Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Peace That Surpasses Understanding...

Honestly, I don't think it is a secret that I'm sappy.  But, I really get overwhelmed sometimes with how many messages and texts and emails I've been getting these last few months.  I mean, truly, there is gratitude that I am not sure conveys when I tell people, "Thank you for thinking of me."

I mean it, though.  I am very thankful for so much kindness and support.  So much so that I also feel a level of guilt because there is such an outpouring of concern for me...and I don't feel that I'm necessarily in as much need.

Really.  I feel great.  (Ha ha, amazing what medicine can do, isn't it?)

I do.  I am FINALLY feeling more back to normal health...sometimes you just don't even realize how poorly you felt until you feel better and look back.  I think that's been a big factor in just having this cloud hang over my head this year.  When you feel sick, everything seems more dreary.

Which is not to say that we've not had our challenges lately.  We have.

I have.

And there have been times where I just kept begging for a break.  A breather.  Just something to be easy.

I hate that in that begging, what IS easy gets buried.
There is so much easy in my life.

Just mine for the taking if I just remember to realize it.  All the time.

I purposely have NOT been googling much about all this cancer/cyst/estrogen reactive/genetic risk factors/mastectomy situation stuff because the decisions I need to make are too big for me to have water muddied by Dr. Google.

I choose health care so that I can trust my providers.  If you can't trust your providers, you need to find new ones.  I am thankful that I have access to excellent care.  And, I'm thankful that I have had multiple opinions with various bits of information and perspective.

I had the MRI yesterday.  Perhaps I should have googled that a bit more.  I had no idea what to expect. I just figured it was kind of like a CT scan, and I have had lots of those.

Sorta.  It was sorta like a CT scan.

I didn't realize there'd be need for an IV for contrast ( I don't love IVs) and I didn't realize it would be so tight.

I'm a smidgen claustrophobic.  Plus, I had to lay on my stomach, and I (much like Luke) sort of choke when my neck is strained just so.

Like it was yesterday.

The nurse told me that they had a fabulous high-tech machine, but the downfall of it was that it was loud.  (I'm still thinking that whirring, engine sound like in CT scans, but louder.)  The tech asked me if I wanted music (couldn't be too loud if you could hear music, right?) and I said, "Sure."  She asked me what kind I liked to listen to and I answered, "Ummmm...Christian?  Or Motown?  Whatever you've got."

And I climbed on.  Got positioned.  Started freaking a little bit, but kept my cool.  Got the headphones on and heard Hillsong United singing Oceans (Where Feet May Fail).  Thought, "Ok.  I can do this...don't love it, but I can do it.  Keep swallowing."

Then I went in.  I lifted my head and realized I couldn't lift my head.  Freaked out a bit more.  Started to tear up, but the tech said I was doing great and the first scan would start....

Enter, in my head, the LOUDEST alarm-like sound I've heard in a long time.  It scared the mess out of me.  It's not this whirring noise...it's this horrible, loud, crazy scary alarm-like thing and I freaked out.  It lasted about a minute (or eight hours, hard to tell) and then I was asked how I was.

I said, "Um, is it going to be like that the whole time?"

You can guess the answer.

So, while they kept saying they could take their time, and maybe I could get a xanax, I just said, "No.  I need to get home.  I'm tough.  I'll do this."

I closed my eyes and just started praying.  Prayed for God to take the fear.  Prayed for God to give me peace.  Prayed to stop shaking and crying.

Then it started again.  This time, the volume of the music was louder, and I could hear the song.

"One Thing Remains" by Jesus Culture started.  This song came out right before Matthew's 1st  birthday.  I was about 32 weeks with Luke, and remember feeling the lyrics in my soul:

"Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing… Remains..."

I started crying.  What were the odds that a song that was over several years old and so special to me would be played at the very minute I'm crying because I am afraid?
Instantly, I felt less afraid and started singing.

