I have been procrastinating for some time on writing about the next step in my journey. And for all that time I wasn’t sure why.
Interestingly I found that, once I had discovered the why, the floodgates opened, the memories, the wording, even the title of this post came pouring in and I was able to sit down and share the next stage of my journey with you.
The reason for my procrastination? The crossroads I was at and the decisions I made at the time of this blog post topic were the beginnings of my betrayal of my own values; and I have not yet forgiven myself. Wow! What a relief to become aware of this and to bring it to the surface to be healed.
What am I talking about? Biopsies. My mammogram was not good. My ultrasound was not good. Now, my doctor wanted a biopsy done to confirm her diagnosis.
There are many people, myself included, that believe biopsies are not always a good idea. Why not? For me, from my perspective only, the body is very intelligent. In its effort to protect itself, the body will encapsulate the cancer cells in a “tumor”. To disturb the tumor through a biopsy procedure would release cancer cells into the body to multiply and grow.
It is one thing to have this belief, and quite another to walk your talk when confronted with making the decision for yourself over a potentially life-threatening situation.
There are three types of biopsies available for potential breast cancer; fine needle biopsy, core biopsy, and surgical biopsy. All biopsies can cause bleeding, swelling, and bruising of the breast.
A fine needle biopsy uses a very thin needle to remove a small amount of tissue or fluid from the abnormal area where there is a suspected tumor. The problem with this method is that the needle is so fine the doctor could miss getting a sample from the suspected tumor itself.
A core biopsy is exactly that. A large hollow needle is used to withdraw cylinders or cores of tissue from the abnormal area or suspected tumor. The doctor may take up to six samples. Ouch!
Depending on where the abnormal area is in the breast or armpit, a surgical biopsy may be required. This is sometimes referred to as a lumpectomy. There are two types of surgical biopsies. An incisional biopsy only removes enough of the abnormal tissue to make a diagnosis. An excisional biopsy removes the entire tumour, with or without trying to take a margin of healthy breast tissue as well.
Biopsy samples are examined by a pathologist, who will make the diagnosis and forward the results to your doctor. You could be waiting up to 7 weeks or longer for the results.
My doctor scheduled me for a core biopsy.
Let me digress for a minute. I have a question. What do you call your husband when he is not your husband anymore? No, that isn’t a joke. I really want to know. I don’t like calling Tony my ex because that implies that I made a mistake. Many people would agree that I did! While yes, there was a lot of heartache and tears. However, I also learned a great deal about myself and for that I am grateful.
Anyways, Tony wanted to be there for me in any way that I wanted him to be. I asked if he would go with me to the biopsy.
We arrived at the hospital and there I went again! Stepping outside of my body because the situation was too stressful and upsetting to deal with. To others, they may just look at me and think – she is so calm and strong about it all. So not true!
I changed in to one of those lovely hospital gowns. Once settled, the doctor went over the procedure. Fortunately the doctor was a woman and had gone through a biopsy procedure herself. She was able to, not only explain the procedure, she was able to describe every sensation that I could expect. As a very sensitive person, I appreciated the additional information so that I could prepare myself.
I can’t describe the actual biopsy event itself as I have blocked most of it out of my memory. I can only tell you that it was painful, there were tears, and I had the pleasure of enduring not one, but two biopsies! I suppose I should be grateful it wasn’t six!
I changed back into my clothes. Except for my bra, course! I cradled my breast in my arm as best as I could, while Tony helped me back to my truck and drove me home.
My mind was a jumble of thoughts. The most prominent thought at that moment in time was that having Tony with me was a big mistake. It might have been beneficial for him, maybe even given him some closure or whatever. Who knows? But for me, I might as well have asked a stranger on the street to go with me.
I felt so alone. All I really really wanted was a hug. I wanted to be held and comforted and loved. I wanted someone to tell me that everything was going to be okay. Instead, I received an awkward hug, a pat on the shoulder, and was left alone with my cup of tea that had gone cold.
The second prominent thought racing around in my head stayed with me long after Tony had left to go home. Shortly after I had left the procedure room at the hospital, sharp hot stabbing pains raced from the location of the biopsies, across my breast to my armpit; and stayed there throbbing and aching for days. I developed a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that I had made a very grave mistake. All things considered, I guess grave isn’t the best word to use in this situation. LOL!!! Anyways, I felt I had betrayed my values and beliefs out of fear. I had disturbed the tumour. Now the cancer had escaped and was travelling through my body.
Whether that happened in actuality or not is irrelevant. Fear had grabbed its hold on me yet again. It was several days before I finally had a decent night’s sleep. I think I slept more from exhaustion than anything else.
There was much self talk and encouragement in the days that followed. I had to convince myself that my body was intelligent enough to heal itself. I had to trust that my lymphatic system would be able to capture the cancer that had escaped, contain it, and dispose of it. Eventually, I was able to carry on with my days. Or should I say daze?
I was not really surprised that, during my actual surgery, they found cancer cells in the lymph node that they had removed from my armpit. I was disappointed they found any cancer at all. I suppose a part of me was still in denial that all this was happening. (do ya think?!) However, I was very grateful to my lymphatic system for doing its job in confining the cancer to just one node.
If you have enjoyed reading my post, please donate to my crowdfunding efforts to pay for my medical expenses. Thank you. GOD bless.