We hadn't been there long when a woman arrived sobbing. She had her husband and a girlfriend with her. Of course, the trio sat next to us. Her companions tried to talk to her, she however refused to be comforted. She continued to cry and cry. Eventually, Pat leaned over to her husband. "What are you in for?" he whispered. I tried to shush Pat telling him it isn't polite to ask people questions in a hospital.
The man turned to his wife and told her the good news. She did not look impressed. In fact, she continued to wail. So he turned back to Pat and returned the question, "What are you in for?"
That was when Pat began to understand the wisdom of why it isn't polite to ask questions in a hospital. "Well," Pat stammered, "My wife has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. We're here for a second opinion."
Abruptly, the crying woman stopped crying. "You have breast cancer? How do you know? What will you do?" Three sets of eyes focused on my chest.
I tried to explain how I knew as gently as I could. I didn't want her to start crying again. I assured her that women were called back for additional images and that usually it wasn't anything to be concerned about. If in fact it was cancer, finding it early by a mammogram, was the best thing. I'm not sure that she was convinced, but she had stopped sobbing. When I was called in to see the doctor, she rested her head on her friends shoulder. I'm not sure why she was placed in my path, but I do pray for her still.
The doctor and his intern looked at my images and reports. They spoke together in low voices. Pat had come in to the exam room with me. He sat quietly in a corner. Then the the doctor began his examination. Let me just say that it was incredibly awkward for me for the two men to be examining me while my husband sat and watched. The doctor and the intern spoke over me. They both felt for the tumor, but said that they couldn't feel it. The central location of the tumor and that it was up against the chest wall made it impossible to detect. While examining me they had almost forgotten that I was there. The doctor said to the intern, "She has really lumpy breasts."
"Lumpy! I always thought they were firm!" I piped up startling both of them.
Finally, the doctor summed up his findings. He drew me a little picture of the location of the tumor. He laid out exactly the same treatment list that the local doctor had shared. He suggested that traveling after surgery would not be comfortable and that I should consider going to the hospital near my home. He also said that he knew the local doctor by reputation and that I would be "just fine with her." He praised the radiologist for finding the tumor. Once again I was told that he had made a "good call."
Pat and I were relieved. The suggested treatment had been confirmed. The doctor at Sloan had endorsed the doctor close to home. We had our answers.
I made Pat take me out to lunch at Pershing Square, a restaurant just outside of Grand Central Station. I had the Maine lobster roll. It was delicious. Six years later, Pat still hasn't gotten over paying $24.00 for a sandwich on a hot dog bun. He did, however, enjoy his hamburger.
This Journey through Breast Cancer series was originally shared over the course of 31 days in October. I was more than a little nervous to share. Breast cancer is private, personal and messy. But God reminded me, that I had 30 days of radiation, that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and that He may use something that I write to comfort someone else.
In January 2009 my New Year’s resolution was fairly simple. It was “Make room.” Make room for Jesus in my heart, my marriage, with my family and friends, in my home and in my job. I had vague thoughts about cleaning up the house and organizing myself better. Instead God answered my prayers with a diagnosis of breast cancer on February 18. I discovered as I sat in doctor’s offices, went for treatments, and even took naps that some things weren’t as important as I had previously thought they were. I was also reminded that the really important things, aren’t things - they are the people God has given us to love.
Day 2: Squish
Day 3: We Want You Back
Day 4: He Has Been Good To Me
Day 5: I Met An Angel In "Ladies Lingerie"
Day 6: Biopsy: X Marks the Spot
Day 7: Diagnosis
Day 8: Family
Day 9: Dismay
Day 10: This is what we know
Day 11: Shipwrecked
Day 12: Kindle a Fire
Day 13: Second Opinion
Day 14: Swoon
Day 15: Surgery
Day 16: Caregivers
Day 17: Post Op
Day 18: Hope Was Born In A Cave
Day 19: A Perfect Ten
Day 20: Inked
Day 21: Preheat
Day 22: Bake
Day 23: Broil
Day 24: Making Strides
Day 25: Scars
Day 26: Indescribable
Day 27: I Will Survive!
Day 28: Gifts
Day 29: It's Personal
Day 30: Last Thoughts
Day 31: Dear Breast Cancer
What I Wish I Knew BEFORE I Had Breast Cancer
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