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mammogram update

February 10, 2018

Yesterday I had a routine mammogram in preparation for my 6 month follow-up appointment with my surgeon. After the mammogram they have you go back and sit in the waiting area while the doctor reviews the images. It’s a little depressing sitting there with other women who you know are all a little anxious, some possibly already dealing with cancer, but I didn’t feel nervous. I was just pleased that I had time to read my book.

Then they called me back for another image. The tech told me this doctor tends to ask for more, he’s thorough, which was fine. I got a little teary, but I think I was just starting to feel sorry for myself for being at least 20 years younger than all the other women I was waiting with. (“I’m too young to be dealing with this.”)

Then I had to wait some more. Next she said he wanted to do an ultrasound. When I went in the room for the ultrasound, I got really upset – again feeling sorry for myself for what I’m dealing with, for all the times I’ve been on an ultrasound table scared to see what they wouldn’t or would find, but also starting to feel scared that I’m starting this whole cancer business over again.

The technician spent a lot of time focusing on the 3 o’clock part of my breast which added to my nervousness – are we dealing with something new? My fibroadenoma was around 8 o’clock and the tumor was at 6 o’clock. It turned out that she just wasn’t able to find what they had pointed out, so she brought the doctor in. Between them, they spotted what looked like a 1cm cyst and another small spot.

He recommended that we move my appointment up with my doctor (I was supposed to see her on 2/26) since they had found something suspicious. I was really upset leaving the mammogram place. I had been wondering lately if I wasn’t taking this seriously enough, but I don’t know how else to be. I can’t make myself be afraid (nor should I). When we last checked it looked like all the cancer was gone, and the numbers during my latest blood work seemed to confirm that. I feel great – better than ever just about. Plus, I don’t actually have time to worry about whether it will come back. Yet this news was such a shock to me.

During all the waiting, I tried to corral my thoughts. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being afraid, but I can’t let it run me over. I started thinking through Psalm 23 just to give myself something to focus on. The part that says “he prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies” made me think, who is my enemy? Right now, cancer is my enemy. Yet God is preparing for me to sit down and eat, something normal and necessary, even when the enemy is right in my face. Not running or hiding. “My cup runs over.” Yes it does. I’ve experienced so much goodness in my life. “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life (regardless of how many or few) and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

I went to my surgeon’s office and was greeted by the receptionist who immediately came outside into the waiting area and hugged me and began to pray for me. I don’t even know how she knew I would be receptive and appreciative of that, but I was thankful for her in that moment. They scheduled me first thing Monday and gave me a slightly longer time slot in case the doctor decided we could/should biopsy then. I also spoke to two people immediately following this who told me about their multiple biopsies that didn’t bring back bad news which was really encouraging since it is now easy for me to assume the worst.

Just the day before, I had gone in for my monthly treatment at Real Health Medical. The cancer nurse, Karen, had mentioned being really concerned when I told her I wasn’t feeling well in January. I asked her to tell me exactly what her concerns were. Like I said earlier, I was wondering if I was pushing the “that was easy” button a little too hard on this cancer business. She explained how they believe that because of my history with cancer, it seems that my immune system tends not to do its job. We are finally get it to respond as it should, but if I get sick, my immune system can get distracted fighting a cold and not be able to deal with cancer cells. This is the totally dumbed down version of what’s going on, but I get the point. We talked about precautions I need to take and it was a good kick in the pants for me.

It’s hard for me to admit that I have limitations or need to take any special precautions. I want to be able to do all the things, but that isn’t my reality. My brother Peter made the perfect comparison between this and my dad being a Type 1 diabetic his whole life. He is living a long and healthy life, but it’s because he is vigilant about taking care of himself. He can’t just decide that he doesn’t want to take his insulin or wants to eat ice cream for days and think it’s going to serve him well. I guess anyone who lives with a sickness would be familiar with this mindset. It sucks, but it’s better than the alternative.

So now I wait. I’ve been in touch with Karen and I should hear from Dr. Bergeron this weekend to see what he thinks. Monday morning I’ll see Dr. S (my surgeon at The Breast Center) and see what she thinks. And then after that we’ll go to China and have to wait til I get back to find out more. I’m trusting that this is nothing, and if it isn’t, I believe that God will make our steps plain as He has done up to this point. I feel better today and haven’t felt like crying since yesterday afternoon, but know that I will have to work to keep the worry gremlins away.

That’s it for now. A hot mess of a real-time update.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephanie permalink
    February 10, 2018 23:43

    Thank you for sharing! You articulate so well the many emotions that others of us can’t. And it somehow makes my own situation clearer. I will continue to pray for us both 🙂

  2. Mary Balicki permalink
    February 11, 2018 08:05

    Love you Grace and thanks for sharing all of the details here. I inhaled each word and am fervently praying for a good report, in His name. Meanwhile, praying for a blanket of peace to cover you!!
    With love and more love, ❤️
    Numbers 6:24-26

  3. Ruth Petersen permalink
    February 11, 2018 08:12

    I love you Grace❤️❤️ Please know you are in my prayers 🙏

  4. Hilary Galt permalink
    February 11, 2018 09:26

    Good morning, beautiful. Thinking of you today and thinking you so very much for sharing your journey. I am praying for you and hoping you can remain in a place of peace as you wait, hopefully for absolutely nothing but the best news in the world. Love you- Hilary

    On Feb 10, 2018 9:17 PM, “Sweet dreams and flying machines” wrote:

    > Grace Lewis posted: “Yesterday I had a routine mammogram in preparation > for my 6 month follow-up appointment with my surgeon. After the mammogram > they have you go back and sit in the waiting area while the doctor reviews > the images. It’s a little depressing sitting there with” >

  5. Ian Bothwell permalink
    February 11, 2018 13:13

    Thank you so much for sharing so honestly. It brings much encouragement.

  6. Kellie Glenn permalink
    February 11, 2018 15:05

    Thank you for being so open with your story. I am praying for you my friend and believing God will heal and restore health to you and your family. Xo

  7. Sarah Doss permalink
    February 11, 2018 15:47

    Thanks for this update Grace. Praying that it’s nothing and that you are able to have a wonderful time in China.

  8. Karen E permalink
    February 17, 2018 09:11

    Grace, praying for complete healing for you, and a worry free time with your beautiful family in China. Thanks for sharing. Love you!

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