"On and on and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
One thing remains"

Then...as if that wasn't big enough for me, the next song came on: "That's What Faith Can Do" by Kutless.

Y'all.  I wrote about this song and what it meant to me a little over a month after Matthew died.  Wrote how I was begging God to help me because I was desperately trying to survive my broken heart and glorify God and couldn't He just help me out some?  I just reread that post.  Sometimes I just have no words for the awe.

"I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do."

I spent the next 15 minutes or so crying.  In gratitude.


I know we have a lot going on.  I know there are lots of unknowns and circumstances that aren't ideal and things I wish I had more certainty in.

But I am at such peace about everything.

Houses are rented.  We'll find somewhere to live.  I do not believe for one second that MRI or any blood work is going to come up with anything that says cancer, and I have no reservations, whatsoever, about holding off on a mastectomy and watching for a bit longer.  We have food in crazy amounts, so much water that Luke plays in it all the time, and though I complain about the size of this house—it's ginormous in world standards.

It may seem like there'd be a lot of turmoil in my mind (and there has been, make no mistakes), but there isn't.

Not one bit.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Gratitude In The Storm...

I'm sure many are familiar with "Praise You In This Storm" by Casting Crowns, and if you are not, it essentially is the heart's cry of many—

"And though my heart is torn...I will praise You in this storm."

Lots of people who have lost children and then gone on to have subsequent children call those children "Rainbow" babies because they are like the rainbow of Promise and Healing and Redemption after a turbulent storm.

Without question, Luke is all of those things in the aftermath of losing our Matthew.

And, I did go right back to church after Matthew died.  Less than two weeks after he died, I sat in Sunday School and participated in the current study we were doing:  Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?  I tried to keep it together while the room was really, really heavy with grief and awkward glances at us; people wondering how in the world we were even functioning, much less able to talk about how bad things could happen to 'good' people.  Answering questions like, "Has anything ever happened that you begged God could be different?"

Yeah.  Ummmmmmmm.......

But I should be honest.  I don't think I was doing much praising.  I was sure as heck in a storm; of that, there was no doubt.  And, I went to church.  I smiled when people told me they could see God working in us and through us, and I listened to NOTHING but Christian music around the clock.

I didn't praise, though.

I mean, I praised God for Matthew.  For a perfect process from IVF consultation to the last minute before John told me he'd gone.  I'd spent nearly ten months of bliss and I was finally a mother, and my son was beautiful and I *did* praise God for that.  I praised Him for the support we had.  I praised Him for the medical care I had.  I praised Him for those things.

I didn't praise for the situation, though.  I did not praise Him for Matthew's death.  I did not praise for a lot of things, and I vowed I never, ever would.

This mother's heart could not possibly be expected to praise God for a coffin.

I don't know that I will ever be able to do that.  If I do, I can guarantee, it will not be of my own doing.  My heart is a very different heart, but it is still the heart of a Mama.

How abundantly blessed I am has been so much at the forefront of every thought I've had lately.  I'm doing a new Bible study by Jen Hatmaker (Interrupted) and I love it.  Did you know that if you make $50k or more a year, you are in the top ONE PERCENT of the WORLD's wealthiest people????
Truly, I am so blessed.  If you are reading this, using Internet, my guess is that you are so blessed too.

I used to hope my gravestone said, "She had impeccable manners and adored good grammar!" and now?  Just one word.


"She was so grateful."

These last few months have been crazy.  We've had a HORRIBLE experience with tenants that has been a major stress on our finances, but more on my heart.  To be taken advantage of—and I'm talking REALLY taken advantage of—hurts, and in lots of ways.  Me, John, Luke....our family.  It's been awful.

My sinus surgery recovery didn't go so fabulously. In the healing, I ended up with a sinus infection, double-ear infection AND walking pneumonia!!!  For the last month, I've really just felt MISERABLE. (Which is par for the course in March, because I can't think of a birthday in the last few years that hasn't been riddled with some sort of icky.)

