somehow i traveled from expectant mother to seasoned mom. all overnight, it sure seems. in my mind's eye i am very much the 26 year old girl folding tiny pink t-shirts for my firstborn's arrival. my firstborn who is now in high school and sometimes in the driver's seat. my firstborn who is taller than me and faster than me and, certainly, sharper than me. yes, time has marched quickly. now i am the woman sitting in the ob/gyn waiting room with a flat stomach, but an ugly diagnosis.
i had three diagnostic ultra sounds in the matter of one week. suddenly, i wasn't quite so fond of that humming machine. i don't have to tell you the big difference between the image of my pregnant womb and that of my cancer carrying breast. and i am not just talking size. last week when the surgeon wheeled in the cart i felt my breath catch a bit. i lay flat on that table. flattened with fear. again, tears behind my closed lids. there was no joy in this laying... in this listening. no joy at all. he scrutinized the tumor and the many nearby cysts. one by one. there was a lot of hum, but no beat. no beat at all.
again, i laid on that table wondering how in the world did i get here? how did we go from that to this? i started to feel the deep sadness well up. tears at the eyelids. sadness in the heart. and the machine hummed on. but my doctor stopped in the middle of his scrutiny and said, "jody, look at this." he had something to show me. he wanted me to see how my cancer could have been so easily missed. with just a small movement it seemed to change in appearance. it looked more like a cyst than a mass. it was incredible. i laid there and stared at this ugly image. i hated it. but as he continued to show me its features and as he continued to explain the wonder of its detection, i was suddenly filled with an unbelievable thankfulness. incredible gratitude. the diagnostic team which had originally found the mass had done exceptional work. this could so easily have been discounted as nothing. it could have so easily been dismissed and passed over. right now i could be outside digging in the dirt or doing dishes or driving children without another thought of breast cancer. that is, until next year.
i have thought of that table moment several times this past week. i am so thankful for skilled doctors and thorough technicians. i am so thankful they took a second and a third and maybe even a fourth look. my cancer is in the 15% of breast cancers. it is classified as lobular. lobular means a lot of things, but it also means it is one of the most difficult cancers to detect. it is very often the cancer which is most often missed.
so, as much as i would rather be hearing the steady beat of a baby heart, i have come to a new place. at least a new place with the technology. this machine once gave me peace of mind and joy: my baby was there and doing well. how ironic that it would be this same machine which would now point out pain and decipher disease. this seems incredible to me. but it is clear, i can choose. i can choose to stay in the flatness and dwell on the awfulness of this irony, or i can choose to embrace the gift of this offering. my hard-to-detect, easily-missed cancer was found. it was found. it was disrobed of its sneaky features. it was rooted out of its camouflaged surroundings. and it will be removed. soon. and this always-expectant-and-somewhat-seasoned mother will have the chance to continue to hear the beat...beat... beat of her own heart.
and we choose to give thanks.
and we choose to give thanks.