How do I say this? I've contemplated that question a ridiculous amount of time over the past few weeks. It's amazing how someone who adores words, such as myself, can find them completely vanished just when they are most desired. Since I am at a complete loss, I will just tell it like it is and hope you all can understand my presence of mind at this moment.
One morning, a few weeks ago, I stood in the shower. You know how that goes. Shampoo the hair. Shave the pits. Stand there to feel the warm water streaming over your shoulders and down you back. But for some reason, this particular morning, I reckoned I should administer a breast exam on myself. Why did that pop into my brain on that morning when I've only given myself one, possibly two, breast exams in my entire life? I can't explain where this thought came from. Why, on that morning, did I feel the need to check myself? I had just been to the "female" kind of doctor for the first time in 6 years just a couple of weeks earlier and everything checked out normal. (Yes, I am ashamed to admit that I have a slight aversion to doctors and have not been to that kind since Chloe was born.)
Maybe I turned over a new leaf in regards to my health. Maybe seeing the doctor stirred up the need to take better care of myself. I don't know. But I determined to examine myself that very moment.
As my fingers traveled around my "you know what", I felt something like a large, cushy rock inside. I immediately rationalized that James needed to inspect the find before I made any rash judgements.
He arrived home and confirmed my suspicions.
I tried not to allow fear to enter my heart. I really did try. My attempts failed miserably, but I want you all to know I tried. I am still trying. But it is there, mocking me, chiding me, gloating over me when I fail to evict it.
I am scared.
We made an appointment with my "lady" doctor and she immediately confirmed. Yes, there is a good sized lump in my breast. Oh, but not to worry. It doesn't "feel scary". Most likely a cyst.
Fear sent its barbed hooks further into my soul.
Last week I suffered my first mammogram and an ultrasound. I laid there thinking, "Ultrasounds are supposed to be used to view babies. Not lumps in breasts. This is all backwards." I longed to be in a different room, seeing a baby through that monitor. Not a rock in my breast.
A silent tear stole down my cheek.
The technician walked in with a clipboard and calmly stated that it, "doesn't look scary." Again with that word. I am scared out of my wits. Doesn't anyone understand that? So what if the lump doesn't "look scary"! I just had some stranger groping my breast! I AM SCARED!
She said that word. The word alone can freeze a heart. It froze mine.
So what if the lump doesn't "look scary." Oh, for joy! I get a giant needle stuck down into my breast! And they say I don't need to be scared. Ha! Anyone who says that should have a giant needle stuck in their breast. Just because.
So, the biopsy occurs in a couple of hours. This very morning. My throat has constricted so much so that I can hardly swallow my coffee. Tears perch on the brink, ready to spill over.
And still I try to keep fear at bay. Fear has sent his icy fingers deep down into my soul. I cannot live by fear. I must eradicate it. I must turn my eyes to Jesus. He had reason for fear! He sweat blood before his crucifixion. You cannot tell me he wasn't feeling some sort of emotion there. And you know what? He will walk me through this. He will stay by my side. He alone has what I need to get through this morning.
So, if you know me in person and you happen to see me around and you ask how I am doing and I respond, "I'm fine." please understand that those are probably the only words I can speak at the moment. Please don't ask further. Please talk about sewing projects or your favorite flavor of coffee or what you cooked for dinner last night. And please know that I am fine. I am. I am fine. I could be worse. I could be better.
So there. I said it. I probably didn't use the right words and you might not understand everything I am going through. But I said it.
I have a tumor in my breast. I am fine.