We are looking at a move in a little over two months and there is no forwarding address yet, and that is driving.me.nuts!!!!!  The rental area in West Palm Beach is hot, and we won't get anything until right before we head down in June.  Not to mention people are more concerned about John having a pick-up truck than they are dogs!  Crazy, right?

My appointment at Duke earlier this month really didn't give me anything new but perspective.  They agreed with all that's been done before, but before they recommended mastectomy, they felt I should do some more genetic testing and have an MRI.  That's scheduled for tomorrow.

Unless the genetic testing comes up with something new, I've pretty much decided that I'm going to just continue to be really watchful in the next few months and year.  It's very easy to say I'd "get rid of them" before faced with the reality of doing just that...and as much as well-intentioned people say "Hey, now you can get a perfect set!" it's just not that easy.

Reconstructive surgery is a lot, lot, lot more than I thought it was.  And, very different than augmentation.

In any event, what I've prayed for in all of this was peace.  A clear, decisive answer of what I should do.  No doctor has given me that yet, but still—I have peace.  I feel 100% comfortable with waiting and watching some.  I'm not ruling out a mastectomy if things change or come up, but for now?  I'm completely, completely confident in that decision and so is the specialist I am seeing at Duke.  In her words, "You've had a lot of things happen in your life that would make you expect the worst because the worst happens.  I understand if you feel you need to do this.  But, I want you to feel secure in knowing that it's not always the worst, either."

I believe that.  It's not always the worst.

It's not.

So, people have been so kind—emails and texts and messages and calls—just checking in and telling me, "Man, you totally need a break!"

I want to say, "Right????? I mean, seriously!  I'm getting a bit tired of all of this!"

But I can't.  Because as tired as I am....I am just grateful  There are so many things for which I am grateful.

While I definitely feel like it's been somewhat storming for a while lately—there is gratitude.

And gratitude makes an amazing, amazing umbrella.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Normal and Anonymous...


As I cried to a precious friend about just wanting to be "Normal and Anonymous," she said:

"Lori.  You are never going to be normal and anonymous because it is not who you are.  You are fabulous and fantastic.  People look at you and think you are strong and amazing."

This humbles me more than I can express...even more so because I am doing a pretty great Bible study and the other day, the focus was on realizing that God made me to be exactly.who.I.am.  We always think about our personality and character traits as gifts given, but we rarely see who God made us to be physically as strong gifts as well.

I mean, let's be real.  4'11", crazy frizzy hair and humongous mouth...strong gifts?  A broken body that looks fabulously fertile (again, even more amazement at this since I'm almost 41) but has lost more children than it has kept? Purposed?

Yes.  Even me.

My ovaries and endometrium look great.  No masses, no cancer, no nothing.  I was sort of disappointed because I was hoping to hear, "You need a hysterectomy," and then would not need to keep thinking about a mastectomy.  I know that sounds horrible, but in my mind, taking ovaries out is kin to taking tonsils out, while taking breasts off?  A big difference. (And please...obviously I know it's more than taking tonsils out.  I am STILL recovering from that blasted sinus surgery I had nearly a MONTH ago!)

I did not realize, however, that though removing my ovaries would take my estrogen away and lower my breast cancer risk, doing so would also increase (significantly, because of family history) my risk of heart disease, and that's the number one cause of death for women in America.  According to my doctor, there's less physical trauma to the body with an ovariectomy than mastectomy, but an added inherent health risk (heart disease) that does not exist with removing breasts.

He essentially said my risks are significant and I get to pick which I want to deal with.  Breast cancer or heart disease?

Isn't there an option C?

As I told this to my friend, she mentioned how this day and age offers so.much.support for women—so many women who have gone through mastectomies and so many support groups for women as they face all that comes with them.

I agreed.

I am just tired.

