I’m Scared — by Cara
I’m not typically the type who gets worked up over minor things. I can usually discern the big things to worry about versus the little things. And I’m definitely not one to scare easily. But I have to admit…I’m scared. Or, to put it more succinctly, terrified.
I had a mammography done last Tuesday and the next day, one of my doctors called me rambling on about something being not very common, but just get the test done as soon as possible, and I stopped him. I politely said, “I don’t know what you are referring to.” “Your mammography, of course! Haven’t they called you to get a sonogram done?” I said no one except he had called me. He told me that according to the fax he received, I have a “suspicious node” that they need to do a sonogram on and possibly a biopsy. I was like a deer stuck in headlights. I was just so stunned, I didn’t even have my head together to ask further questions. The only thing I could think of was…cancer.
My mother died of ovarian cancer when I just turned 19 years old. My son is only 6. The affects of my mother’s death have traumatized me my entire life. I don’t want my son to have to experience that. I REFUSE to allow my son to experience that. That whole night, that’s all I could think of…my mother and my son. Along with, this can’t happen. This WON’T happen. I had a tough time falling asleep that night.
The next day, even before my son left for school, I was barraged with phone calls ALL. DAY. LONG. No sooner did I hang up the phone with the radiology place, then the gynecologist called. The radiology place made me an appointment for Monday. The radiology place called back…no doctors would be in to read films on Monday but they ALL would be in on Tuesday, so they rescheduled me for Tuesday (I thought, what crazy schedule does this place have? Can’t ONE doctor at least be there on a Monday??!! Healthcare is becoming beyond ridiculous. But we’ll save that discussion for another blog). Then the nurse at the gynecologist’s office said, “You mean they let you leave without taking more films?” I explained that, again, there weren’t any doctors to read films in that day. I called several friends I know who went through the same procedure, all with benign outcomes. A couple had to have two biopsies done. My head was spinning. Because all of the medical people I spoke with were nurses or receptionists, I couldn’t get any solid information. Everyone was vague but insistent. One minute I was practically in tears, the next I was being reassured by my fabulous group of friends.
The next thing I thought of was a Health Care Proxy. I needed a new one. Everyone should have one. I called my lawyers office to have my existing one dug up and revised to have my best friend put on it as my agent. She works in the medical field, has had 3 of these types of biopsies and has two very medically savvy parents. I wanted my health care proxy changed ASAP.
Then I thought of my son…he’s so young. He needs his mother. What if this doesn’t bode well and I am in the hospital a lot? Sick from drugs? How does one even attempt to explain this to a 6 year old? He needs me. I need him. We need each other.
My next thought, to try to calm myself down, was the BRACA test I had taken a few years back. It is a genetic test to determine whether you carry the gene to predispose you for breast or ovarian cancer. It came back negative. That’s good. Really, really good.
But then there has been the ongoing, unrelenting high stress level I have been experiencing the past few years. My father’s death. My son’s learning issues. The multitude of arguments with my husband. Anyone with this type of stress would have cells mutating! Heck, my whole life has been one heavy duty stressful event after another! Cells are bound to change with all of the stress hormones that have been washing over them during all this time!
And my friends. My wonderful, incredible friends. At least a dozen of them…old and new…calling me, e-mailing me constantly to find out how I am and reassuring me that everything is going to be okay. I have a lot going for me. I never, ever had even a slightly abnormal mammogram before this. I do regular breast self exams. Heck, I had an appointment with my gynecologist the week before and she didn’t feel anything suspicious when she did her breast exam at that visit.
So, I decided I had to pull myself together and remain as calm as possible. I can’t control fate, I can only control how I deal with it. If it were dire, I’m sure they would have either fit me in for a sonogram that first day or just plain sent me to the hospital to get it done.
So now I wait. And I pray. And I shoveled 14 inches of snow today off my porches, stairs, and walkways, thinking, “Maybe the exercise will be good for me mentally and physically.” And I vowed to do more regular exercise to at least temper the stress hormones. The endorphins can only help me. So shovel I did. And I will go to the gym or find more ways to fit in exercise into my ragged days.
By the time this is posted, I will know my results. Or at least know more than I know right now and have a better idea of what I am facing. Good or bad, I’m making changes. Big changes. And although I have every reason to believe that the outcome will be benign, I’ll be prepared for anything. I’m a fighter. I’m tenacious. And nothing is taking me away from my little boy right now. No way, no how. That’s just how it’s going to have to be,“suspicious node” or not. Nothing is coming between my son and me. Absolutely nothing.