I hate Penelope. But we’ll get back to that.
On this blog, I attempt to be real and honest and open. But sometimes situations arise that need to be handled delicately, or they are about other people’s privacy – which I try to respect, even my Caterpillars. This situation is more about how real do I want to be. I’m not the only woman who has been in this situation, in fact I could name 3-4 more off the top of my head. But this is my story. And I want to share, because as much as this blog is for other people, it’s mostly for me.
On Wednesday I went to the doctor. A great doctor. He graciously agreed to see me, without insurance, and I have never felt so taken care of. I was expecting to be “looked at” a certain way, and his nurses were wonderful and polite and treated me just like every other patient. A true credit to their office. I told him I had an issue, a lump, and he talked for 15-20 minutes about how these things were usually cysts or swollen lymph nodes and we would do an ultrasound in the office and get it taken care of.
Then, I was ushered into the exam room where I patiently waited for him and his nurse to come in. He began the exam, chatting all the way through with jovial admonishments about coming in yearly to be checked out, etc – and then he touched the lump.
When a doctor goes silent it’s the scariest moment. I can handle talking, I can handle bad news, but silence is frightening, and the longer it lasts the worse it feels.
There would be no ultrasound, or any other tests in-office. He started with a running list, but the basics are that the lump is huge, covering almost a full quarter of my breast. It’s not a cyst or swollen lymph node or infected milk duct. It’s a tumor. The edges are undefined and the mass doesn’t move when touched (both things that distinguish a tumor mass from a liquid filled cyst). He had other reasons, but I tuned out after that – my brain wasn’t wrapping around the words.
I needed to get a mammogram and biopsy ASAP. He wrote the orders out, then left me to redress.
I joined him in his office afterwards, where he explained that the tumor mass could be – and was likely – benign. Only a biopsy can show if it’s malignant breast cancer or not. But because of it’s size and shape, it needs to be removed no matter what. And by removed, he stressed that most oncologists (who are skilled at removing both benign and malignant tumors) will likely suggest a mastectomy to prevent worry from the tumor returning.
One tumor, this size, in my mid-30’s, does NOT bode well for future tumors when the risk “really goes up”.
I am scared. I am worried. I know how I have to proceed, but that doesn’t make this step any easier. This week, I will go in to a local Imaging Center, where they will tell me what I already know. I have a “suspicious” tumor. They will do a needle biopsy. Then we will wait.
I don’t do well in the abstract. I need something to focus my energy on. Which leads me to Penelope. That is the tumor mass’ name.
I can hate Penelope. I can loathe Penelope. I can also pray for God to teach me what He wants me to know while Penelope is here. God provided the doctor to find Penelope. God can do anything.
And I don’t think that this tumor is beyond God, nor is it a test from God (or for God – “if God loves me, it will go away” – that’s B.S. – tumors aren’t punishments).
From here? Please pray, if you’re of the praying type. Hug if you feel the need to hug. Ask questions if that will make you feel better.
As for me? I’m working on the plan to evict Penelope. There’s not room in this town for the both of us.
~Mummy Butterfly )i(