I am tired of reaching out.  I am tired of needing support. (But please, please, please don't confuse that with not being grateful for it.  I am so grateful.)

I just want to be normal and anonymous.

But since I'm not, and apparently made that way, I press on.

I go for a third opinion on Monday.  It's at Duke and then I guess I'll make some decisions.  I'm not likely to hear anything different; risk assessments are pretty formulated.  I'm hoping that this doctor will be the one who just tells me what to do instead of tells me I need to do something.

I know I need to do something.  I recognize that I cannot spend every month wondering if this time, the lump(s) is cancer.

I also know that 'chopping' them off is not as easy as it sounds, and 'getting a new, improved set' is a LOT more of a process than people think.  More than I ever thought.

Either way...'normal' just isn't in the cards, is it?

You'd think I'd totally learned that by now....

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Getting Real About Fear When You've Been The One.

So look.

I know, I know, I know, I KNOW we are told not to be afraid.

I know it is futile to worry about things out of our control.

I know that stress and anxiety steal joy.


But I am afraid.

All the time.  Every day.  Every second.

I am afraid that something terrible is going to happen to Luke or John and I just.can't.bear the thought of picking out another casket.

That said, (and before any judgement on why I am not being faithful, a good Christian, being pessimistic, etc.,)—————

I work very, very, very hard to LIVE as if I am NOT afraid.  When Matthew died, I made a strongly purposed decision to not let fear guide my life.  I would NOT let fear dictate my decisions or steal anything more than had already been stolen.  When pregnant with Luke, I refused to let terror or fear overshadow my joy.  When pregnant with Trey, same thing.

Outcomes different, but my attitude the same.

Afraid I may have felt, but BOLD AND BRAVE was how I chose to live.

I still make that choice—the choice to live like I am not afraid—every single day.  Every hour.  Every minute.

Friends—it is NOT easy.  As a Christian, I hear and sing songs and read words ALL.THE.TIME about not being afraid.  Not being anxious.  Relying on God to rescue and heal and save.

I, without question, believe He does.  A lot.

But I know, within the depths of my soul, that I could sing and read those words every day of the week and twice on Sundays and I will still be afraid.

Because when you've been on the end of Him not rescuing...not saving...not healing????

You know that every situation has two outcomes, regardless of how much you pray and beg and plead.

We all have to make our peace.  I've made mine with God.  I know that trusting Him and having faith does not always mean the outcome will be the one I want.  I know that hearing "No." on a job offer or state to move to or relationship to pursue is VERY different than hearing, "No, your children will not live." and while it's not mine to compare grief and loss, I feel like God and I are at a good place of understanding.

I understand that I will never know, and He knows that I will never understand.  

So I don't ask.  There's no point in it for me.  I believe in a God who is good and bad things that happen do not take away from His goodness.

The gratitude I have for the privilege of raising Luke is a constant, constant reminder of His grace.

And I am afraid—because I know that His being good and faithful doesn't mean that bad, horrible things don't happen.  Won't happen.  To me or to loved ones.  The thoughts terrify me because I know pain that I don't ever want to experience again.


But I choose to LIVE unafraid.

Tomorrow, I have surgery for my sinuses.  I am excited to finally have a few months sinus infection free, but more, to have a few days of drug-induced, mandatory sleep!  My eyes tell the tale of my insomnia, and even though I guess I am 'middle-aged,' I don't love looking so tired all the time.  "Allergy eyes" don't help.

I saw the breast surgeon a few hours ago.  I left with the option to remove my right breast.  The gist of the consult was that I have, based on some physical findings and risk factors (family history and IVF), close to 30% chance of acquiring breast cancer.  I could be continue to be vigilant, watch the lumps I have closely and be on the look-out for more, or I could remove the breast altogether and not worry about developing cancer and possibly leaving Luke motherless.

Who says stay-at-home-moms don't make exciting decisions?

