Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Miss me? Sorry I was looking for a gown.......

Sorry I have not posted in a while.......
I wondered if you had Missed me, but I was looking for a gown.......
"A gown?" you say.   "A gown" I say.

Those who know me - can attest I am not the gown kinda girl, but recently I had to wear one more often than I would have liked.

What type of gown you may wonder.....well there are all types.

There are Wedding gowns, Ball gowns, Prom gowns, Communion gowns and  dressing gowns...

In January,  I apparently did not realize I needed the latter.......a dressing gown.  See my lovely fashion bonanza~as much as I tried, the fit was not right.  Haha

I spent more than 4 weeks trying to perfect my look in said gown.  While in and out of the changing rooms - I would put on my dressing gown (or johnny as the nurse would call it) and pose in the mirror looking for the right fit.  
Now I was not in a dire situation, but for all the mental anguish, at times I felt it.   

As the story goes, I went in for my annual mammogram.  No problem...a bit of discomfort, but made it through.   Then a while later a call saying they needed to do a 2nd mammogram.  No problem, I have done this time they even grabbed part of the muscle in the initial exam and had to redo.  (By the way Painful does not explain muscle in a mammogram!)

So I was not worried.  

Onto, mammogram #2.  This time at the hospital.  I walk in to see my right breast up on the screen with a dark mark smack dab in front of me.  I ask "Is that what your are looking for today?"  The answer a Yes.   That tinge of "Wait...if I can see that and I am NOT a doctor..." ran through my mind.

So I go through round two of discomfort and breath holding to find out they want to do an Ultra sound.  So now onto round three of right breast expose.  

After the ultra sound the Doc goes on to tell me they need to do an MRI "to better locate the object in question for a biopsy".  

Biopsy??!@#?  Huh.  So I say..."Well if you are going to Biopsy I need you to take the whole dang thing Doctor....ya see my family and I are renting our house for a year to leave in September from these waters to cruise down the coast to the Caribbean....all to make deeper connections within our family." 

He must have thought I was nuts for saying that about the biopsy (or maybe for doing the trip in general).  But by all means, I was serious.   

My mind grew fiercely focused on the possibility this could be cancer (and the doctor was not easing that thought)  and at the same time the only clarity in my mind was not that 'Cancer could kill me', but rather 'Cancer be Gone - I have life to live and a once in a life time trip planned!'     And in the same could be nothing, simply a lumpy breast!  

I usually pride myself on my Libra type attitudes.  Weighing out the options, waiting for the balance to return on it's own accord, believing the universe will come right.   But in hind sight, I was unable to get that balance.  I struggled, I mean with all the other things on my TO DO LIST, this announcement plopped a 50 pound bag of "What the F..." on one arm of my  balanced Scale. 

As you could imagine, thoughts of this simply filled my idle moments. 
With the trip in mind -  and unbeknownst to my conscious efforts to block it out until further conclusive evidence, I automatically went into planning for the worst mode.  I needed to have a plan in place so that if something were needed to be done to my breast, I was ready and we could still sail off come September and keep our family goal in sight.  

Heck, if we were land lubbers and the trip were not happening, I Know in my heart I would of had a different reaction and would have had a better response.  I mean the MRI did not even happen yet but WOW did it affect me.  

All in all - there was a month in between the request to have an MRI and actually having it. 
4 weeks of thoughts.....and foggy mindedness.  It took so long to schedule because they had to submit the info to my doctor for review and recommendation, then contact our Insurance for approval, to find out the Insurance was not working.  Then a week or so later the Insurance working again.....all of which I will not bore you with.    But it definitely took up way to much time and delayed the MRI for weeks........I am happy to report the dark spot found in my Mammogram and in the MRI was found to 'look' nonmalignant!!!!!   Follow up in 6 months to track it, but nothing for now....PHEW, Yeah, woohoo and all that jazz.  

After nearly 2 months of thinking about the what if's.....It took about a solid day for the relief to feel real and the JOY of planning the trip and connecting with people began - again!!!  

In reflection I learned something new about me.  I notice that when I am not feeling up, I tend to build walls around me - Not so much to protect myself, BUT to protect others from feeling my uncertainty and negative energy.  

After mentioning the 2nd mammo/MRI to some people - their immediate response of "Don't worry my friend had that - it was nothing" or "you'll be fine" came across shallow and un-fulfilling.  It may seems like a sweet thing to say, but really It made me close up, build higher walls.   A response more like...."How do you feel about it?"  or "Are you ok what can I do?" seemed more appropriate, but at the time could not put my finger on why these responses were making me feel diminutive.   I did mention it to a friend who is a breast cancer survivor and her first response was "When you schedule the MRI let me know, I will come with you for support!" WOW - her ability to receive my information and give back what I needed was astounding!!

Another thing I learned in all this was to keep my husband close and share my real fears with him.  We have been together over 17 years, and he travels alot, so I have learned to just 'Get 'er done', 'Don't bother him while travelling with issues he has no way of helping me with'.  It was a truly conscious effort to break that habit and share with him what I was thinking along the way.

The best part is, his gracious, soft heart stayed open and strong for me the whole time.  He did not make me feel like I was crazy for planning 'as if' it was something horrific.  He just listened.  He came with me to the MRI even after three times me saying, "Honey you do not need to come with me, you'll just be sitting in the waiting room".  But no - each of the three times I was giving him an 'out', three times he said he was coming.  I know he is busy with work and His boat to do list, but he still came and sat patiently for more than an hour it took for the MRI to happen.  

Yes - can you believe - more than an hour.  I was scheduled for a contrasting MRI which means I needed an IV.  Well, I know from giving blood that I need to hydrate ALOT before I go - just to get my veins to be properly plump.   And I was a bit dehydrated which meant I became the nurses pin cushion.  I apparently have very 'rolly' veins......they made 3 attempts where they got it in, but was not sitting properly...and that's when they had to call in a Pro!   (With which after we waited for her, she had my IV in in about 5 seconds!!  Thank God!)   Anyway, when I was finished, there was Dave waiting patiently.  (He is the one who took my lovely gown shot at the top of this post!  =)
Anyway...this experience has shifted my heart and my mind.  Sometimes we need a HALTING life moment to make us savor life, our partners and...for me this trip even more!!!

Maybe even more important on a singular note - we need to take time to reflect or meditate on our true feelings in order to learn the lessons within!