On the morning of the last day of the year I got in the car to drive to a doctor's appointment. It was cold. I had my coat on. Underneath I was wrapped in one of Ben's sweaters. But that was more for comfort than for warmth. There was a lump in my left breast and I was going to get it checked out. I went alone because, as I told Ben, I didn't want to make a big deal out of something that was probably nothing. Which was most likely the case. But I was nervous, anyway.
The Nurse Practitioner said she thought it was a cyst. Which was what I had concluded thanks to my online researching ability. It was possibly caused or related to the fact I was nursing. But I should get a sonogram to make sure. And so the day after New Year's, I headed back to the doctor's office.
I wasn't sure what to look for. A solid mass means that it is not a cyst, and could be anything else, cancerous or not. If I had thought about the sonograms I've had with my babies, I would have been able to discern myself what it was. But all I saw was a black circle, with a few white flecks. Was this good? Was this bad? I waited for the technician to say something. It was, indeed, a cyst - probably nothing to worry about.
Then they called me back at the end of the week. The doctor had taken a look at the sonogram and wanted me to see a general surgeon just in case. The woman I spoke to on the phone said they'd call back Monday and set up an appointment for me. I've never had a doctor's appointment set up for me by another doctor, so that was a little unnerving, like I was in some special medical class or something.
Everyone I talked to on the phone was very gentle. That's the only way to describe it. There was a lump in my breast, and just in case, they were going to take care of me. Even if it ended up being nothing. The woman who set up my appointment recommended a doctor; a woman, who was treating her sister for breast cancer. She had a sweet Irish accent, and I wanted to give her a hug over the phone: to give her comfort, to thank her for her tact and care.
Ben was nervous. I think every time I went in to see the doctor he thought that I would end up calling as they wheeled me into emergency chemotherapy or something. Understandably. His dad died of cancer a year and a half after we were married. So the potential that something was wrong, was stressful.
Not that I hadn't gone through the worse case scenarios myself. In my mind's eye I'd already seen my early death, Ben's remarriage to an old high school girlfriend, my children left without me, and me (hopefully) up in heaven. But I got that out of the way the day before I had mentioned to Ben I had a lump. And then I felt fairly philosophical about the whole thing. Mostly.
I usually like to (pretend to) devote the month of January to deciding what resolutions I would like to resolutely resolve to do for the year. I had a vague notion this year of what I'd like to accomplish. But here is the trouble with me and resolves and such: they have a way of snowballing into enormous lists of things I wish I had been doing all along so that I can move onto the fun stuff. And then I just feel overwhelmed and guilty, two very productive feelings for anyone.
But at the beginning of this year, all of the lists of goals and aspirations and things I should be and do, melted into the background. I just wanted to be a better mother. That's what I'd been thinking about as December closed. That I needed to be a better mom. And I prayed that having set this resolution, I would have the chance to resolve it.
Ben came with me the morning of my appointment with the General Surgeon. The night before I had wanted to tell him to relax. Don't worry. Don't stress out until there really is something to stress out about. But I realized that it was too late; I should have told him that a week before. And even if I had, I doubt it would have made a difference.
The doctor came in. She checked me, and did another sonogram (a little portable machine) and said she could asperate the cyst, or I could wait a few months and see. We decided to go with the asperating option, so she stuck a needle in and out came whatever was in the cyst. It looked remarkably like breast milk. She told me she'd send it to the lab to "see what the cells were doing." I'd hear back in about a week. But she wasn't worried. I liked her.
Her office called the next week. The cells were benign. (Which is fortunate for my nursing daughter).
I fully admit to not being the perfect mother. I don't even come close. These past few days I've had moments of blowing it. But I plan to follow up on my resolution dilligently. I have a good set-up here. I love my kids. I adore my husband. It's good to take advantage of the life you've got.