I asked the very respected doctor several questions, mainly whether or not removing a breast would be silly or radical and overreacting.  He did not think so, on any account.  To paraphrase his words, I am a young woman with a lot of living to do and a young child to raise.  Taking the elevated chance of cancer away is a big decision, but one he'd certainly respect and suggest.  He's left the decision in my hands, and I'm at a loss.

The odds of Matthew's IVF cycle being successful were 31%.  Luke's? 28%.  Trey's? 23%  Odds of miscarrying Trey when I did?  1:300.  Matthew dying from vasa previa complications?  1:10,000.  Him having one normal kidney and one pelvic kidney? 1:10,000.

I've been 1:4 twice.  I've been 1:3 three times. 1:300 once.  1:10,000 once.

I am good at being the one.

The one no one wants to be, that is.

I have more scans and more discussion March 5.  I think I will also seek a 2nd opinion, though honestly, this is not really surprising news. I was a bit surprised it was confirmed, but expected it as a possibility.  After the next appointment and second opinion, I guess I'll make a decision.

I do not want to make a decision based on the fear of getting cancer.  But, I don't want to wonder every day if that's the day that will change my life.


Totally off-topic?  That's a cape I got to wear this morning.   Seriously.  A cape????  Luke was sooooooo jealous!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Yo Yummy???? SOOOOO Yummy!

Y'all know how picky Luke is.

Rather, how *resistant* he is.  I don't think it's fair to call a child who sees a therapist for sensory food aversion 'picky.'

He is not willfully being disobedient.   When a kid won't try candy or something sweet?  Not willful.  Or picky.

Something else entirely.  And therapy has done a WORLD of good.  He tries things now.  Sometimes on his own; sometimes because I tell him he needs to.  But still, he tries, and that is so much progress.

He still does not want things on his fingers or mouth, though.  He won't eat without "a wipe" (wet washcloth) and dabs his face or fingers after EVERY bite.  Now that he is trying more, we are noticing more aversion to the texture of things.  He's much more willing to try, but then he starts gagging (something he never did before) because of the textures of new and different things.  Basically, continued exposure and desensitization will help that, but it's a slow process.

So HOW EXCITED was I to try a new yogurt product?  He loves yogurt.  It has always been one of his staples, even when he'd only eat maybe three things.  But, he's never been too much a fan of the yogurt on mouth.  He likes yogurt tubes, but around here, it's not always easy to find them without all the sugar and dyes and such.

Ta Da!  Introducing to our lives YO YUMMY!  I am part of an awesome Moms group, Moms Meet, and we get the opportunities to sample and share things with friends.  I jumped on the chance to let Luke try these yogurt pouches and I am SO glad I did.  They have 10% less sugar than most 'kids' yogurts out there and NO dyes and NO high fructose corn syrup (seriously...why even use that stuff????).  Each pouch has more protein than even the awesome organic brand I pretty much exclusively buy and best of all???

Luke LOVES them. 

LOVES them.  He loves all flavors I got to sample, and always immediately asks for another when he finishes one.  He likes that he can eat yogurt from a pouch, and therefore make far, far less mess.  PERFECT for him! I like that they are a dairy farm in Vermont and though it's not organic, they only use rBST free milk from their OWN dairy farm.

The only thing I don't love is that they aren't easy enough for me to buy (yet)...for now, some of my favorite (but not-so-near) places carry them:  Wegman’s, Costco, Hannaford, Stew Leonard’s, Fresh & Easy, and Sprout’s Farmer Markets. 

My hope is that the locations will continue to grow, but honestly, even though our nearest Costco is over an hour away, these will be on our list to go for—Luke likes them that much.    If you are near any of these stores, and have the opportunity, I'd definitely try them out.  Sometimes, when I do reviews of things, I am hesitant because I worry about how to be kind if I don't like something or find value in it.

TOTALLY not the situation here!  SO, YoYummy, thanks for the opportunity to try something we think is AWESOME!

