was meeting was amazing.  From the technician that did my mammogram who kept rubbing my back and telling me that I was going to be okay, to the girls in the surgeons office that did everything that they possibly could to sooth my jittery nerves, I couldn't help but think, "Geez, these people are fantastic!"  I cannot even fathom having to give women the worst news of their lives on a daily basis.  They must drink heavily when they get home.  They would have to.  I would.

My breast biopsy and lymph node biopsy went off without a hitch, and I was sent home with my husband to rest and apply ice almost constantly.   Ice packs attached to my breast and my armpit, I hoped that the pain had no intentions of getting any worse.   It did.  But, I survived.  Somehow, I went to work the next day, grimacing every time I moved, who knew that your armpits could be so sensitive?

I had fully prepared myself to be waiting over the weekend for results of my biopsies, and was doing my very best to put it all out of my head.  But, the blinding throbbing coming from my breast wasn't coopering.  I couldn't stand it, it was a constant reminder of what was going on... Boom, boom, boom all day long.  My 5 cm lump was making sure that I knew that it was there, and it wasn't going to be ignored.

When your phone rings before a certain time in the morning, or after a certain time at night, you just know that it's not good news.  I mean who calls you at 4 in the morning to tell you that they've decided to adopt  a puppy, or found the shoes that they've been dying to buy at 75% off?    So, when my phone rang that Friday morning following my biopsy at a few minutes after 7:00, I just had a feeling.  It was my surgeons office, my biopsy results  were back and the surgeon wanted to see me that day at 11:00.  They told me to make sure that I brought someone with me.

And again, I just knew.  I knew what was coming.  I could hear the water rushing onto my Titanic.  Despite hoping and praying that the lump in my breast wasn't cancer, somehow I had prepared myself for being told that I had cancer.

The 4 hour wait until my appointment felt like 5 days.  I couldn't sit still, my husband sat next to me in the exam room scolding me for being unable to stop fidgeting.  I was thankful that we didn't have a long wait.   The surgeon came in, sat down and gave us the news.  "You have cancer."  And there it was.  I felt the burst, the rush of water as it completely took over my Titanic.  Suddenly, I felt nothing but complete panic.  Now what?  And then the details started to work themselves out.

I tried to pay attention, focus on what she was saying, I got most of it, but was very thankful that she was drawing everything out on a piece of pink paper.  It would become the breast cancer road map that would be hung on my refrigerator as a constant reminder of the year long battle ahead.  The lump in my breast because of it's 5cm size, was inoperable at that time so I would have to have chemo first.  The lymph node that they had biopsied did show signs of cancer.  That would have to be addressed as well.  She proposed 6 chemo therapy treatments followed by surgery.  And radiation after surgery.

As if all of the water on board wasn't enough to detail with at the time, more continued to rush.  I would need blood work, chest x-rays, heart tests, MRI's, and PET scans all in the next couple of weeks.  I needed to see the oncologist, the radiologist, and schedule myself for surgery to equip me with a port for my chemo therapy.  The water just kept coming.  It was heavy, and I couldn't get away from it.





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