Come to more stores, closer to me!  And fast!

***I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetsSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

On Maintaining A Happy Face...

I got the results of the node biopsy last week. As predicted, they were "Non-cancerous.  Benign alternatives all within normal limits."

Thankful.  I posted on FB because I was just so grateful!  One big thing down, one to go...sort of.

Well, I posted too soon.  Later that morning, I got a call from radiology about something on the mammogram that required more imaging and then got a letter too just to reiterate that in further studying, etc., there may be more to look at.  Awesome.  I've not gone back for another mammogram because next week, I see an amazing surgeon and he will be the decider of what to do with the "We're not sure what that lump is but it doesn't look like cancer," lump.  Speaking to my OB again today, he reiterated his happiness that I was seeing the surgeon and told me to be prepared for him to want to take a better look at it.

Prepared used to be my middle name.

I went in for my pelvic ultrasound this morning, to be followed by an endometrial biopsy.  (Seriously, tons of fun.)  The tech was nice and as often happens pretty much any time I am laying on an ultrasound table, looking at the ceiling and hearing the whoosh-whoosh of prenatal heartbeats nearby, tears slowly came out of the corners of my eyes.

I couldn't help it.  I cannot count how many times I've been on a table like that.  Praying.  Rejoicing.  Pleading.  Sobbing.

No matter how far away from infertility and loss I feel like I get...I am always reminded that I'll NEVER get away from it.


So, as she's looking and telling me how fabulously fertile I look, and sharing her sorrow over "my story", she tells me that the endometrial lining looks great.  I saw the coveted triple stripe that sooooo many IVF gals are looking for at transfer time, and 4 dominant follicles.  Yep.  Totally, totally look like (and have blood work to prove) a gal with the fertility of a 30-year-old.

Except I'm not.

My pain has been primarily one-sided.  She spent a lot of time there, but didn't say much, so I didn't figure there was anything going on.  Then, after, I said, "Well, if the endometrium looks good, maybe he won't want to do a biopsy, right?"

She said, "Probably not on the endometrium, no. But...there's something going on with your right ovary.  He's probably going to want more testing."

I nervously told her, "Well, at least I know I wasn't crazy and this pain wasn't fake!"

She sort of fidgeted and smiled and then asked if I needed any tissues.

That does not sound very encouraging, does it?  It didn't to me, either.

I went back into the waiting room to wait on the doctor.  The HUGE, very filled with happy-pregnant-people, waiting room and just bit my lip to hold back the tears.  I wasn't necessarily afraid; just anxious...and I felt very, very small.

I looked around.  I try not to be jealous.  I am blessed beyond measure.  I try not to let what-will-not-be steal any joy of what-is-right-now.  I try to be grateful for all I have instead of wistful for what I've lost. I try not to let bitterness and anger over how I should have a house full of little boys cloud the unimaginable joy that I have in one amazing Threenager who calls me Mama.

But friends, it.is.hard.


I want to scream that sometimes.  IT IS HARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Attitudes, in my opinion, are choice-based.  I choose joy or peace or happiness over depression, anxiety and anger.

I think, though, sometimes it is forgotten how difficult those choices are.  How gut-wrenching infertility and loss can make someone feel and how deep a valley they have to come from just to get to those 'choices'.

I'm not looking for pats on the back.  I do NOTHING in this world without the grace of God.  NOTHING.  But for His grace and provision of support in friends and outlets and healing through my sweet Luke?

I'd have let myself die off a long time ago.

But the pull to go the other way is strong sometimes...to just throw myself into the natural inclination, which right now for me is, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" and still, I feel guilty even saying that because I'm not even sure about what it is I'm being kidded.   The pull to break down and cry is just pretty strong.

So I did a bit today.  And am now.  And feel better for doing so.

When Luke wakes up from nap, I'll go right back to the Mama he knows and loves—silly, giggly, wildly-in-love-with-him Mama and he'll not have a clue that I had a little pity party for myself.

And we will have Krispy Kreme donuts.  Because seriously, they make my kid (and me) smile.


As for what the doctor said...essentially, he does not think the cysts found are cancerous, but took some blood and wants me to come back in 6 weeks for another pelvic ultrasound.  Given my mother's and sister's history, he said that I'm valid in being concerned about cancer.  Given MY history of PCOS and ovarian cysts, he feels pretty confident that it'll be ok but he wants to be sure since I've been having pain.  He feels the pain (gut-busting!) is probably residual scar tissue from surgeries and endometriosis and he still wants to do an endometrial biopsy but will wait for 6 weeks so as not to put me through it today and compare ultrasound findings from today with 6 weeks' time.  He is a really great doctor.  Said he wished he could be more comforting but for now, odds are this is all just vigilance but if there is cancer or whatever, it's very early and things should be just fine.  I feel that way too.  I am not going to really rest too easily for the next 6 weeks, BUT...I do feel like whatever is going on is not something huge.  Then again...if you know me in real life, or have read this blog long enough....you know how *great* my gut instinct is, don't you?

Oh, hey, did I mention I'm having sinus surgery in two weeks?

You know...because I just like a few more things on my plate....

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Guess It Went Well...

Wow.  Way to make a girl feel loved! Thank you all for thoughts and prayers.  I honestly feel pretty ashamed of myself for alarming anyone before I knew what was going on, so forgive me.  I just got home.  There is a small (3mm) cyst they found not by mammogram but with ultrasound.  (Apparently, I have the breast tissue of a 20 year old—which means DENSE—and will now always have an annual ultrasound with mammogram.  Who knew?  A new law was just passed that requires breast tissue density to be scored **true to my nature, I am at the TOP of the charts!** so that people can know whether a mammogram may miss something.  I'm one of those that a mammogram missed.  Is there any way to know it was there in October when I had my annual mammogram?  No.   There isn't.  But,  I don't think it was.  I'm very, very, very vigilant in self-checks.  The lump I found at the end of December was sizable and new.  It's shrunk (a good sign) but still there. And, according to the radiologist, doesn't look like cancer but he is not sure what it looks like.  Fun, right? Always one to keep them guessing....

The lymph nodes are still swollen but look normal.  I didn't (and still don't) know what swollen nodes feel like, apparently.  A bit disconcerting.  Still, the radiologist did not recommend biopsy but left it to my doctor.

My doctor wanted biopsy.

He said if I was just a gal with all this and had done IVF, he'd probably not biopsy.

If I was just a gal with all this and a mother who had died of breast cancer, he'd probably not biopsy.

But, since I'm a gal whose mother died of estrogen receptive breast cancer, and I've pumped my body in loads and loads with the very stuff that probably killed her?

He isn't taking chances.  I'm with him.  He feels confident the results will come back negative (a couple of days) but is still puzzled by the mass...could be fibroid, could be benign cyst, could be mild duct back clog (did you KNOW that existed?????)...could (and probably is) just a quirky little part of me.

So, I feel pretty confident it's fine.  I have to follow up with the oncologist surgeon on the 29th and recheck with mammogram and ultrasound in 3 months (or sooner if more lumps or pain in nodes) but I'm sure it's going to be fine.

I'm a bit more concerned about the 22nd and the endometrial biopsy, but even still...if it turns out to be something (and with a couple of c-sections, a few laparoscopies and endometriosis in my bag of tricks, could be a ton of other things!) serious, it's early.  And there are a lot of things that can be done.

Sooooo....again, thank you for all of the love and well wishes and prayers and good thoughts.  I really do feel a bit like I threw a big temper tantrum anyway by throwing it all out on FB before I really knew what I was dealing with.  I won't lie, though.  It's really, really nice to have people rally when you are scared.

And I was, a bit.

So thank you, thank you.
More to come as I learn it...